Prague, Czech Republic...26 June, 2010
We're very fortunate when on tour to stay in the finest hotels in the world, the occasional dud notwithstanding, this tour has been no exception. The Penninsula in Chicago and Hotel de Rome in Berlin to name just two, but The Augustine here in Prague is by far my favourite and rates 10 Lux'm. It is a 13th century Augustinian Monastery remade by Rocco Forte hotels. It has retained much of the feel of it's past life in the stone work, court yards, walkways, wide halls, arch ways, catacombs, etc. Even the furnishsings, while very comfortable, have the simplicity of dark oak missionary style, combined with earth tones of brown, creme, burnt orange and light sage colours. While tucked away off the main road in the old part of town, it is central to the shoppes, cafes, bars and bridges. The Augustine is a miracle of a make over with thought to every detail, particularly the decor and furnishing which clearly retains the peacefulness of it's former self.
Tonight's show was yet another O2 Arena. O2 is a European mobile telephone company sort of like Verizon in American or Orange in Britain. They seem to have the arena naming rights sewn up as well. It's a brand new venue and last night's audience was just over 7,000. Some exceptional playing last night from every man on stage. Mike McGoldrick over came a rocky beginning when his in ear monitors packed it in during the first song, causing him to have to use a spare set that are inferior and missing part of the song while changing over. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, but things like that completely destroy your focus when on stage. He told me after the show that he was so put off, this being the second time it's happened on the tour with his monitors, that once he finally got going with the spares he had to really force himself not to let it get him down. He certainly bounced back with some of the best playing I've ever heard from him.
Back at the hotel, we all gathered in the quiet bar, one of two in the hotel, with high vaulted, hand stenciled ceiling and heavy doors leading to outdoor garden seating. More than a few large, golden, Czech drafts were put away before adjourning to Guy's room for tea and sounds. The band Low Anthem is getting lots of spins. My wife turned me onto them several months ago and it turns out to be a favourite with several in the band as well.
A day off tomorrow in Prague and some walking will be done.