A quick correction to the Cologne notes. The venue we played was the Koln Arena which is located on Willy Brandt Platz.
After yesterday's marathon sleep in, I decided to leave a 10 a.m. wake up call and make a proper day of it. Coffee and toast courtesy of room service then down to the hotel gym, one of the better of the tour, for a 90 minute measure of humiliation. A quick shower and out the door for a wander round the old town. Our hotel is just behind the beautiful town square and it's many cobblestone side streets. Hundreds of small cafes, bars, tourist trinkets, lace shoppes and nods to Herge's Tin Tin and Snowy, not to mention the famous piss-boy fountain surrounded by holiday makers having their photos taken. I vaguely recalled a used record shop, almost certain it was here in Brussels but not quite sure. I'll be darned if I didn't stumble across it just near the urinating boy. A brilliant array of jazz, old film soundtracks, rock and roll, lounge and exotica vinyl, all of it right up my street. I couldn't resist buying a couple of early albums by The Shadows, Chris Barber with Lonnie Donegan playing banjo, George Barnes, Red Norvo Trio with Charlie Mingus and Tal Farlow and two Ben Webster albums. All this and it was only 14:30 (2:30) in the afternoon. It pays to get up.
Our gig tonight was the Forest (Vorst) National Arena, our usual venue in Brussels. I've played here on every tour with MK since 1996 and have a wonderful picture of my son in the loading docks from that year. Over the years the docks have been decorated with spray painted graffiti from a thousand different bands that have played here. Nick was with me for a week or two on that trip and was young teenager then. As I recall we found the Aerosmith tagging and had a pic made with loads of road cases all around.
Hard to say how many were in there tonight, it was a standing floor with tiered seating round the perimeter. Many thousands I would say...8, 10?? Whatever it was, you couldn't have squeezed another person in the place....jam packed to the rafters, every seat taken and every bit of floor space occupied. Hot as hell, certainly the hottest gig of the tour so far. By the third song in the set I was saturated, had to peel the guitars off me after that. What a great gig and what an amazing audience....maybe the best of the tour this far. I've been doing these tours with Mark since '96 and we've always had great audience turnout and reception, but crowds and response on this tour is something else all together and we're playing better than ever and enjoying every minute of it.
Back to the hotel bar for drinks and sandwiches then a quick stop in Guy's luxurious lounge for tea and sympathy. What a day.