It is actually the 17th of June as I type this sitting at my kitchen table, back in Nashville and after the fact. The show in Athens was our last of the European leg of the tour. We've completed 63 shows in 79 days, an amazing feat for any group.
The morning of the 15th began as we've become accustomed for the last week in Istanbul; throwing open the drapes to gaze upon the Bosphorus and across to Asia, with the call to prayer wafting over the waters and the sunshine pouring in, then downstairs to the most lavish of breakfasts. Today we leave Istanbul, so it was back to the room to pack the bags for our flight to Athens. As I was about to leave the room I turned back and stepped out on the balcony for one last eyeful and a farewell to Istanbul, this ancient metropolis that we all hope to return to again.
It has been several days of good-byes as we've come to the close of this part of the tour. At the Istanbul airport it was a very fond farewell to the last team of our drivers, Bernie, Dominika and Fabian. Bernie and Dom are planning a visit with us in the States and we hope they stick to their plans. After we touched down in Athens, it was adieu to Christian our pilot of the Legacy and Linda who headed the attendant crew over the last 10 weeks....then on to the venue for the show.
It was a long and winding ride through the city and up to the Lycabettus Theatre, high on a hilltop with a 360 degree view of Athens. The theatre is open air, audience standing with a small grand stand behind and accommodating 6,000....a beautiful spot for a gig. There was a meet and greet tonight followed by a traditional Greek buffet dinner then more good-byes, this time to our equipment truck drivers/follow spot boys who will not be coming to America. Thanks for all the miles and never missing a cue with those bright lights.
We said our farewells to each other when we came off stage after Telegraph Road. With the exception of Glenn and I, the band took a runner to the Legacy and a late night flight to Luton, the Brits heading home and Matt going to Heathrow for his flight to L.A. the following day. Glenn and I had a runner to the Athens Sofitel airport hotel arriving just before midnight and convening down at the bar for a night cap. Unlike the Heathrow airport hotel, the Sofitel is spacious, very clean and as well appointed as many of hotels we've stayed on this tour. We sat at an outdoor table on this beautifully clear and balmy night and talked about the last ten weeks and the five to come.
The trip home was long, twelve hours from Athens to Atlanta with a three hour layover before the commuter flight to Nashville, but as we were flying with the sun all the way it didn't seem quite so difficult.
We have one week off before teaming up again in Denver to kick off the final third of this wonderful tour. I'll be re-packing my suitcases with summertime clothes and leaving the heavy jackets at home, having a few BBQ's, errands and generally trying to catch up as much as I can, not to mention re-adjusting to the North American time zone. I'll pick these notes up again with our first show next week in Colorado. Until then..........