There are benefits to waking up early, such as leisurely sauntering through the day before having to get ready for the gig.
And so it was this Sunday morning beginning with some coffee, toast and a NY Times sent up to the room, followed by a visit to the all-time best gym that just happens to be on the 4th floor of our hotel...no competition when it comes to gym of the tour award. A staggering area the size of a square city block of aerobic machines, free weights, machines to work every body part, spinning rooms, pilates rooms and yoga rooms, an emporium of every imaginable device of torture. Another great feature is the ceiling to floor windows that look out onto Market Street. Across these windows dozens of aerobic machines are lined up. No sooner had I revved up my treadmill when I heard the rev of motorcycle engines coming from outside. I looked out to see the beginning of the gay pride parade! Hundreds of cycles bearing rainbow flags and driven by guys and girls in various states of outrageous and normal dress and undress, followed by what seemed like thousands of people walking, carrying banners in celebration of same-sex marriage or drumming up the vote for sympathetic political candidates. Folks dressed in full-body balloon suits and people riding on floats in penis costumes, San Francisco Police Department cops in uniform walking down the street hand-in-hand with their partners followed by a brace of SFPD cars, fire fighters and military veterans all represented....and on it went for a full three hours. Great stuff, it was good watching the raucous and colourful pageant, certainly made a nice distraction checking things out now and again.
With the workout behind me I was desperate for a good cup of coffee and some food and both were just round the corner from the hotel. Peet's Coffee is just about the best thing going, a small American chain that started as a single shoppe in Berkeley, California in 1966. The guys who started Starbuck's used Peet's coffee shop as a model and it was Peet's that supplied and roasted Starbuck's coffee in the very early set-up stages of that franchise. Starbuck's of course expanded and took over the world and began employing cheaper methods and beans while Peet's expanded very slowly and only to the point where they could keep the quality intact. Sadly, we don't have Peet's Coffee in the south although they do sell their beans on-line. One block away, much to my pleasure was a Peet's Coffee Shop. I made straight for it and a large latte with an extra shot of espresso. A beautifully warm and sunny day, I took my coffee and sat at at table outside enjoying everything including the people-watching as the parade had just broken up and folks were wandering away. So much for coffee, now food. Just up the street from Peet's was a California Pizza Kitchen, a west-coast chain of exotic and traditional wood-fired pizzas in a great atmosphere. Wandered in, sat at the counter and had a brilliant thin-crust, crushed tomato, mozzella and fresh basil pizza and a majestically delicious Anchor Steam beer on draught, all the while the Germany vs. Spain football match was on the big screen. This is the stuff Sundays are made of, at least in San Francisco they are. A perfect afternoon.
Time to head to the Oakland airport for our flight to Medford, Oregon. We flew over the fires that are currently smoldering in Northern California and the sky was choked with brown haze and smoke. Also flew over Mount Shasta before landing. A short 15 minute drive through the most quaint town and neighbourhoods delivered us to the Britt Pavillion, a small outdoor theatre with a capacity of roughly 2,200. No seats, just lawn seating, blankets on the ground and picnics are the order of the day. It was a very hot and dry day and the crew had a difficult one as this gig is not easy to load in, but as always we never heard a word about it and they were all smiles when we arrived. We love these very intimate outdoor shows, it's almost like playing at a summer camp. Audience and band very relaxed and enjoying the evening together. Because of the small venue and stage the lights and production were cut down and everything was left to a minimum, Simon our lighting director using the venues stage lights as opposed to rigging up all of our usual concert stuff. It all made for a wonderfully casual evening and a grand time for all.
A runner back to San Francisco, a few drinks with Dan, Guy, John and Pete then off to bed and a day off tomorrow.