London, England 17-18-19 November, 2011
The 17th and 18th were days off having arrived in the early hours of the 17th after a flight from our last show on the Continent in Zurich. I took advantage of these days off, sleeping, writing and taking in the incredible view from my room's wall of windows looking out on Hyde Park and panoramic sweep of London's skyline. A couple of dinners with Glenn Worf, we revisited one of our longtime fave Indian restaurants, Malabar in Knotting Hill, and discovered the great Maggie J's tucked in an alley off Kennsington High Street.
The 19th was the first of a three show run, the final of this great tour, at Hammersmith Odeon. The legendary venue first opened in 1932 as the Gaumont Palace Cinema in the Hammersmith area of London, designed in art deco style. It's named changed to Hammersmith Odeon in 1962 and was a venue for artists the likes of Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, The Beatles, Yardbirds, Johnny Cash, David Bowie, Slade, Frank Zappa, Queen and the list goes on right to the present. Dire Straits recorded their Alchemy Live DVD in this theatre. Changing names again in 2002 to the Carling Apollo and finally in 2009 to HMV Apollo, it is still best know and referred to as Hammersmith Odeon. The original 1932 Compton pipe organ has been restored and is in full working order, though we didn't make use of it. Typical of older theatres, the back stage is very cramped and with a warren of narrow hallways and staircases leading to numerous small dressing rooms, ours up four flights.
After the usual abbreviated soundcheck, we had a delicious dinner of chicken curry, black lentils and saag paneer. Back up the four flights to warm up the fingers and voices, change, then on stage at 7:30. The seats have been removed for this show and it was a stand up gig, a rocking London show and a great launch to this final run.
Following our turn, Mark played three tunes with Bob, I stood off in the wings watching most of Bob's show tonight. There was a small reception hosted by MK after the gig for friends and guests then back to the Royal Garden, a drink with Glenn in the hotel bar and lights out by 1.