Hannover, Germany 5,6 November, 2011

November 5... 6:30 a.m.  I'm rocketed from sleep by a bright, blue/grey light and music... the sickly kind that calms psycho wards... filling my room.  After making certain I'm not having a heart attack I opened my eyes to find the goddamn television blaring away.  Throw the covers and begin a mad search for the TV remote control which turns out has been strategically hidden by the maids. Don't know what's worse, the sound or light, but it's a deadly combo for me. Remote in hand at last, it's a struggle with a hundred buttons and every option know to exist in this realm or future ones, I finally find the correct button to shut the TV down.  Heart pounding, climb back in bed, close my eyes and just at the point of drifting back to sleep, it happens again. Repeat. When it occurs the third time, I'm up like a shot ripping wires out of the wall.  So began what turned into a beautiful day.  Rant #1 over.

Now truly awake after only a few hours sleep, I rang room service who promptly delivered a Continental Breakfast the size of a small third world country.  It's really the coffee I want immediately but will peck away at it throughout the morning and the rest of the day.  The pot of coffee has got my world back on track and it's down to the gym.  In the case of this hotel, up to the gym.  A long narrow, cold room void of much except a couple of treadmills and stationary bikes, a rack of weights that aren't too heavy and a dreaded universal weight machine. These are machines with dozen of appendages hanging from them and claiming to be everything in one compact unit.  In reality they do nothing well and worse, are dangerous and to be avoided ... you will get hurt.  I understand hotels not having or wanting to devote the space to a fitness room and that's fine, you don't need loads of equipment to get the job done.  Another rack of weight going to the next level and a bench or two in place of the universal machine would have been perfect.  Rant #2 over.

Back to the room where I attacked the orange juice and bread basket, had a shower and headed outside on this day off. We are staying in a shopping district that is amazing, block after block including all the side streets have been turned into a pedestrian district with hundreds of stores. The sun is out and the temps mild, it's Saturday and the crush of people out for the afternoon shopping is remarkable.  If there's a recession, you'd never know it judging by the thousands of folks out shopping.  Just beyond this district is the 'old town' with narrow streets, beautiful buildings and churches that look like something from an 1800's post card.  I spent a couple of hours taking it all in and happily buying nothing.  I was beginning to flag a little so headed back to the hotel, put my feet up and was nearly asleep when I got a ring from Guy wanting to know how I felt about going out for a beer and sausage, after all we are back in Germany again.  The only answer is yes.  In the lobby we bumped in to Glenn Saggers, Mark's top-man guitar tech and he joined us as well as we headed back to the old town.  Along the way we met Stu Kimball, Bob's guitar player, who tagged along too.  We ended up in a little dark tavern where we ran into stage manager Colin Barton.  We pulled five stools together, ordered the first of several rounds of Guild Rattskeller pilsner, a couple plates of bockwurst and chips and whiled away what was left of the afternoon.  

Returned to the hotel for an hour sleep followed by a call to meet in the lobby if interested in something to eat.  Ten of us showed up and took to the street, again to old town in search of dinner.  A party of 10 on Saturday night didn't bring much luck for finding a place that could seat us all.  Having stopped at numerous restaurants, we were just about ready to split up and fend for ourselves when we came a across a Mexican restaurant that looked like it might be good and could take us all.  By the time they got the table together, a few of the guys splintered off to an Irish pub.  The rest of us piled in for beer and some very tasty, if not completely authentic, Mexican food. That finished me off and I was happy to get back to the hotel and in bed by 11. In spite of a rough beginning, this has been a great day off in Hannover.

6 November... 10:30 a.m.  I've slept for nearly 12 hours, unheard of for me.  The last few days of long, late night travel combined with little sleep yesterday had caught up with me.  Unlike yesterday, the sky this morning was grey, misty and cool.  I'm happy to have some coffee sent up, play my guitar and get the bags zipped up as we check out in a few hours.

TUI Arena tonight.  We arrived about the same time that Bob and band take the stage for sound check.  I went out to the sound desk and watched as they spun through several songs, starting, stopping and working things through.  This followed by our own very brief sound check, dinner and show.  We've hit a great slip stream of being very relaxed and rocking at the same time and tonight's show was just that. The Hannover audience of nearly 11,000 were wonderful.  MK took the stage again with Bob for a few tunes then it was on the buses for a 5.5 hour, 290 mile ride to Nuremberg, arriving just after 3 in the morning.

So long,