Leipzig, Germany 27 October, 2011
A very late start to the day, nearly noon, maybe the latest I've ever slept in. Coffee was the first order of business followed by updating this site and a bit of guitar playing. I looked at the clock and was shocked to see it was already time to shower, zip up the bags and get ready to leave. One thing I am never late for is lobby/bus call. 40 years of of touring and more than that doing recording sessions has taught me, if nothing else, punctuality and I can be counted on for that. Ten minutes prior to the appointed departure I got a call from tour manager Tim Hook politely saying he wasn't hurrying me but, everyone had come down early, was already on the bus and they were ready to go. I quickly pitched the last few things in my roller bag, packed up my guitar and got down there in 5 minutes. I was met in the lobby by our tour co-manager and all round saint, Peter Mackay, who informed me everyone was antsy to leave so the bus was on it's way to the gig, he and I would take a taxi and meet the others there. I was slightly annoyed at being left behind especially as I was not late. We waited about 5 minutes for the taxi to arrive, left the hotel for the venue and pulled around the backstage entrance. It turns out, due to it's size, the band bus had to make a round the block maneuver getting out of the hotel and into the flow of traffic. Pete and I beat the band to the gig with enough time to spare that I was able to make a cup of tea, get my guitar out and greet the band as they ambled into the dressing room. "What took you guys so long?"
Tonight's show was at The Arena with a capacity crowd of nearly 10,000. Our usual pre-show stuff; MK routine-ing a couple of songs he'll play with Bob tonight, our own soundcheck then dinner. The catering crew had a delicious chicken korma masala among other things tonight. Korma usually indicates a mild tomato and cream based sauce, but this version registered serious heat index points and also spectacularly delicious. As it was the first thing I'd eaten all day, I inhaled it and went back for more just to make certain it was as good as I thought, and it was.
No doubt this is getting a little old about the show being great so I won't bang on about it except to say I'm very proud to be part of this stellar line-up, top sausages all. Mark played several tunes with Dylan then it was off to the buses for a 120 mile hop to Berlin. We have two band buses with 11 of us spread between them. I think the idea was for us to flow back and forth between the two buses, but it's very easy to become attached to whichever vehicle you've ridden for a while and we haven't done that. The last two nights I've busted the mold and taken the other bus with Mike, John, Ian and Tim Hook. John McCusker was in charge of DJ-ing tonight and for a couple of hours played the most amazing things. Modern folk records are simply staggering, the singing, songs, playing, production and sound, the past two evenings listening has bowled me over. Strategically placed like land mines among the acoustic play lists were tracks from Teenage Fanclub, Blur and Elbow. It all went down great along with the Chinese food and Augustiner beer. Before long we were pulling up to the hotel in Berlin. It's a day off tomorrow and we play here the following.