Zwolle, Netherlands 7 June 2013
We're back on the boards and back with the notes after a well enjoyed five days off in London. I don't think anyone realised how tired they were until we stopped. The British contingency went home to sleep in their own beds while the Yanks remained in the hotel with the exception of Jim and his wife who went north to York for a few days. I spent the afternoons lunching with friends, having dinners with my son, getting plenty of rest and putting a fresh charge on the battery.
It was a grand and busy day that launched the second half of this tour. We de-camped Friday morning after three weeks in London, made our way to Northolt RAF Airport, boarded the Legacy for an hour flight back to the Netherlands. We landed in Amsterdam, greeted on the tarmac by the fleet of Rovers and drivers Gunter, Eike, Mario and Bob who drove us 120 km (75 miles) northeast to Zwolle. The city is an agricultural and cattle centre with a population of about 120.000, clean, modern and yesterday was sunny and hot.
The venue, IJsselhallen, is an exhibition centre and I was told hosts cattle auctions among other things. From the Albert Hall to a cow shed, now that's show biz for you. A small hub of portable cubicles had been set up inside for a backstage area including portable toilets and the catering area. For this gig we were in the hands of a local catering crew that was overseen by our head chef Chris. There was no cooling or heating system in the venue which was nothing more that a massive square box with a metal roof. The place is no doubt cold in the winter and I can attest it was very hot and airless on this 80+ degree day. None of that mattered, what a gig. For my money I think it may have been the best one of the tour so far. We were so glad to see each other, well rested, ready to play, on top of the game, relaxed but not lax, confident but not cocky. The crowd of 5,500 were great to us... wonderful gig, wonderful audience.
A runner from the stage to the Rovers and an 1.5 hour drive back to Amsterdam. We took off just before midnight heading for Helsinki, gin and tonics at the ready. There was a faint wisp of light in the sky once airborne that grew increasingly brighter over the 2.5 hour flight. When we landed, just past 3 in the morning it was daylight in Helsinki although the sun hadn't come up over the horizon yet. People bicycling, jogging, walking in groups. It's understandable that the city doesn't sleep when it's light all day in the summer. I think I finally put my head down about 4 o'clock in the morning.
Here's the day's tally: 4 cities (London, Amsterdam, Zwolle, Helsinki), 2 flights, 150 miles driven and one gig. Welcome back.