Berlin, Germany 9, 10 May 2013
Thursday the 9th was a day off here in Berlin, having arrived late the night before. I got down to the gym for a late morning push in prep for lunch at The Augustiner Restaurant not far from the hotel. Jim and Guy made it a party of three. When we left the hotel it was sprinkling but by the time we got to the restaurant the sun had come through and we took an outdoor table. My #1 favourite beer is this Bavarian masterpiece. Augustiner Brau has been brewed in Munich since 1328, they have never advertised, still don't and it is the largest selling beer in Bavaria. I can only describe it as liquid bread. We ordered a litre each and they arrived with creamy heads in heavy dimpled glass containers so large they nearly required two hands to hoist them. That first drink was fantastic and it was never anything less all the way down to the bottom of the litre. As Jim said, it just keeps being good. The restaurant is run by the brewery and serves traditional Bavarian fair; a variety of wursts, Vienna schnitzel, crispy roasted pig knuckles, goulash, warm potato and cucumber salad, sauerkraut, apple strudel and more. All cooked to perfection and served in a large food hall atmosphere with dark wood walls and wooden tables. Located at 55 Charlottenstrasse. Don't fool around, just go there.
Friday the 10th was spent with guitar in hand for a good part of the day, practising and working on a couple of new tunes that have come along in this past week. I did get out for a walk and on the way back stopped in at St. Hedwigs Kathedrale. Its construction began in 1747 and was not opened until 1773. The cathedral completely burned in air raids on Berlin in 1943. Reconstruction began in 1952. I'm not a religious person... a hardcore sceptic if ever there was one, but on these tours, particularly in Europe, I sometimes find myself in the dark, cool and quiet of cathedrals. Drawn in by the beautiful construction, ornately carved or very simple wooden benches, stained glass and the quiet that is in stark contrast to what lies outside the walls. St. Hedwigs having been rebuilt in the recent past, is domed, modern and with non-traditional stained glass, angular pipes of the organ that are well displayed and those simple, sort of Danish modern benches. The dark and quiet are always welcomed by me and perhaps that's what draws others in as well.
Across the street a jazz band was playing in the open square and I wandered over there to listen to a couple of tunes before heading back to the hotel to get ready for tonight's show.
We've played the O2 World arena before, one of those places you've been so many times you know your way around. Our usual routine, late afternoon arrival, a dash to catering for a bowl of soup, soundcheck, dinner, warm-up and show. I stuck to a small salad and some fresh fruit tonight for dinner. I'll weigh 900 pounds by the end of this tour if I don't begin cutting back.
It was a full house, 11,000 and the largest audience so far on the tour, took our breath away when we walked on stage, packed right up to the highest seats. Great show, great audience. Finally got my in-ear monitors sorted and it was a pleasure not fighting that tonight. A new set made from moulds that were taken during rehearsals in London should be arriving any day, these will fit perfectly and have far superior sound, but the spare set will do fine 'til then.
A runner back to our hotel and a final visit back to the Augustiner with Glenn, Mike, Mark, Pete, Jim and Paul for another litre of bier and the savoury wurst.