Turin, Italy 2 May 2013

An easy, restful day off Wednesday in Milano, the 1st... May Day.  Coffee in the room then down to the gym. Good hotel, crap gym. Hard to beat the fitness centre at the Istanbul hotel, but by any standard this was a loser. A small area to begin with, it was divided into two tiny rooms with little more than a couple of treadmills, some free weights and a bench. Somehow airless even with the windows open...a theatre of torture.  At least the treadmills worked and the free weights, well... you know, they always work so I stayed with it.

Back to the room, shower, change and out onto the pavement.  May Day is not celebrated in America but embraced in Europe.  While not a national holiday, most shops are shuttered.  Not far from the hotel is a beautiful public park and that's where I ended up.  People out with their families, playing football, riding bikes, picnics or simply sitting on the benches taking in the day as I did.  A large shallow fountain in front of the bench I occupied with grandparents making sailboats from broad waxy leaves found on the ground, delighting the kids as they floated on the water.  A couple of dogs broke away from their masters, ran like hell and jumped into the fountain much to the mock horror of their owner. Once the dogs were in, so followed the children.  Great stuff.  What I found amazing was the lack of cellular and smart phones.  I didn't see anyone on them.  Everybody simply enjoying the day, their families and being there in that moment.

Had another beautiful dinner with the guys at Rovello 18.  Like all the finest food, freshness and simplicity is key and it was at Rovello.  I had a small spaghetti pomodoro followed by a grilled fillet steak.  Several bottles of soft, inviting Italian wines made the rounds at the table and dining doesn't get much better than this.  Beautiful food, warm and comfortable vibe, nothing fussy about it.  Go.

May 2, I somehow managed to fritter the morning and afternoon away in the room, e-mail, practising godknowswhat. Before I knew it, it was time to meet in the lobby.  A couple of vans took us to the Milano train station where we boarded a Eurostar for a pleasant hour's journey to Torino... Turin, and tonight's show.  The seats were comfy, the ride smooth as silk even at 300 km/h and you know you're in Italy when even the food on the train is good.  A serving of tomato filled small ravioli, tuna stuffed red peppers, what appeared to be a zucchini sweet muffin, dried nuts and figs followed by fresh espresso.  Grazie.

We were met at the station by the drivers and it was short hop to Palaolimpico, tonight's venue.  When I walked out on stage for sound check I noticed who all the seats of the perimeter and up the walls were of clear plexiglass, giving it a real look of style, modern and retro at the same time.  So Italian.  A few songs that hadn't been played since rehearsals in London were run as they'll make their debut on the gig tonight, then off to catering.  The list of entrees was temptation itself. Fresh whole trout, gnocchi and another fresh pasta were offered.  I managed to resist and stick with a bowl of tangy tomato and artichoke soup and salad.  Everyone around me was enjoying their heads off with their dinner choices and I honestly had to get up and leave quickly otherwise I would have ordered one of everything, it all looked that good. Back to the austerity of our dressing room where nothing more than a cup of tea and my guitar called me to warm up.

All those plexiglass seats of the Palaolimpico were filled not to mention the floor as we took the stage at 9 o'clock. The show was fresh and heads up.  The new tune debuted was a rousing version of Gator Blood and making it's first appearance this tour, Kingdom Of Gold.  Good gig and great to be in front of an Italian audience again.

A runner to the Rovers and a long circuitous drive back to Milan.  Seems the motorway was closed at some point or we simply got lost, but it was a myriad of small one lane roads and a million turns and roundabouts before we finally got back on the motorway heading to the lights of Milano.  There were a couple of the world's largest Peroni biers iced down as well as sandwiches in the Rover, but given the long drive I didn't want to start drinking beer then have to make a stop as it cycled through.  Also, didn't want to fall asleep then be wide awake at the hotel.  So, two and a half hours staring out at pitch blackness of the country side.  It was about 1:30 when we pulled in, glad to arrive at last. I grabbed one of those Peroni's and a sandwich, both of which were greatly appreciated and devoured in my room prior to calling it a night following a long day.

Ciao and so long,

Richard