Belgrade, Serbia 30 April 2013
We bid fond adieu to Istanbul checking out at 2 for a final drive through the mad traffic to the airport. Looking down as the Legacy lifted above the city, I still couldn't believe how populated it is, every bit of the earth below jam packed with buildings and people. It was a great five days in Istanbul and we all look forward to returning.
In less than 2 hours we landed in Belgrade and were met by our team of drivers, Manfred, Eike and Bob. Turns out Bob had a chilly drive from Sofia as his driver side window would not go up, driving through the frigid night to Belgrade. I saw a pic of Bob bundled up and shivering behind the wheel. He thawed quickly as it was another 80 degree day in Belgrade once the sun came up.
Tonight's venue: Kombank Arena. Slow getting on stage for soundcheck as this afternoon's load-in didn't happen until 2 o'clock putting the crew back for setting up. Still, there was plenty of time to run through a several tunes making further adjustments to our in-ear monitors and tweaking arrangements. That completed, it was a straight dash for catering. Our 5-star travelling culinary angels presenting a spicy bean soup, an array of fresh breads and salads and among the entrees, pounded chicken breasted crusted with basil and panko then sauteed to perfection, served with spaghetti and pomodoro sauce. I asked for a small helping, a child's portion and what arrived was anything but that. When I mentioned this to Georg she said, "It's for a large child." Cheers. So, there I was with no choice but to eat it all. Not exactly a light meal before the show but spectacularly delicious. I walked part of it off getting back to the dressing room as it was half a world away from the catering room. On the way there I found a quiet unused room, took a guitar in there and got my fingers moving for about an hour before the show.
Tonight saw another debut live performance of a song called 5:15 that we recorded on the Shangri-La album and the return of the title track from that album which we've not played in a long time. There'll be more surprises along the way. Everyone is really enjoying mixing the set up each night. The show was loads of fun with some twists and turns, the two hours over like minutes then a runner to the airport. My pal Eike, one of our drivers, had a bottle of my favourite Bavarian beer, Augustiner, cold and waiting in the Rover... bottle opener at the ready, making for a delicious drive to the airport.
Although we are flying privately and go through a different area of the airport, we still must pass through the usual security measures The exuctive jet terminal entrance was closed tonight so we were routed through the main terminal requiring us to go through that security check, walk a few hundred feet to the executive security and do the very same thing again... a little excercise from the department of redundancy followed by the issuing of boarding passes for the Legacy. All a little 'police state' feeling. Anyway, it's all fine and we're guests in their city and abide by the custom.
At last we boarded the Legacy, had a few drinks, dinner, laughs then touched down in Milan where we'll have a day off and base for several thereafter.