Bucharest, Romania 25 April 2013
The 2013 Privateering Tour has begun.
As promised, or threatened, we left our luxurious digs in London at 8 a.m. sharp arriving at Northolt RAF airfield to reunite and quiz each other over the last few days off. You can always mark the beginning of a tour by fresh haircuts all around, a little shorter than usual to make 'em last as long as possible. Activities ranged on the scale from as little as possible (the Yanks who stayed at the hotel) to non-stop. I think the prize for busiest goes to Mike McGoldrick who headed back home to Manchester last Saturday following the final rehearsal and hit the ground running, including 2 days in the studio recording an album, playing at a funeral of a friend, going to a football match and family time.
We boarded our trusted Embraer Legacy executive jet and were welcomed by none other that Danielle who looked after us so well back on the 2008 tour and will be doing the same for most of this. We're in excellent hands. Wheels up at 10 o'clock sharp for a 3 hour and 10 minute flight to Bucharest. A nap, light lunch and we'd arrived, stepping from the plane into sunshine and warmth. We were met at the airfield by our driving team and pals, Manfred, Eike, Bob and Mario who will tag team with Bernie, Michael, Philipp and Fabian driving us through the many cities on this tour. Great to see them all and begin to catch up over the last 3 years. With the two hour time change it was now mid-afternoon in Bucharest and we drove through this very beautiful city to the venue. Lush parks surround Bucharest and on this bright, sunny, 80 F. day... it was good seeing people out walking in short sleeves and summertime dress.
As it was the first day of the tour there was a longer than usual soundcheck, making sure everything was working, from the lights, sound, equipment and us. Ran through a half dozen tunes then time to open the house.
According to everyone, catering was brilliant as usual, but I stuck with a small salad and left it at that. Between the food served on board the plane and that in catering, I'll have to watch it. We have over three months of this luxurious dining ahead.
Tonight's venue was Sala Palatului a theatre seating 3,600, every one of those seats filled. The inaugural show of this tour was crackling with slightly nervous energy, everyone of us having a few memory lapses that were glossed over by many years of professionalism. I doubt that many, if any of the audience was aware of these errors. As for me, I had a few missed cues with changing guitars and settings as well as some problems with my in-ear monitors making it not the easiest or relaxed of gigs. Over the next few shows all these small bugs will be worked out.... not one worry about that. Tonight's audience was wonderful, recognising and acknowledging the first few notes of even the new songs we were playing and giving us a rousing ovation after the final song.
A runner from the stage to the waiting cars. This year's tour we will be riding in spanking new Range Rovers and they are wonderful, firm, tight rides and the lap of luxury inside. Not to mention that smell of new leather. Back aboard the plane, a couple of expertly mixed gin and tonics, lamb and chicken curries then just like that.... we landed in Istanbul just before midnight.
As always I'll keep a running log of this tour throughout. Those familiar with it will no doubt be following Guy's wonderful tour diaries as well which while covering the same thing does it from his point of view and his photos are really wonderful, be sure to go to his site. Also, my friend Isaac Shabtay will be writing a tour diary of his travels, photos and experiences as he makes his way around the world to every show of this tour, an amazing feat of logistics and routing. His site is: http://p.isaac.shabtay.com
A fine and busy launch to the tour, 3 countries, two flights and a gig. We arrived at the hotel and I was completely knackered. I Skyped my son who now lives and works in London then happily hit the hay.