Lisbon, Portugal

Back for more? So are we, rested and ready to go having had a great spring break and hoping you've had as well.

The number of hours spent on airplanes getting home from Christchurch, NZ was epic, 18+ for the Nashville contingency and much longer for the Brit boys. Our tour manager Steve Rayment said it was 30 hours by the time he walked through his door. A good part of the break was spent falling asleep in the middle of the day then being wide awake until 5 in the morning, some serious jet lagging but wonderful to be home. We had a full house with our older children home from school, it was a loose limbed week that ended too soon. I managed to shoehorn a day of recording session work in as well, then before we could catch our breath the kids went back to their lives and I was throwing clothes at my suitcase saying goodbye again, this time for a 10 week stretch that will take us through Europe. This leg of the tour is far more intensive than the earlier three weeks. We'll be playing loads of shows, 6 to 10 in a row before a night off and this is where we really hit our stride.

As you probably know, Chad Cromwell is taking a few weeks away from the tour. He's planning to return in a month but in the meantime, keeping some mean time and the drum stool warm is Danny Cummings. Danny's no stranger, he was percussionist with the Straits and has filled that role on Mark's solo records as well. We had a little run through last night and he was chomping at the bit to get to tonight's show. He tore into it this evening and got everybody's thumbs up and hugs for taking on such a monumental task on short notice, sliding into the driver's seat with confidence and good humour. The Pavilhoa Atlantic arena was packed with nearly 10,000 roaring fans, much of the time louder than we were. It had a first night feel as we came back from the break with a new band member and it was a very heads up show. I don't know if it was an exceptionally loud gig or simply that we hadn't played for a week, but as I write this my ears are still ringing! Maybe we were playing so aggressively as we all had a fab grilled steak dinner prepared by our tour caterer Darren Wey. Darren heads up a team of chefs that travel with the tour and keep the crew and band in a culinary coma with stunning food that's well prepared and good for you. No matter how hard I try I cannot pass up the apple and rhubarb crumble with hot custard, a serious weakness of mine requiring extra gym time the following day. Whoever said "an army travels on it's stomach" knew what they were talking about.

Tomorrow it's Madrid, notes to follow.

So long,