Portsmouth, Virginia

It was a great week of catching up with family, friends and sleep. We whipped up a few BBQ dinners and enjoyed some beautiful late spring weather that was still lingering round Tennessee. By week's end the mercury had crossed the 90 degree mark and summer's humidity arrived. The hardest thing about getting home for a few days mid-tour, is the leaving. On the plus side, I managed to off load enough stuff I'd been dragging around with me reducing my luggage from plural to singular. Matt, Glenn and I flew to Teterboro, New Jersey on the plane that will take us through this final five week run in America. It's a Gulfstream G4 like we had in 2001 and it's the king of private jets. I haven't checked, but I'm certain Guy will have some pics on his website. Joining our pilots Loren and Bruce is hostess Tracy. In Teterboro we picked up the rest of the band who'd arrived the day before and were already staying in Manhattan. We all agreed that it was a well needed week off but now we couldn't wait to get back on stage again.

The venue was an outdoor amphitheatre next to a Naval marina with a huge ship docked and in full view. These venues are known in the States as 'sheds' and usually consist of a stage covered by some elaborate sail looking contraption, a few back stage dressing rooms and offices, several thousand seats out front and lawn seating. They're great summertime gigs to attend and play, sort of the venue equivalent of lemonade.

It's exciting to tour America again, though there are definitely drawbacks in the catering department. As the U.S. venues all have contracts with private catering companies, we cannot bring our own as we had for the last 10 weeks through Europe. The result is usually B- food. We have the advantage of having Darren Wey, head chef of our catering crew, who's come along to 'advise' the local caterers and ended up grilling some fab rib eye steaks for dinner. American produce pales in comparison with that which is not force grown for appearance and picked green. Salads tend to be tasteless and Kraft dressing doesn't do much to improve things. We are no doubt spoiled by European standards. And another thing, the tea. We're not in England anymore. It was a potpourri of exotic herbal, peppermint, decaf, Lipton and the prize winner, Caffeine Free Egyptian Licorice Yogi Tea. I think America is still defensive about the old colonial tea tax and manifests itself in her version of that particular beverage. C'mon folks we just want a cuppa tea.

The capacity of the venue was listed as 6,500 though there were many empty seats and the lawn empty as well. Promoter? Who knows, but in any case those who were there made up for those who weren't. It was a rested, relaxed, rocking, swinging and sure of itself show, MK and band in top summertime form and enjoying being together again. We were joined tonight by opener Bap Kennedy, a singer-songwriter from Ireland who will be with us for several of the U.S. shows. He and his electric guitar player (who I've yet to meet) were fantastic and the audience liked them as well. Looking forward to hearing more of them both.

It was the usual runner from stage to the G4, sushi, sandwiches, G&T's and arriving back at Teterboro, N.J. for a short drive into Manhattan where we will base for the next week. It's good being back on tour again, American style.

So long,