Mainz, Germany 19 June, 2015
Thursday the 18th was a day off and it couldn’t have been a better one.
I pitched myself out into the street around 1 in the afternoon and didn’t get back to the hotel until 6…shopped, walked, and stopped for a beer now and again. I had lunch at Heinemann, dating back to the 1930’s Heinemann is a confectioner, bakery and also has a great cafe upstairs. The food and service were both top drawer and the waitress explained that the older people feel comfortable there. I suppose I might qualify myself as I felt comfortable as well. It was the first thing I’d eaten all day and I opted for two fried eggs with bright orange yolks on top of fresh, bright green creamed spinach and potatoes fried with bacon. Washed down with a Bitburger Beer, it made a perfect brunch. It was a real temptation to dive into the beautiful baked desserts but I opted for a caffe latte and left it at that. It was a beautiful day, windy but mild and I must have walked for miles. At 5 o’clock in the afternoon I still wasn’t ready to give it up so I turned the other direction and headed down to The Rhine River. The wind was whipping down by the water and I pulled into one of the many outdoor bistros that was somewhat protected by large umbrellas and lots of propane space heaters. Sat down right next to one of them, ordered a stein of Warsteiner and watched the river go by.
Later that evening MK & Co. made our way to one of the open air bar/cafes near the river for sausages, sauerkraut, potato salad, pig knuckles and the alt beer this city is known for. A mighty dent in Dusseldorf’s supply of all the above occurred. Back at the hotel we continued on a little longer at the bar with Cliff Williams and Brian Johnson of the band AC/DC. Lots of laughs and stories… great stuff.
Friday afternoon the 19th we pulled up stakes and headed to the Dusseldorf train station. Somewhere along the way on every European tour we manage a train ride to the next town if it’s not too far. The trains are fantastic, clean and smooth as silk… love them. Herding this group of guys together is sometimes like trying to lasso a cloud. We all made it to the same platform and began spreading out from there. When the first train pulled up and opened it’s doors a few of the boys started boarding. Problem is it was the wrong train. Tim our tour manager was bringing up the rear flailing his arms and shouting “NO”. Crisis averted and the correct train eventually arrived, was duly boarded and we all managed to get off in Mainz.
The weather was threatening all day and tonight’s show was outdoors. We arrived at the venue to find it and the stage covered in standing water. Sometime around 4 o’clock a massive storm cell opened up bringing with it straight line winds, blowing open the covering at the back of the stage. The deluge was blowing straight through the entire stage. Everything was soaked from the hanging sound system at the front of the stage right through to the lights at the rear and everything in between. A real nightmare. We were told to stay off the stage and the crew went into emergency mode mopping up, making sure the electrical system was safe, drying instruments and gingerly testing every piece of equipment. Water was being emptied from Guy’s keyboards then the insides dried with a hair dryer. At showtime they crew was still replacing a Leslie speaker for one of the organs.
We managed to take the stage shortly after 8 and good luck was with us. Another storm was predicted but bypassed us and there was even a glimmer of sunshine cracking through now and again. The air was cool but not too bad and the wind died down a little. It turned out to be a cracking show for an audience of over 10,000 hearty folks who braved the elements and turned up to see us. What they didn’t see or know about was how hard our crew worked leading up to that show to make it happen. Every single person on our crew dug in hard and all deserve medals of honour. This show was for them.
We came off stage and waiting in the vehicles were grilled Brautwurst and mustard courtesy of our Alfie Barton who wears too many hats on this tour to mention. As if he didn’t have his hands full with the days crisis.. he still managed to get this together for the drive to Frankfurt. Thanks Alfie.
It was a half hour from Mainz to one of our fave hotels here in Frankfurt. It felt like coming home…. almost. It was just half past 10 when we got there. Full attendance at the hotel’s fabulous bar for a perfect ending to an eventful day. Toasts all around to our mighty crew.