Munchen, Germany 11 July, 2015
Friday July 10, a day off in Munich. Except…..
I woke at 7:45 a.m. to my telephone ringing with a wake-up call that I didn’t request. I was probably rude to the operator although after I’d hung up I was wide awake and ready to go. Fine and thanks. I ordered a pot of coffee, orange juice, a basket of croissant and worked away at that while fiddling e-mail. I got my gym togs on and made my way UP to the rooftop fitness centre. This is a very old hotel we’re in. I stayed here back in 1971 when playing with Neil Diamond and it was a very old hotel then. Well, the old girl’s somewhat in step with the times now though not without a few eccentricities that it always had. Back in the dark ages of the ‘70s I doubt seriously there was any type of exercise room or equipment. I can’t say for sure because I was in my 20’s back then and thought I was bullet proof. Work out? Why? Anyway, people didn’t come to a hotel to exercise, they came to luxuriate. Happily the world’s come around to a different way of thinking and so have I. The rooftop gym was brand new, cool aesthetically and temp-wise and equipped for business.
After a shower and some practising I threw myself out onto the streets of this wonderful city. It was always a little touristy around this part of Munchen but don’t remember it being this bustling. A real crush of people down around the Marienplatz where the famous Rathaus und Glockenspiel are located. Check it out here, https://youtu.be/T1x3GrJFoyA Still, it was a beautiful day to be out and around.
Glenn and I were talking a few days ago about the big department store here that had a very impressive record and CD selection. Neither of us could recall the name. I thought it was named after a man and finally, I came up with Louis Beck. After a few more hours it came to me…Ludwig Beck. I told Glenn even if it was still there I doubted seriously that they would have such an expansive CD section if they had one at all. As I was meandering around the Marienplatz, I looked up and there was Ludwig Beck’s! I went in and took the escalator up the stationary dept. thinking if there were any records left they might be there. No… although I did purchase a few cards. I decided before I left and since I’d actually purchased something, I’d use the men’s room on the 5th floor. When the moving stairs arrived at floor five my eyes took in a wonderful sight and my credit card began to quiver in my wallet. The entire 5th floor of Ludwig Beck’s is STILL devoted to CD’s and vinyl. Pause to think about that a moment, an entire floor of a modern department store devoted to music. I sprinted off the escalator and tore in. There’s an unspoken snobbery about it that I recalled from visits years ago. Not in any way from the staff, but in the music offered for sale. A full half and then some is classical and opera, followed closely by jazz, blues and some children’s music. I like that. As things have turned out they are very smart for sticking to it…. no pop, rock or other things. The music they carry appeals to people who still purchase music rather than streaming or downloading it, legally or illegally. Clearly business is thriving. I hit that jazz section like a train. As I was looking through I heard a couple of familiar voices coming up the escalator… Jim and Ianto, who’d heard me mention the place to Glenn and had stumbled across it just as I did. This was musical Nirvana even if Ludwig Beck didn’t actually stock them. I got out of there relatively unscathed with 7 CDs. Jim and Ianto were pushing wheel barrows full when I bid them adieu and finally found the men’s room. Here’s to Ludwig Beck.
I left the store and found myself in the Rindermarkt, a large outdoor marketplace with stalls of fresh fruits, vegetables, fleicsh and wurst shoppes, baked goods, souvenirs, beer and grilled sausage stalls. I stopped in for a half litre of Munich helles and a grilled bratwurst then back to the hotel to listen to one of my purchases… the great tenor sax player Flip Phillips.
It was a big dinner thrown by our longtime promoter here in Germany, Marek Lieberberg. These are always lavish affairs at the finest restaurants Germany has to offer… remarkable dinners. If you’ve checked in to this diary before you know my devotion to great food. However, for the last several weeks I’ve had my heart set on a traditional Bavarian dinner and Munchen is the place for that. It was a tough toss up but I opted out of the band dinner for sauerbraten in gingerbread sauce, dumplings, sweet boiled red cabbage and a couple of litres of helles bier. The apple strudel was winking at me but I simply couldn’t get anything more in after that. Munich is the home of Augustiner beer and there are at least three Augustiner Restaurants in the area. Fortunately, they all have the same menu and they’re all great. If you’re fortunate to come across one, don’t pass it by.
Saturday 11, July 2015
A day of practise and rest before departing for tonight’s show at Olympiahalle. Nigel Hitchcock is back with us and we’re all happy to have him back in the bubble. Soundcheck was spent working up some old faves with Nige then on to catering. I ordered a chicken pie that was beyond belief. Massively delicious. Great show, fully confident still up on two wheels occasionally for 9,000+ great Munchen fans. Back to the hotel then on to Augustiner for beer, sausages, pretzels and mustard. We were graced by Joan Baez at our table who played a show tonight in Munich along with Dirk Powell and met up with us at the restaurant. I’d played on a couple of her records many years ago and it was an honour having her join us.
Back to the hotel and a last trip down to Trader Vic’s for a mai tai.
We de-camp tomorrow and move on to Linz then Vienna.