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There were nerves a plenty pre show at the Columbia in Berlin pre show. At sound check one of the local crew for some reason turned off all the stage power and when switched back on it fried one of the stage boxes and the one that powered all the in ear monitor units the musicians use. At first it was thought to be a cable issue but soon grew into a serious threat on the gig. We wouldn’t know the full damage until Lazuli came of after their shortened set to accommodate the problems. Alistair and Vince did a magnificent job analysing the problem and creating a new cable run to get us on stage later than anticipated but well fired up for the show. A disaster was averted.
With this show being recorded and filmed in the city most strongly associated with ‘Misplaced Childhood’ there were extra pressures around but when ‘Pipeline’ burst from the PA the response from the eagerly awaiting crowd signaled that this had the makings of an epic night.
And that it exactly what it became. I don’t think anyone put a foot wrong, the energy levels were full beam and ‘Misplaced ‘ was a beautiful roller coaster of emotions. ‘Market Square’ and ‘The Company’ rounded off a great result for us, probably the best gig I have played in Berlin for as long as I can remember and one that shot to the top of the charts on this tour so far. After 3 great shows already that is really saying something about how special it was.
Needless to say the celebrations matched the event and the bears were dancing late into the Berlin night. With extended family around I was glad I’d ordered in extra bottles of wine but even they all disappeared together with every bottle of beer in the building. We still managed to find a bar open near the hotel and hit the usual trail to the kebab shop before bed around 4am.I had a day off next day in the city and a big welcoming double bed to hide in till mid afternoon with my princess.
Shopping with Simone’s son Liam in the Kudamm in the falling murk held back by the bright city lights brought back memories and I toyed with the idea of visiting Hansa studios.This bear’s head wasn’t quite up for big sauntering and we had a family meal at a sushi bar on Uhlandstrasse waiting.It turned out to be a fine occasion and something I could never have imagined coming together years before. I hadn’t seen my first wife’s family for nearly 16 years and meeting up with Tamara and her partner Andy with Tara, Simone and Liam and the ‘kids’ was really quite special.Tammi and Andy were flying back to Edinburgh next day and Simone was on a train with Liam back to Karlsruhe so we weren’t scheduling a late one. We did however rack up a fair amount of sake and polish off a couple of trays of remarkable sushi before drifting of into the streets to the hotel.
It had been a magnificent return to Berlin and a fond farewell to the ‘Misplaced’ album which made it even more special. My love affair with the city was somewhat rekindled and as we drove off in the bus this morning towards Poland I vowed to myself not to leave it as long till next time.
Our new sound engineer Alastair Lindsay confronted with a wall of plastic seating in the Azoty Arena here in Szczecin, our first Polish show out of 4. He excelled in Berlin and between him and back line tech Vince O’Malley they made it happen and pulled a gig back from the brink of disaster.
Considering the reflective surfaces, the total absence of any acoustic drapes in the venue tonight and the monitor wedges drafted in to compensate for damaged equipment we are waiting on replacements for he’s got us a great stage sound.
Close to 2000 people expected tonight. It’s like being in a ‘big band’!