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Friedberg heralded the return of the voice although I admit to being very nervous pre show as to whether I’d stand up to the strain of a full show. I elected to drop “Long Cold Day” from the set and warmed up the voice before sound check and the gig.
It was an emotional night for all concerned and Paris was on everyone’s mind. I stood out front for most of ‘Lazuli” set and had a few tears as they delivered a beautiful eulogy before a passionate collection of songs that energised the room.
The local promoter’s had booked another support band who foolishly went on after ‘Lazuli’. Despite playing a shortened set our French friends took a fantastic reaction from a crowd which thinned out as the second act got into their set. Why they were even on the bill I don’t know as I discovered they had only played one show in the last year.
It made our job a little easier as following ‘Lazuli’ means you really have to up your game from the start. By the time we went on the 1000 strong crowd were waiting for us.
Having a working voice again and a virus on the run filled me with confidence and I was moving and dancing with a relevant fluidity I hadn’t had for a week or so. I was careful not to overstretch the chords, guarding against hanging around in the big notes too much. I was still missing a bit of range and crackled a bit ‘up top’ but nobody really noticed apart from me.
Alastair did another great job in a difficult room that had a lot of reflective surfaces including a wooden wall the entire length of the room facing the stage. He’s proving quite an asset to the circus and I have an on stage sound that is really helping me sing with a new confidence.
‘Misplaced’ as always was a diamond and the crowd were with us all the way lifting me out of the depression of the last few days as I had genuine worries about whether I could pull it back. The decision to pull Bielska Biala, Rendsberg and Haltern had been the correct one in the long run and I sit here in Nuremberg with a voice at close to 95%. I know this doesn’t make the fans who missed out on those shows feel much better but I will be back in April next year to fulfill those dates and with fingers tightly crossed I am over this lurgy, the worst I have had for many years, and all things going well will see out this tour in style.
I’ll write up more tomorrow in Munich as today has been taken up with reorganising meds and bags after a long sleep in the depths of the bunk. Waking up early I felt I’d been wired in as it was the first day that I was practically lurgy free. Long may it continue.
Arrived at ‘Backstage’ here in Munich to discover that our mates #TheBlackStarRiders are playing in the venue next to ours. Wonderfully cool to be able to say ‘not seen you since Marrakesh’ smile emoticon
Great to catch up with my good friend #RickyWarwick again and share road stories. Beautiful guy, first thing he did was mention the Hibs win last night against Livingstone. smile emoticon
Both gutted we are playing at the same time and missing each others gigs. Looks like we will be crossing paths in the UK next month as they are on tour with Joe Elliot.
Absolute sweat box last night in Nuremberg that had me struggling a bit at the end of the set as the heat drained me and tired my voice out. It was a brilliant crowd that kept me going as I started to wilt at the end of ‘Misplaced’. Not what you need while still getting back to full strength and I was a little bit worried this morning when I woke up in the bunk still a bit weak from the previous nights exertions.
Happy to say soundcheck went well and apart from a bit tiredness in the top end the voice is fine. 2 days off after tonight and I head to my lady and her family in Durlach straight after the show for some much needed rest and recuperation before we move into some demanding scheduling.
With the next 3 gigs within easy driving distances from Karlsruhe I’ll be taking advantage of a real bed and being chauffeured by my good mate Sven who’s staying with his family outside the city on the next run of shows.
The days off give me a chance to catch up with blogs on the balcony and get my laundry done ( Tara’s already given me hers to sort out as well) and most importantly rack up some deep zeds and fully recover from what has been the worst dose of lurgy I’ve had for a very long time.
Looking forward to tonight here in Munich, best numbers here I’ve had for years.
( Munich was an outstanding show and I am getting the best numbers and reactions there that I have done for a very long time. It used to be a tough crowd even back in the Marillion days but ‘Feast’ and this tour have definitely given me a strong footing here)
(Pratteln was yet another biggie with over 1000 in, my best numbers there ever. If Munich was 8.8/10 then this was a 9/10 with a fantastic crowd who delivered us an incredible reaction. I drove back to Durlach with Sven, Simone and Liam after the show arriving early hours of the morning. I’d spent the previous 2 days off there mostly on my back in bed as the last of the virus broke and left my system. Intended blogs were missed as I continued to recover. Next day in Mannheim I found out that the Facebook pages had been hacked and I was unable to post anything while my account was recovered)
Back again after some troll hacked the Fish pages for it appears no other reason than out of sheer badness. I logged on in Mannheim backstage to find a bunch of notifications from Facebook that some alleged female in Columbia USA had got into the pages and changed passwords etc taking them offline. It was a bit of a pisser and I lost Messenger on a night when a lot of friends from Durlach were trying to contact me re the gig. All sorted again and security updated so hopefully no more unwanted intrusions.
The Mannheim gig was special and the 1200 crowd in a sold out venue were brilliant giving both Lazuli and I a fantastic night on stage. My boys were on fine form and as always ‘Misplaced’ was special.
I’d been taking advantage of short distances between gigs with Durlach in the epicentre to travel back and forth from Simone’s flat and racking up the zeds in a static bed. It’s really helped me recover and get back to full fitness. The intended blogs got lost as I slept most of the time in between catching up on “I’m a Celebrity Get me out of Here” and eating pizza in front of the TV with rationed white wine in a surreal domestic state.
The show is a big favourite of Steve Vantsis and I especially as my good mate #TonyHadley is in the jungle this time. Looking forward to when they get the bevvy into camp as big Tone must be well thirsty by now ! wink emoticon It helps break the backstage boredom and our catering is supremely better than theirs smile emoticon
In Stuttgart tonight with a day off tomorrow in Oldenburg fully deserved after 3 shows in a row. If tonight is as good as Pratteln and Manheim I’ll be a happy boy with over a 1000 people every night and riding a wave of great reviews.
Back on the bus later for the long trek North and I’ll have time on my hands to write up some stories tomorrow and the next day.
We’ve passed the half way marker now with only 2 more German shows before the home run through Holland and the UK with every one of those shows sold out apart from Sheffield where there are only a few tickets left. We are all buzzing on the vibes.
Day off in Oldenburg yesterday after a tremendous show in Stuttgart.I’d stayed over in Durlach after the glory that was the Mannheim gig to get my last night on the Balcony until I return in January and the last time I’d see Simone until she comes over with the kids for the Glasgow show. My chauffeurs Michael and Sven picked me up in the afternoon and we drove the hour or so down to the Longhorn, a venue I hadn’t played for years.
I was reminded of how long ago it was by the promoter who pointed out the broken plexiglass round the DJ booth. When I still had decent knees we had played football in the empty gig pre soundcheck and a misplaced shot had cannoned off the glass and broke it. Slightly embarrassed smiles at the memory but the promoter laughed, he was happy to have me back.
It was good to be in the Longhorn again and playing to over 1100 fans in what would later be a bouncing venue as we played a tight and powerful set with a great comedy moment as I recounted my stage trousers splitting in the Martin Schleyer Halle back in 85 during dipping movements in the “ooh wah” section of ‘Incubus’. One of the most embarrassing stage moments I can recall which left my tackle in the fresh air and only a patch of material between them and the 12000 crowd, my ass cheeks like a pink peach for all the band and crew to see. A decision not to wear underpants after discovering the only pair I had with me that day were stripey and showed through the stretchy white material of the Puma jogging trousers I wore back then proved costly for me but hilarious for everyone else especially Tony my ‘wardrobe guy’ who was on the floor laughing and incapable of helping me .A long solo from Steve Rothery came to my rescue and allowed me time to get to the dressing room and change. I can laugh about it now but back then it was traumatic!.
The story gave me a great introduction to ‘Misplaced’ which was greeted with a huge roar of approval by one of the finest audiences I’ve had there.The gig was a massive success and I was pleased to have a decent voice after this run of 3 gigs and 6 now since the worrying lurgy attack 9 days previously.
A rousing ‘Company’ and a mass ballet dance rounded of a successful night and my knees were aching as I climbed the open stairs up to the dressing room area waving at the crowd who knew I had put a shift in. I was a bit more sprightly last time when I still had football playing legs.
A long drive north on the bus and a return to my bunk for the first time in 8 days. A relatively early night and a midday rise to trundle through the streets of Oldenburg to the hotel 15 mins away in the rain and bitterly cold North Sea wind dragging all my cases and bags. I spent the day in my room catching up on a pile of e mails and calls and prodding the FB pages before I met up with some of the circus troupe to head into the old town for something to eat.
We discovered our first Weinachtsmarkt of the tour and a feeling of Christmas ebbed into the team. A great Italian meal and then a last chance gluhwein just as the markt closed for the night at 9 ‘clock. It was still early. As we dawdled back to the hotel the glittering lights of a Mexican restaurant in the centre of a road crossing threw temptation in our path and I suggested a nightcap to the team as there didn’t seem to be any other bars in the vicinity.
And that was how Tara, Angus, Dominic,Alastair and I ended up getting slightly trashed on tequilas and wearing Mexican hats on one of our best nights out on a day off this tour. A mixture of the aforesaid tequilas and various cocktails put paid to us all with Aliastair, still sporting a black eye from the last time he bounced off a bathroom towel rail after throwing up with the lurgy, definitely the worse for wear. He ended up in the hotel dropping his 3 week old i phone 6 outside the elevator, smashing the screen to smithereens and heading to the unlocked corridor fridge for beers for those who still wanted to further descend into oblivion. I declined the offer and was in my room with a bottle of wine watching ‘I’m a Celebrity’ until my batteries finally discharged around 1am. I prefer room based endings to my excursions these days as falling into bed is better than head scratching drunken wobbly wanderings trying to find the hotel. It feels slightly more civilised and incurs less bruising.
A great sleep I amazingly woke up feeling quite fresh and vibrant this morning and the return with baggage through the streets to the bus seemed less of an ordeal.
Tonight is sold out but and we have a tight stage and a seated audience for the first time this tour. It’s only 500 people but the venue has a good vibe and as a theatre is perfect for a frontman.
After show is another huge drive back down south to Saarbrucken. ( Dominic , our agent has already apologised for a tour that looks like it was put together using darts on a map of Germany) then a day off before crashing into Holland.
Everybody is relatively healthy and last night provided no casualties. There’s a stomach bug doing the rounds but compared to the plague we endured recently it’s trivial. Our only MIA is Yatta who left us in Stuttgart to go home to deal with some family issues. It’s weird texting him the gig results and getting his updates from home. He’s back with us in Groningen. We all miss him but Dominic is doing an admirable job as stand in production manager.
Spirits are high and everyone is well aware that we are on the homeward stretch with the UK just down the road a bit. I’m taking no chances and developing an addiction to lemon, ginger and honey teas. Another hole to be drilled in my belt soon. Happy days!