After the UK leg of the tour Europe beckons at last, over the Easter period we have a 5 show stint, three shows in Germany and one in Switzerland and a return to La Belle France.
We have brought few new songs into the set, which is now dangerously approaching two and half hours for a this return to some favourite venues and a few new ones too.
We arrived at our hotel in Germany just in time to catch the second half of the Champions League Semi Final, and then the highlights of both exciting games.
I afforded myself a small beer and one Amaretto in honour of someone close to me who is poorly at the moment. To your health!
The venue Z7 in Switzerland, just fantastic, and our biggest crowd there to date. And once again the in house catering excelled itself once more and kept us very well wined and dined.
We brought enough of our new range of tee shirts to last the tour, however, so popular is the new design proving we actually sold it all out on the first date and have hardly any left for the rest of the shows.
Quite a bit of driving on this leg of the tour, after Switzerland we drove through Austria and Lichtenstein, around Lake Constance and through the town of Friedrichshafen. Where Ferdinand von Zeppelin established his dirigible and the Zeppelin was created. Onto our show in the beautiful medieval town of Memmingen in Baveria. The old town has many courtyards, castles, palaces and fortifications is one of the best preserved in all of southern Germany.
Peter and myself went out in search of fridge magnets for his ever-growing collection, and refreshed ourselves with a local beer, well… when in Rome and all that. Known as the town of human rights, this refers to the Twelve Articles, considered to be the first written set of human rights in Europe, which were penned in Memmingen in 1525. With the biggest historical re-enactment in Europe. It commemorates the invasion of Wallenstein and his troops in 1630.
We met one of the re-enactors during are restorative beer in the towns old Square. He kindly informed us all about the local history.
Anyway I digress, the show went very well, and 4 encores. And the next day another 4 hour drive to Dresden, our first visit to the venue and the great city. A Sell Out crowd to boot!
No curfew so we can let rip a little. The Rain Song once again brings the house down. We will be flying home for a couple of days before flying out to Paris for a sold out theatre show.
Leaving from City airport for the short hop to the City of Lights.
Thankfully, free booze on the flight, now there is a novelty nowadays, and a reunion with Le Chameau, The Camel, our famous guitar tech.
Chameau is famous in France and has his own fan club with large cheers from the crowd whenever he enters the stage, and rightly so.
Chameau reminded me of the time we were in Geneva, where he bought his lovely lady wife a beautiful turquoise ring as a gift, however, he managed, by deciding to spend his day off in London rather than with his wife, to incur the wrath of his good woman and was not entirely welcomed home with a loving embrace.
The day after our return I had a phone call from Mrs Chameau, I of course enquired as to the reception she gave the lovely gift from Geneva, ‘Oh’, she replied excitedly ‘he hasn’t given it to me yet’.
The voice of Chameau could be clearly heard in the background shouting from the other room ‘That’s ‘cos you told me to stick it up my arse’.
How I larfed, anyway. also a reunion with Michel, Mr. Rock n Roll, our tour manager and tonight our sound engineer too. There is not a man of more rock n roll on Gods green Earth!
We arrive the night before the show and the afternoon of the show I get a cab into the centre of town for lunch in the George V hotel with our lovely latest member of the SKA Music Ltd entourage.
There is a public transport strike in Paris today so stage time is held back to allow for latecomers to get into the magnificent Theatre De L’Allegria.
The sell-out crowd were well up for it from the start and got right behind the band, and the house packed despite the strike. The show is going well and all the songs received with vigour, until Moby Dick, highlighting the skills of our drummer Peter Tulloch. Which was rudely interrupted by the fire alarm going off inexplicably. Bit harsh on the ears, but then I ‘spose it needs to be.
One of the French crew cam flying down the stairs 5 steps per stride!. It took about 10 minutes for the alarm to be turned off and the further 5 minutes for the power to be restored to the stage.
We finished the show to some pyromania from our wonderful French crew, where came as a surprise, as we hadn’t actually ended as we had the encores to play yet!
A great evening, thank you to all who came, just time for a few after show drinks before we depart the hotel at 9am for our flight home to London and a well-deserved fortnight off.
Well, meant to be 9am but our cab driver was a bit of an idiot and parked blocking all the traffic despite there being several loading bays, so we set off to blaring horns for the short drive to Orly and the quick flight back to Dear Ol' Blighty.