Finishing up a tour in San Francisco is not unfamiliar but as with all recent MK tours, it doesn’t quite feel like an ending. Only a weeks worth of shows here in California and so soon after the European leg it has felt like a continuation and with Mark and I having already started work on another album, there is much talk about doing it again as soon as possible. We always knew it would be a fun run but none of us were quite prepared for the reception we’ve received from our audiences here. As Mark has said more than once this week “we must be doing something right”. Maybe it was the fact that the last time we were here was with Dylan and a tour which for MK fans, with its truncated set length, left them wanting. What I do know is that looking at the faces in the audiences this week, I see a lot of very happy people many of which have contacted this site in forum post or email format to express their appreciation, for which I am grateful and humbled.
In glorious Autumnal sunshine my day begins rummaging through the hotel literature in search of a room service breakfast card. Just as hungry as yesterday, I opt for an Eggs Benedict. A Four Seasons Benedict is usually reliable and today’s is typically good although in my humble opinion, the addition of a sliced tomato between Canadian bacon and poached egg is unnecessary. As a safety measure, I add a Bircher Muesli to the order as the morning tasks include a deluge of emails as well as the diary entry. The large tray arrives promptly and the room service waiter shuffles off hesitantly as if a tip is expected. Even though I’m a Brit and the gratuity culture is relatively new for us, I’m all for tipping generously but not when there is a huge service charge added to the bill and since no paperwork appears on the tray, I keep my eyes fixed to my computer screen as the waiter lays the table, removes the hot items from the hot-box below, offers to pour the drinks and generally stalls for time. I don’t take the bait and he shuffles off and closes the door behind him. With a minuscule, short-lived pang of guilt, I tuck in. It’s good. It’s a Four Seasons, it should be good. Certainly nothing to moan about in this hotel and as you probably know by now about me, I believe a good whinge can make a good read. I taste the cappuccino and decide to make another cup of tea with my recently acquired Yorkshire Gold teabags and fresh milk from last night’s venue syphoned with care into an empty Gatorade bottle on site and stored overnight in the in-room fridge.
The urges to get out and explore this wonderful city on such a beautiful day seem to have deserted me and I luxuriate in my board shorts and the comfiest t-shirt I own, updating my computer life at a snail’s pace. I consider a trip with the new Canon full-frame camera down to the waterfront but decide another cup of tea is far more important. Possibly something to do with ‘last day on tour’ syndrome. Nevertheless, our departure time of 3:45pm approaches swiftly and I gather my ‘stuff’ and still manage to be the last man downstairs. The rest of the band having already left in the two other cars. With the sun still reflecting on the walls of glass which adorn downtown San Francisco, we head off across the amazing Bay Bridges once more. I look again in wonder at the old section of the East Span and imagine the task of disassembling it piece by piece. It’s a three year project and as with many things American, impressive in scale.
Arriving at the venue, we wave and say hi to a group of intrepid fans who have attended most if not all the shows on this run. Inside the venue, we prepare in the usual way for the show with soundcheck, dinner and a pre-show routine of vocal enhancing tea made by John and vocal warm ups, as annoying to anyone caught in earshot as ever they were. Before we knew it, we were onstage again for the final time. Another great show and another fantastic audience who once again refused to leave the building as had happened last night. I thought that it was the fact that we were doing two shows at the Fox theatre and therefore there was not the usual crew invasion of the stage to break down the gear, but by the noise coming from the auditorium as we returned to our dressing rooms after the show, they wanted more. It took a good 5 minutes before the noise abated. The sight of keyboard and drum risers being disassembled this evening at lightening pace by our crew soon ended any cries for a last minute encore. In the dressing room, large plates of sushi arrived and together with Ruth Moody and Adrian from her band, we shared beers and some lovely wines kindly delivered to our hotel by way of a thank you from Rhys vineyards. Delicious.
As I write this bleary-eyed, with a surf ‘glow’ in full effect as I’m taking a few days on the beach in La Jolla with the family, most of the band and crew are winging their way homeward across the Atlantic and the US boys heading homeward. As short and wonderful trip. Thank you all.