14th July 2019 – Saint Julien en Genevois

Saint Julien en Genevois is a small town on the border to Switzerland that plays host to the Guitare En Scene festival each year. It’s one of the few occasions we can potentially visit 4 countries in one day as we fly into Geneva. Today however, it was  simply a hub flight from our base…

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13th July 2019 – Lucca

Current temperatures across Europe are high but not like last week so it looks like a good week to hit Italy. Saturday morning at the Sheraton, Sopot consisted of a 3:30 am wake up call, courtesy of the room below and their in house disco party. I could hardly grumble though as I’m sure I’ve…

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11th July 2019 – Gdańsk

watching the cricket Śliczny, the Polish word for lovely, seems an appropriate way to describe the surroundings when you walk Northwards along the shoreline from our hotel in Sopot, a town few of us had heard of before this week. The Polish Riviera at this time of year is heaving with families on vacation, enjoying…

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10th July 2019 – Kraków

Dutifully checked out of the Park Hyatt in Budapest, we climbed into our cars and vans. A logistically complex day lay ahead for our drivers. I’ll see if I can get this right… Alex’s team ‘B’ drove us to the airport in Budapest and then drove on to Krakow (5 hours). Goran’s team ‘A’ met…

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9th July 2019 – Budapest

Budapest is the capital of Hungary, one of 48 land-locked countries in the world. That means, no beaches, no surfing, no blue horizon. But there is water from under the ground, hence the Hungarian connection with bathing in spring water. The water is packed with minerals and is consequently health giving. I know that a…

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7th July 2019 – Munich

Peeking through the curtains, I noticed it was raining. With Summer in full swing now, we haven’t seen wet streets for a while. As promised yesterday, at 9am sharp, the bags were collected from our rooms by Peter. The early departure caused by a particularly large (500kg) unexploded bomb being discovered in Frankfurt and a…

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6th July 2019 – Mannheim

So today began in Leipzig. The continuance of the fitness regime saw me in the gym, today with Graeme and Tom. A typical luxury hotel basement facility, cold, quiet and empty with standard Technogym torture machines. A bowl of Bircher and we were off again, in cars to airport and then on to Frankfurt where…

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5th July 2019 – Leipzig

Losing a close friend is something we all eventually experience. This morning, I was shocked to be feeling so low and a few of our crew boys were shaken too. Alan Rogan was such a gem, one of the very few ‘really good ones’ as my pal Glyn Johns put it. A trip to the…

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3rd July 2019 – Alan Rogan

Alan Rogan It was with huge sadness yesterday that we learned of the loss of our pal, Alan Rogan.  As well as being a hugely respected guitar tech for Pete, Eric, Tom, Ronnie, Keith etc. etc. he was a very dear friend and bandmate. What he didn’t know about guitars and amplifiers, wasn’t worth knowing.…

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2nd July 2019 – Stuttgart

Never before has it occurred to me that Stuttgart was associated so strongly with wine. When I think of Stuttgart, I think of Mercedes-Benz, Bosch, Daimler AG and most of all, Porsche. I looked out of my inner city hotel room window this morning and noticed a hillside vineyard, not even half a mile from…

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1st July 2019 – Oberhausen

Tim Myer and Christoph Kemper Right in the middle of the Ruhr industrial region of Germany lies Oberhausen, a working class heartland, one of a line of cities making use of the Rhine, Ruhr and Lippe rivers. Nicknamed Germany’s Detroit, Oberhausen is at the tail end of decades of decline and is now known for…

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29th June 2019 – Ljubljana

However you look at it, we are the lucky ones. Anyone who stays at such a lovely hotel as the Park Hyatt, Vienna, should consider the same. This is high end luxury and should never be taken for granted. Occasional reminders appear, as this morning, a particularly emaciated young girl comes up to Mark and…

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28th June 2019 – Vienna

Wiener schnitzel. Need I say more? You cannot come to Vienna and not have this traditional dish, vegetarians excluded. We hadn’t been in the hotel half an hour before plates of it, with Truffle Mayonnaise, were laid out on tables in front of us. More on that below. In Prague this morning, the weather was…

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26th June 2019 – Prague

Browsing through the Times online, I read this morning that Prague is the official Hen capital of the world. It’s hardly surprising with alcohol being as cheap as it is. Cut price air travel means that Stag parties get a look-in too and wild weekends seem to be the thing…it is certainly the place to…

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25th June 2019 – Hamburg

Each day off we have is usually necessitated by travel distances and the crew were ‘overnighting’ to Hamburg where I’m sure they made the best of their town for the day. For the band, “One of life’s true pleasures, a day off in Amsterdam” as I put it yesterday, lived up to its hype. It…

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23rd June 2019 – Amsterdam

Ah well, it was inevitable I suppose. I got up this morning, in Brussels, to make a cup of tea to discover that housekeeping had removed my travel kettle and tea mug from the room. An innocent enough mistake, but no less frustrating as I interrogated the maids in the corridor in vain. “No English…

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22nd June 2019 – Antwerp

Here in our hotel, there’s a yellow spin bike in the gym that I’ve been taking an interest in. Not an actual Peloton, the one I fell in love with at the Beaumont hotel in London, but it’s really good. I told Jim, who was midway through his 1-hour uphill walk next to me on…

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20th June 2019 – Luxembourg

Belval is an area to the West of Esch-sur-Alzette, in south-western Luxembourg which was once the home of the country’s steel production. As I’ve mentioned in previous diaries, when production was abandoned in 1994, the Belval works became derelict. A project of regeneration which started in 2001 has seen 18 years of steady growth and…

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19th June 2019 – Lyon

Rhône and Saône, the two rivers that converge in the heart of France’s 3rd largest city. It was the Romans who initially recognised that the strategic location at the convergence of 2 navigable rivers made it a natural communications hub. Lugdunum, as it was known then, can be translated as ‘Desired Mountain’. The original foundations…

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17th June 2019 – Paris

The PreSonus interfaces in the rack Blimey, what a day.  Over the many years we’ve been coming to Paris, we have enjoyed extended stays in hotels and often made it a ‘hubbing’ point. This time we’ve chosen Lyon as a base. Whenever there are large events on in Paris, which is often, hotels ramp up…

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15th June 2019 – Copenhagen

Hygge, unless I am mistaken, is a word, often used in Denmark, which means ‘hug’ or ‘cosy’. They say the Danes are the happiest people in the world, and who would argue. Quality of life, a stable economy, good education services and high levels of social safety all contribute. Also, environmentally, Copenhagen kicks dust in…

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13th June 2019 – Herning

Summer storms seem to have settled into a pattern this week on the flatlands of Denmark’s largest land mass. Last night’s storm was getting ready to make a repeat appearance. Herning, Herning, have we been here? I thought to myself. Once the strange looking box appeared in the distance I knew we had. It was…

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12th June 2019 – Göteborg

Looks like we’ve outstayed our welcome – Stage manager, Dave Hall Grand Hotel get togethers happen more often than you’d think. The event that was in full swing when we got back to the hotel after the Stockholm show last night was in fact the Polar Awards after-show party. By wonderful, ironic co-incidence, the person…

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11th June 2019 – Stockholm

Lyssna, is the Swedish word for listen. It sounds almost as daft as a chef or restauranteur explaining that his diners ‘eat’, but our audiences really do seem to listen with intent. The crowd at the packed out giant golf ball Globe in Stockholm was no exception. According to John Ashton, our chief rigger, the…

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9th June 2019 – Oslo

There are a couple of things about Norway that are intriguing. Levels of public intoxication at weekends in Oslo are legendary and often hilarious. I suppose the prohibitive cost of alcohol in the country makes it all the more appealing at the weekend. Our hotel location is always slap-bang central and we do always seem…

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8th June 2019 – Bergen

Flying into Flesland airport, Bergen is an experience. On approach, it is difficult not to gaze in wonder at the myriad fjords and idyllic island nests that surround Norway’s ancient capital city. The busiest port in the country is a base for the offshore fuel industry, freight and of course, tourism. Over 300 cruise ships…

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7th June 2019 – Ålesund

Norway beckons.  Øur day began in England after a perfectly timed 7-day break. Once again the team reformed in the GAT lounge at Farnborough airfield, this time in pouring British rain. Traffic coming out of West London was quite extraordinary. With many road closures, it was a nervy ride out for some of the guys…

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30th May 2019 – Birmingham

Bearing in mind the short distance between Manchester and Birmingham, it was no wonder the logistics team decided that a drive was the way to get to the next venue. Happy to be back in cars and vans driven by our wonderfully smooth German drivers, we left Manchester’s rain and floated down the M6 in…

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29th May 2019 – Manchester

Manchester has had its fair share of tragedy as a consequence of cowardly acts and with the 2 year anniversary of the arena bombing this week, my thoughts have been with those who suffered loss. As the rain began to fall in London, I bade farewell to our new favourite hotel, The Beaumont, and headed…

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28th May 2019 – London O2

The Millennium Dome is, believe it or not, the busiest music venue in the world. The crown was taken, rather ironically, from Madison Square Garden, in 2008, when the Dome got fully up to speed after the conversion from its original use, the rather underwhelming, Millennium Experience. At one point during transition, The Dome was…

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26th May 2019 – Glasgow

Cars and vans collect us and drop us off at venues, hotels and planes throughout the tour and our 2 wonderful teams of German drivers cover extraordinary mileage to accommodate this. When things go wrong, the tour management have to think fast and a simple yet distressing van break-in overnight meant we lost a vehicle…

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24th May 2019 – Dublin

Leaving London at 1pm on what promised to be the busiest day ‘ever’ in the skies over the UK, we headed for Farnborough. Along with our 5-star review in the Times yesterday, in which Danny Cummings was so eloquently described as ‘Exuberant’, I read that all air traffic records would be broken today with a…

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21st 22nd May 2019 – London Royal Albert Hall

Ear-man GavinGlenn with his lovely daughter, AmyJohnny TeaDrum dept. Ian, Danny and Simon Absolutely one of the UK’s most iconic and prestigious buildings, the Royal Albert Hall is without doubt the venue we enjoy performing at the most. The atmosphere there is special. As I’ve said many times, you can feel the history of the…

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19th May 2019 – Newcastle

Wherever we play, we meet lovely people and enjoy wonderful audiences but tonight, Newcastle was special. Mark began his musical journey not far from the Metro Radio Arena and every return visit in the past has been emotional but this evening was different. From the minute we walked out onto the stage, we all felt…

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18th May 2019 – Leeds

‘On a day of cultural adjustment, we breakfasted in Berlin after a relaxing day off there. After 3 weeks of intensive gigging on the continent, we were suddenly back on British soil once again. Yesterday, our 6 trucks and 3 buses made their steady way from Hannover to Leeds via Calais whilst the band base-camped…

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16th May 2019 – Hannover

Memories of Hannover on tour go back a long way and we all recall a particular show here in 1996 in the 1940’s U-Boat hall which at that time was used as a venue for concerts. It was particularly uncomfortable for our crew who had to battle with extreme heat and residual oil on the…

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15th May 2019 – Berlin

Berlin is a truly fascinating city. The second most populated in the EU… soon to become the first. I first came here with Roxy in 1982. 7 years before the fall of the wall in 1989 due to the end of the cold war and pressure from East German people, West Berlin was wild, exciting…

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13th May 2019 – Cologne

Kölsch and Himmel und Erde. Cologne has many wonderful things to offer visitors and the local beer, Kölsch, is soft, refreshing and gentle the morning after. Flying in as we did, from Strasbourg the previous night, the familiar Hyatt view across the Rhine at the Deutzer Brücke, or Deutz Suspension Bridge, is as spectacular as…

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12th May 2019 – Strasbourg

After a beautiful Milano show, the band stayed put whilst the trucks and buses drove back across the Alps to Strasbourg. I had lunch with a dear friend of ours, Alessandro Ragni, who always looked after us whenever we visited Italy for promos. Alessandro is Mister food and wine. A trained Sommelier and a portal…

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10th May 2019 – Milano

Milan. Well, it seems there’s hardly time to draw breath before we are on the move again. With this incredible touring machine now in full swing, we find ourselves in Italy once more and in front of the fabulous Milanese crowd. The evening concert at the Mediolanum Forum was another night to remember. We don’t…

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9th May 2019 – Zürich

Standing in the general aviation terminal, commonly referred to as ‘GAT’ (Gin And Tonic), Paul Crockford demonstrated his impressive fiddle technique to an unimpressed John McCusker. A possible future folk tour line-up? Whatever that future may hold, we said cheerio to Bordeaux and squeezed into a van to be taken to the ‘Joyjet’. 9H-JOY is…

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7th May 2019 – Toulouse

Morning sunshine pours relentlessly through a small gap in the poorly drawn curtains, committing me to fully fledged membership of the day ahead. I creak out of bed, half blinding myself opening the curtains fully and head to the outdoor pool over which the room looms. Completing my, wait for it, ten lengths, I lay…

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6th May 2019 – Bordeaux

Vineyards extend in every direction in probably the most prestigious winemaking region in the world. Bordeaux is certainly the heart and hub of wine production in France. Today we found ourselves in another brand new arena, which opened only a year ago. Once again, superb facilities and a beautiful, acoustically designed hall. A luxurious rarity…

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5th May 2019 – Pamplona

Against a backdrop of blue, the city of Pamplona appeared on the horizon as we approached from the North. AGUR is the ‘traditional’ Basque word for both hello and goodbye, somewhat appropriate I thought, for this evening. It has been 27 years since our last visit. Our shiny, new venue was only finally inaugurated on…

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3rd May 2019 – A Coruña

Celtic music is very much a part of Galicia and Asturias, two regions in the North Western corner of Spain and La Coruña is a beautiful town in the Galicia region. Mike McGoldrick knows more about that than anyone in the band as he regularly visits the region playing shows and festivals. Unfortunately, the band…

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30th April 2019 – Lisboa

Folk percussion Filling with warm Summer sunshine, the tiny hotel courtyard was the default assembly point for musicians as departure time drew near. Chris (our promoter) took the band for lunch to a local restaurant that I had visited on my time here preparing to record Vicente’s album. Incredible food once more, as you might…

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29th April 2019 – Cordoba

Dropping in on the beautiful city of Cordoba is something to look forward to and the opportunity to stay in town after the show meant we could meet up with our dear friend Vicente Amigo. Nine years ago, Vicente came to the same venue and saw us for the first time, which led to him…

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28th April 2019 – Madrid

Clashing with the Madrid Marathon in more ways than one, the first day off of the tour found us arriving at the Villa Magna hotel at 2am. We were subjected throughout the night to the construction of the start-line paraphernalia right outside the hotel on the Paseo de la Castellana then at 6am sharp, the…

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26th April 2019 – Valencia

pr Please note… Paella is not Spain’s national dish, most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish. It has ancient roots but its modern form originated in the mid-19th century in the area around the Albufera lagoon, adjacent to the city. OK. That’s that cleared up.  Away we go, three cities in a…

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25th April 2019 – Barcelona

https://youtu.be/j52MSVn0RTE Barcelona After a couple of days off, the band found itself assembled at a well known airfield to the West of London. A surreal, wonderful moment, reunited with band and premier air travel once more. Remembering some of the wonderful stage experiences over many years, I’ve never known quite an evening like this with…

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Production Rehearsals – April 2019

Much of our time in the past week has been spent fine tuning both equipment, arrangements and performances in preparation for what lies ahead.  Knowing full well the impact of touring, backup systems are essential and protection in the form of flight cases has to be well organised and this is the week that the…

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Rehearsals – West London – April 2019

West London, familiar and not…. Evening draws in and we make our way back to the hotel after day one of rehearsal and the band reunion. As we drive along the Westway en-route to Marylebone, I gaze at the multitudes of cranes that dot the landscape, imagining the smiling faces of investors in that industry.…

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Tour Dates 2019