Checking out of the fabulous Park Hyatt in the heart of Vienna this morning, I realised that due to illnesses, very few of us actually got out and explored this wonderful city. A real shame, but that’s touring. The temperatures were already in the 90’s and our scheduled flight down to Geneva took us into more sweltering heat. Tonight’s venue was the same as the one we played here in St. Julien two years ago although it appears they are using a slightly different tent design this year.
We landed at Geneva in the blazing sunshine and Constantine and his team of drivers drove us to S. Julien, just across the French border. Today’s logistics would have been quite different 30 years ago when borders in Europe were not so relaxed which really made me grateful for the current European Union even if its stability is threatened with regard to the frightening Greek situation which seems to change on a daily basis. (that’s about as political as I’ll ever get on this diary so we’ll move swiftly on now)
Thankfully, the dressing room areas have been set up in what appears to be a sports hall with some semblance of air conditioning, well it’s certainly cooler in there. The crew had been sweating all day of course after a moderately long overnight drive from Eastern Austria and thankfully there were no more cases of the now infamous stomach bug. All the gear seemed to be working fine although it’s quite weird when you play or pick up an instrument and it’s actually hot to the touch.
Sonny Landreth was on the bill tonight and it was really great to see him again, he’s looking and playing as well as ever. A lovely man. We shortened our sound check to enable Sonny to have plenty of time with the stage (unlike Bob Dylan did for us a few years back which was irritating and quite rude I thought). Since there was plenty of time between soundcheck, dinner and show time, a few of us found a suitable area for a pre-show nap on our roll-out mats we always carry with us.
At 9:15pm we took to the stage and the place erupted. This was like the old days, I thought to myself and the crowd roared, cheered, sang along, cried, applauded and sweated throughout a fantastic night.
Our day off (yesterday in Vienna) enabled me to have a round of golf at the Fontana Golf Club and to meet the owner of the course Mr. Siegfried Wolf who has enabled the club to become one of four candidates for the 2022 Ryder Cup. Billed as Austria’s most breathtaking 7098 yards, the Fontana golf club is on track to become one of the top ten courses in Europe. Even though I wasn’t at my golfing best, the experience was fantastic and we were lucky with the weather too, not too hot and with a cooling breeze. Even so, I couldn’t drink enough water on the round, the legacy of the stomach bug closely following…still, I shouldn’t blame that for my poor performance should I! One of our German drivers, Alex Fischer won the match beating me and my new Viennese friend Andreas Heger who very kindly organised the whole day for us. Andreas also recommended our evening restaurant just around the corner from our hotel, the wonderful Fabios Italian. The perfect way to round off a day off.
The par 5 18th…