As I exited the lift to meet the band in the lobby for departure, I was greeted by a hoard of roped-off Manchester United fans inside and outside the hotel waiting eagerly for their young, skinny idols to leave their rooms and head to their waiting bus to take them to Old Trafford for today’s match against the Gunners. (1-1) If you were one of those fans, I’m sorry to have disappointed you. I managed to make it through between barrier and players coach to our waiting fleet. Typically, I was almost the last man down and we slipped silently away once I had paused to sign a lonely copy of Brothers in Arms for a very patient fan, unmoved by the football commotion, who politely asked if I was on that album.
Our driver for today is Lars, from Cologne. We have a new team of German drivers whisking us around Europe in a fleet of VW vans and Phaetons. The Phaeton (son of Phoebus (or Helios) in Greek mythology) is Volkswagen’s most luxurious saloon and infact utilises a Bentley chassis. One can tell. We were soon out of Manchester and moving calmly Eastbound towards England’s steel town. The route took us through the Pennines and some glorious scenery.
when pylons ‘square up’….
…not a representation of some glorious scenery.
One thing about Sheffield that I have always loved is the fact that it is one of the few cities in the UK that uses a tram system. Surely the true definition of inner-city-civilisation. Sadly our visit today was brief so no riding on the Supertram today.
Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong but I’m not sure we’ve been to the Motorpoint arena in Sheffield since Sept 30th 1996 and before that as DS in 1991 when before that show, we filmed the “Heavy Fuel Video” with Randy Quaid. I recall that day quite well as my keyboard rig was re-created with balsa-wood replicas so that a wild groupie slipping through security and invading the stage could be chased by roadie Randy around the stage knocking over gear as they went. One of the more fun video shoots.
Smells emanating from the backstage kitchen area where Dave, Chris and Steve were busy readying dinner prompted me to grab the ‘food lens’ and shoot some foody shots. Todays ‘Miso and Lime marinated Salmon fillets on a bed of Rocket salad and beansprout with a fried and hand scored baby Courgette’ was a total winner. The alternatives were roast Tarragon Chicken or a sumptuous Beef Wellington. omg. Once again, miracle upon miracles, I avoided the double whammy that was dessert. Apple crumble with custard and yet more Tiramisu. (some of us didn’t manage to escape so easily)
Another wonderful audience followed by a drive to an aptly named Robin Hood airport where over zealous security staff deemed a can of shaving foam to be a potential terror hazard. Our Swiss Army Knives seemed to not ring any alarm bells. Robin’s legacy continueth. We took off in our libation-laden Embraer and flew Northward to bonnie Scotland.
In room sounds are taken seriously on this tour. My brother Dan turned me on recently to a bluetooth audio device called the “Spaced 360”. Naturally sceptical of such wonderments, as any recording engineer would be, I have tried and tested the unit. It now resides in my bag and is a permanent addition to the touring ‘kit’. It’s basically a bluetooth speaker with a quite incredible low-end delivery plus a spacial air-sound stereo. It hooks up instantly to any bluetooth device, iPhone, iPad or laptop and off you go.
As I discovered in my hotel room in Glasgow late this fine evening, it’s loud enough for a party! Not that we had one of course, I had to get up at 7am to go to North Berwick for a day-off appointment with a golf course. Archerfield.
I will be running a competition in the coming days and the winner will receive a brand new Spaced 360 and a little something signed by all the band. More on that soon.