Gigs don’t come much better than this. Here’s why.
1. The venue. The William Randolph Hearst Greek theatre at Berkeley has long been a huge favourite of ours and with every visit, we seem to love it a little more. Owned by the University of California, Berkeley, Another Planet Entertainment exclusively runs, operates, books and promotes all concert events here at the magical venue – and since 1903 has cherished its existence. Championed by the then president of the University, Benjamin Wheeler, its construction was financed by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. The design is based directly on the ancient Greek theatre of Epidaurus. With seating for 8,500 people, the atmosphere in here can be as good as anywhere on the planet and tonight’s show was a complete sell-out with folks crammed into the arena and spilling out onto the huge grassy banks at above.
2. The people. Promoters, Another Planet entertainment hail from a San Francisco legacy created by the impresario rock promoter Bill Graham and the team working at the Greek are always amazing. From the moment we arrive, they cannot do enough for us making both band and crew feel incredibly welcome. The catering is always superb, the dressing rooms supreme and the backstage area is well known for its comfort and ‘vibe’. Everybody smiles here and it’s little wonder why. It’s a fabulous part of the world and clearly a great place to live. The audience tonight were excitable, appreciative and very loud. When we stand downstage to wave our goodbyes, we remove our in-ear monitors to savour the incredible noise generated. There really is no better feeling. As soon as we took to the stage there were great plumes of the usual cocktails of local weed wafting around the arena enhancing what is a unique Northern California gig experience for band, crew and audience. I’m not sure if there was in fact a genuine ‘contact high’ but one would think it’s strong enough to qualify.
3. The weather. Well what can you say apart from ‘perfect’. An unseasonable warm spell has made our California stay one of the nicest ever and the forecast for the show was a beautiful late summer evening, no rain and lovely and mild. Some of us donned a thermal top layer but it wasn’t really necessary as there was little drop in temperature.
4. Nige. It’s great to have Nigel Hitchcock back in the band after a period of work in Europe. He’ll be with us for the rest of the tour now and obviously the setlist will have more variation and flexibility now.
Enough said, now for a few images.