The Pike Place Market on the Elliott Bay Seattle waterfront houses the oldest continually operated public farmers’ markets in the United States. 10 million visitors inch their way through the market each year and this morning it’s not difficult to see how that number is achieved. The place was heaving. After what was by far the best Eggs Benedict I’ve had on the tour so far, by a mile, Ian, Mike and I headed out of the hotel and walked the one block to Pike Street. Probably the main attraction is the flying fish of the Pike Place fish market where employees throw 3ft. Salmon to each other rather than pass the fish before preparation and sale. There were certainly more folks taking pics and video than buying fish. In a story not entirely dissimilar to that of Ray Kroc, three enterprising partners inspired by Alfred Peet of Peet’s coffee started a coffee shop in 1971 selling coffee beans,coffee making equipment and accessories. Located at 1912 Pike Place, Stewart Brothers coffee shop as it was known then has been in continuous operation ever since. Of course the brand, now a household name with nearly 20,000 branches has plagued nearly every high street of the world with (in my mind) average coffee and predatory business ethics. It does seem that where ever there is a good coffee shop, there’s a Starbucks opposite. A super-long line of worshippers queued patiently in the Seattle rain to have coffee at the original location whilst we walked on and had a lovely cup of Tully’s coffee opposite one of the many Starbucks branches in Pike street.
Seattle mounted policemen are not to be trifled with. Nice horse.
After a bit of unsuccessful shoe searching, it was back to the cosy Four seasons room to put the kettle on once more before departing for the venue.
Lunch at the venue is worth a mention as it was some of the best Mexican food I’ve had in a long time. The fabulous catering team are with us the whole way on this tour and haven’t served up a dud yet. Today’s leftover luxury lunch convinced most of the band to make it dinner and not eat before the show. Our first show in the U.S.A. was a good one even by our standards. More unbelievable was that it was Jim Cox’s first show in the U.S.A. with this band. There were many great moments during the show, one in particular warranted a lot of after show chat and amusement. The breakdown section of Marbletown which is quite free-form every night, tonight featured some daredevil meanderings from Mark, John, Mike and Glenn. At one point most of us had wandered over a musical precipice, wondering how we might find our way back, and then Jim came to the rescue, RNLI-style, with some delicate and beautiful piano and within seconds, we were saved.
A wonderful, appreciative and listening crowd sparked the band into some great performances, not least from Mark himself. As always we chat about the night afterwards, often in a bar near the hotel. Tonight’s venue was the Pike Brewing Company brewpub, a mere 30 second stroll from the hotel entrance on 1st avenue.