Reluctantly checking out of the favourite hotel of the tour (official) we prepared ourselves for the journey ahead. A short hop down to Geneva and across the nearby French border to the town of Saint Julien en Genevois. The weather continues to warm up and inevitably during such conditions, thunderstorms are never far away. I read the UK has today been beset with spectacular storms causing the usual havoc with inept transport services and looking out of the window in Zurich I see a string of Cumulo Nimbus reaching into the hazy sky to the South. The forecast for the gig is a 50% chance of a storm. It’s definitely more humid today so I can’t disagree with that. Fortunately, the venue is a huge circus tent with the sides removed so even if there was a downpour, we and the audience would be fine.
On the plane, (not the Lockheed Super Constellation pictured above I might add) our new hostess, Ilze came out with a birthday cake for Richard. Yes, it’s his birthday today and all efforts by him to keep it quiet were to no avail. Happy Birthday Richard.
The Guitare-En-Scene festival is our host today and upon our arrival at the site, amongst the many guitar luthier stalls, we hear of a rather large guitar on display in the festival area. John and I headed over for a look and discovered it to be, 5.8 meters tall and weighing in at 500kg, the largest Stratocaster in the world. Admittedly unplayable, it is nevertheless accurate in scale and proportion with the strings being replaced by ropes of varying thicknesses. It took the maker 300 hours to build and Impressive as it was, I pondered its fate. Mark decided he’d take a look too.
The pre-doors atmosphere in the park was great, the afternoon heat oppressive and the smell of freshly cooked food coming from the stalls in preparation of the doors opening was intoxicating. We headed back to the dressing room complex where Georgie and team were starting to serve up dinner. Finally, they had a decent kitchen area and the dishes served were inevitably delicious.
I learned that Vicente Amigo played here two nights ago and actually ended up having a jam on stage with Steve Morse and Chris Spedding. I sent a text to Vicente to say we’re all looking forward to seeing him at the weekend at our Malaga show.
As for our show tonight, it was a ‘roaster’. The tent acted as a container for the hot air and the storm never materialized so it just seemed to get hotter and hotter inside the canopy. Mark and Ianto enjoyed the benefits of on-stage fans, Ianto’s being the size of a small turbo prop!
We took to the stage to an almighty French roar which only seemed to get louder as each song ended until the last encore of the evening, the roof felt like it was going to lift off. All shows on this tour have been fantastic, without exception but tonight’s audience ensured this was one not to be forgotten for a long, long time. We left the stage finally and headed for the cars, sweating and exhilarated and Mannfred’s team drove us back to the airport where we boarded the magic carpet for Barcelona and the start of our Spanish leg of the tour, always much anticipated.
pic Marc Dousset