I’m not quite sure how today happened. First, we were breakfasting in Austin, then we found ourselves in downtown Kansas City and the next thing we knew, we were in the windy city once again. Three cities in a day can be the norm for us in the USA.

The story begins with a day off in Austin and naturally the mind was set on golf. I had been invited to play the wonderful Austin Golf Club with a fabulous host, Bill Bayless. As it turns out, our pilot, Blake Spencer is not unfamiliar with a golf club having flown many top golfers around in the past, Blake is a great player too. We set off and found the club to be off the beaten track. Once inside you can really appreciate everything about Ben Crenshaw’s signature private course.

We teed off after a spot of breakfast and on the first fairway, spotted a baby rattlesnake. I alerted Bill who came to examine the feisty beast which tried to attack our passing buggy. Bill said it was a Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) and extremely dangerous as the juveniles have not yet learned to regulate their venom – a bite can be lethal. We had to destroy it which was a precarious task. Bill used his driver and joked about it being his best drive of the day.  Bill was the perfect host and confirmed everything we already knew about wonderful Texan hospitality.

In the evening I hooked up with Richard and Jim, the three of us were hankering for a Tex-Mex dinner. We found a place called La Condesa and set about trying to break the record for the most Tequila shots drunk in one hour. The food was gorgeous, their Chicken Mole was a winner.

Morning broke and the gym called, possibly to avert any hangover which may creep up. In the end it didn’t. We packed bags and said goodbye to the Four Seasons and headed to the plane where Blake was waiting to fly us up to Kansas City. Debbie served a salad lunch and we dropped in to the 37th largest city by population in the United States. The drive to the very small Midland Theatre was short, for which we were eternally grateful as our transport was another gloriously incapable Lincoln Town car. My door wouldn’t even close properly on this one which prompted a call from Peter in the car behind to warn us. We loped through the downtown area and were greeted as usual by Steve Bond (catering consultant) and Kevin Hopgood (production manager). Steve had his work cut out once again as the local catering was quite hideous, although not as bad as Dallas (grey beans?). I must at this point to mention the fact that Steve, our catering co-ordinator can only make the best of what culinary delights are available – as provided by the venue.

This is all fine for the band as we get a meal on the plane but for a hard working crew, it’s a tough one. Some of the boys don’t even eat and head out to find something else. Being a part of a road crew on a tour like this is no easy ride. Yesterday for example, whilst the band were enjoying a complete day off, those boys were enduring a 12 hour bus journey which can eat into any potential day off. They are tough and they are appreciated.

The beautiful venue was a little cramped backstage but everyone was very helpful and polite and yet again, the audience was sublime. Was all had another fun show and headed off, bouncing along the highway to the waiting plane which was to fly us into Midway airport, Chicago. Debbie found some superb Buffalo wings which once you start, cannot be left. A couple of beers and our day was done. Just a quick run to the hotel with a car service which appeared to be on steroids, too fast and too close to the car in front.  German driving team….we miss you.

The wonderful Midland Theatre…

Milling around after soundcheck

Myself on the 18th with Bill Bayless and Blake Spencer..



A word on bags

Any manufactured item that carries with it a lifetime guarantee is worthy of note. Briggs and Riley bags offer such a guarantee on every item you buy. If it breaks, at any point during its (or your) lifetime, they will repair it. We can confirm this as both Mark and I have had bags repaired to ‘as new’ condition. It’s a no-brainer.


Today’s Track of the Day is Anyone Who Had A Heart – Cilla Black (a tribute to Kansas City born Burt Bacharach and to the late Priscilla Maria Veronica White who covered Dionne Warwick’s version. It became the UK’s biggest selling single by a female artist in the 1960s.)