Never before has it occurred to me that Stuttgart was associated so strongly with wine. When I think of Stuttgart, I think of Mercedes-Benz, Bosch, Daimler AG and most of all, Porsche. I looked out of my inner city hotel room window this morning and noticed a hillside vineyard, not even half a mile from the Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof or main railway station. The area is known as Uhlbach and is one of many growing areas all within 15 minutes on public transport from the centre. 

Every visit here reminds me of my favourite car, especially since the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer Halle is primarily sponsored by Porsche, in fact the last time I wrote about Stuttgart, I mistakenly mis-named the building. Understandable I think, since the signage is so dominant. Cars and motorbikes were purported to have been invented in Stuttgart (by Karl Benz). As a result, it is considered to be the starting point of the worldwide automotive industry and is sometimes referred to as the ‘cradle of the automobile’. Drinking wine, thinking cars. I like it.

Confirmation of Stuttgart’s wine association comes from a brief search on the web about the area. Stuttgart is the capital of Baden-Württemberg and situated in the fertile Neckar valley, the wines produced here are Trollinger, Riesling, Kerner, Silvaner, and Müller-Thurgau. Trollinger in particular being closely associated with the city.

Keen to hit the gym once again, I headed down to the subterranean depths of our Dusseldorf hotel to discover a shiny new Technogym Spin-bike. My latest obsession resulting in a workout that I may have overcooked. Back in the room for an Omelette and Chips. It’s ok once in a while, right? The Coffee art was intriguing. Then it was bags packed and off we roll again, to Dusseldorf airport and onward to Stuttgart in our substitute Asparagus.

Arriving in plenty of time for the gig, Danny and I decided to commence interviews and nailed Dave, Chris, Steve and Scott in the ultra-cramped and steaming hot kitchen area. Not the ideal spot but the boys are always so accommodating. Back in the dressing room, there was a very strange sound coming from one of the bathrooms. Tom had found a way to mute the trumpet for his practice session. The sink.

Richard and Mike were in one of the tuning rooms, engrossed in guitar world. Mike is having almost daily lessons from Richard. Graeme is learning the Whistle, Danny and I are students of the Bodhran although Danny is clearly way more advanced than I am. Sometimes the backstage areas are more like a music college than a gig. All warmed up, we were ready to go at 8pm, unfortunately 30 percent of the audience weren’t, so we held the show for 10 minutes. A steamy, sweaty gig, we all had a great time…as we do every night in this wonderful band. A short run to the hotel, a few nightcaps, but for me, straight to bed.