The first of fourteen days off on this tour consisted of another short flight on the Embraer Legacy 600 from Dublin to Glasgow. Lunch on the plane was a fabulous home-made Shepherds Pie with customary HP sauce. Then a short ten minute trip into town and I spend the next four hours trying to get the hotel room internet working. A wireless intermittence which I though might be resolved with an ethernet cable but once obtained, I discovered that all the ethernet sockets in the hotel appear to be un-patched. The hotel tech guy was as helpful as he could have been, he just couldn’t help me. In fact all the staff here are delightful. Anyway, I managed to procure some fresh milk for me tea. Yes, it’s all about tea with me. At 5:55pm, Ian called to say some of the chaps are off out for an early dinner. “why so early” I ask, “there’s the England match on”. (as it turned out his plan was scuppered as when we returned we discovered our intermittent hotel TV system cannot receive the said game) Willing to accommodate, we set off at 6:10pm and headed for an Indian restaurant called Mother India which has come highly recommended by John and Mike. I too now can highly recommend the place, fabulous, fresh, delicious dishes and Kingfisher on tap. We get the bill, (ouch) leave the restaurant before 8pm and hail two cabs to take us back to the Blythswood Square where those of us who weren’t interested in seeing that chump Rooney get himself sent off, take one look in the bar and decide to find a pub to round the evening off.
Thinking there will be pubs on every corner was a mistake and we walked quite a few blocks before we found a real ale pub where I along with Richard, Jim and Glenn went for a local brew, a pint of Kelburn Cart Blanche. It was totally delicious. One was enough for me though and I left the lads there and wandered back down Sauchihall Street where already at 9pm I overhear sporadic bursts of local unintelligible Friday evening banter.
The Blythswood Square hotel is situated a mere two blocks from Sauchihall Street, it’s Friday night in downtown Glasgow and I my room is situated on the ground floor, with no double glazing and a dodgy cabaret band playing in the hotel nightclub right below me. You’d think that a £35 million redesign might include some double glazing. In fairness, I’d guess this was because they were not allowed to alter the facade of what is a historic building, the Georgian former headquarters of the Royal Scottish Automobile Club. I resorted to playing the last Engineers album (wall of sound tactics) as loud as my NHT speakers will possibly allow in a pathetic attempt to get my own back….although I’m not carrying the huge sub-woofer this trip so I’m not sure the effect is the same. Nevertheless, If the phone rings, I won’t hear it. If someone knocks the door down, I won’t hear it. If the fire alarm goes off (which incidentally it did yesterday morning at 11am in Dublin, a test) I won’t hear it. …but at least I can’t hear the pathetic din going on outside now (Mr. grumpy as I write)…happiness, a mild headache and a cup of tea. I finally get to sleep at around 4 am. Morning. I phone for a sumptuous room service feast but can’t get through so wander into the bustling breakfast room to find Mark, Glenn and Tim finishing off their breakfast. I order eggs benedict and it was good.
Show Day 1 –
We arrived at the Xscape, a new venue for us, just as the caterers were laying out dinner for the evening. Bob’s band, lovely chaps, had already sound-checked and were there tucking in to what was, of course, a fabulous curry. We exchanged pleasantries and ambled towards the stage where it was time for us to soundcheck. Some setlist changes and a few run-throughs. A good job too as this hall is not the most endearing in the low end department. John said after soundcheck that he’d never heard so much low end in a building…ever. Dave Dixon and the sound boys were soon on to it and ‘dialed’ as much of the offending frequencies out as possible. Thank heavens for in-ear monitors.
Our keyboard tech for this tour is Tim Myer. Hailing from Los Angeles, I think he smiles too much. Well I suppose the gear IS working.
John and Ian amuse themselves pre-show.
Keyboard department – myself and Jim Cox
Alfie (Colin) Barton and Pete Mackay. The multi-talented Colin Barton is Production manager on this tour.
Once again, there’s little time to spare between soundcheck and show and we were summoned to the stage once again at 7:35. A fabulous, standing Glasgow audience saw to it that we had a great time up there. Show no. 2 and this band is seriously having fun and by all accounts it’s not sounding too bad out in the arena too. Off stage 73 minutes later and we all enjoyed a few beers in the dressing room. It’s an unusual feeling for us to have come off stage and then to hear another band start up as Bob’s did a mere 30 minutes later. I promise to have reports on that stage turnaround just as soon as I can, the crew boys were quite proud of the fact that they trashed the record time set in Dublin. I think they did it in something like 16 minutes and when I post photos of what exactly it is they shuffle around, you’ll understand their self-congratulatory mood.
Most of us wandered out to catch a bit more Bob from the side of stage. It feels quite special to be here. Bob is once again in fine voice.
If any of Bob’s fan base have found there way here to my diaries, welcome. I’m sure as we get to know each other more on this trip, I will include more from their side of the fence, they certainly seem like a nice team.