Monday, June 6, 2011

Day Off in Greenville, SC

My kind of roadie day off – lazy, lazy, lazy. Other than walking the 7 or 8 blocks to Starbucks real early this morning, I never left my room all day. I read two newspapers, a few magazines, and watched 3 or 4 movies. I even ordered room service, something I never, ever do…

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day Off in Greenville, SC

I gotta say, Greenville, South Carolina, has one of the prettiest little downtown areas I've ever seen. It's all of about 8 or 9 blocks long, but it's filled with restaurants, bars, galleries, non-chain clothing and retail stores, and absolutely the most beautiful downtown park I've seen in many years, maybe ever - Falls Park. This place is so damn cool, I could live here. I think I'm gonna have to come back here on vacation…

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Show Day in Cleveland

Typical roadie day. Woke up at 6:20am, not much light outside due to the bus being parked underneath the Quicken Loans Arena here in Cleveland. Were it not for a 30-minute trip I took with Blaine mid-day, I wouldn't have seen sunshine or had a breath of fresh air the whole day. As I type this, it's past 1:00am and I'm getting ready to head out to my bus for the night. Again…under the building. No sunshine for me again until tomorrow morning, when I wake up during our 600-mile drive to Greenville, SC.

Back to the excursion, Blaine, our touring Live Nation rep, lives here in Cleveland. He went to his house this morning and picked up his car. Offered me the nickel tour of his neighborhood not too far away and we also swung by this really cool marketplace area to grab some lunch. One can only eat so much tour catering, ya know. He grabbed a bratwurst, and I found a Mediterranean place and got some stuffed grape leaves and a spinach & feta pie. Was waaay tastier than catering.

Not much else to report today…

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Travel Day to Buffalo, NY

Flew into Buffalo this afternoon, end of a 5-day tour break. Thinking I'll start the blog up again…

Strange hotel room here at the Hyatt. One little closet has the toilet and the shower (no tub). The other little closet has the sink and mirror. How high was the guy who designed these rooms?

Blaine texted me as soon as I got in my room. He and his girl Denise were across the street at the Century Grill. I jumped on the elevator to run down and meet them. I was on 12. The elevator stopped on 6 and a bunch of muso-looking dudes got on. One of 'em noticed my Coldplay jacket and asked if I was a guitar tech. I said nope, just a mean ol' tour accountant. Asked him what band they were and he told me they were Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros. Made small talk the rest of the way down. Nice kids. Said they were playing at Lafayette Square in about 25 minutes at one of those free downtown shows that are so popular here in Buffalo. Told I'd come watch.

Met up with Blaine and Denise, had a beer and then headed over. Place was a madhouse, must have been 5,000 people all on one block. Had few beers, watched the band awhile, then headed back to the Century Grill for dinner.

Made it back to my room by 9:30. Another perfect roadie night. Might actually get some sleep tonight…

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Show Day in Donington, UK

Band came offstage last night in Madrid right at 2am. Left the site around 3am, got into my room, slept 30 whole minutes, then got up, showered, and left for the airport.

On the ground in London at 9am, only to find out that the transportation company had completely screwed up our vehicles for the 3-hour drive up to Donington. Major bummer! Within an hour or so, 8 people were sent off in one vehicle, an hour later another few went, and then finally, just past noon (after sitting here for over 3 hours), the last 3 of us got in a car to make the journey. Since I’m not "show-critical" I was one of the last to leave. No complaints here, because our ride was a huge, pimped-out Mercedes sedan with reclining rear seats. Sweet! I even managed to get in a small nap on the way up.

Stopped at a services area along the way, and I broke down and had my first Starbucks of 2010. Didn't really want to, but with today's schedule, it couldn't hurt.

Got to the Download Festival site around 2:30pm, because our driver Eddie was hauling ass. I checked the speedometer a couple of times and he was doing 100mph. That big Benz felt like it was riding on glass, though.

Sure wish we had more time, because I had probably 40 friends here today, mostly crew folks, but a few band guys, too. Would have been nice to have some hang time with them.

Dave arrived late afternoon, and parked a short distance away. I got him a backstage parking pass so I don't have to haul my suitcase all over hell and half of England when we leave from here tonight to drive down to his place in Dorset.

Tonight's the last show of the year for Rage. Seven shows total over two weeks is just NOT enough. I really love this crew, and I think I speak for all of us when I say that this band should tour more. But it is what it is…

Tonight's show is also the biggest of the tour. 98,000 in attendance, which looks like this…

Here's a shot of my buddy, Andy Meyer, our FOH Engineer, just before our show...

Murph (Patrick Murphy), our Stage Manager…

Shirley (our Production Assistant) and Spragoo (Monitor Engineer)…

Slim (Tom's Guitar Tech) waiting for the band to come onstage…

Slim's nightly, end-of-show catch of Tom's guitar. Unfortunately, this one signifies the end of the tour...

After packing up my stuff, it was hugs all-around, then Dave and I jumped in his car for a 3-hour drive to Dorset. Amazingly enough, I stayed awake the whole time. Miraculous, considering I was running on 30 minutes of sleep last night…

Friday, June 11, 2010

Show Day in Madrid

What I wanted to do was stay up really late last night, so I'd sleep late this morning, which would help with the crazy stuff we've gotta do to make it to the UK for tomorrow night's show. I was up until just past 5am, but my brain flat refused to sleep in this morning, waking me right at 9am. Sheesh!

Tried to nap during the afternoon, but that wasn't working, either, dang it! Headed out to the gig about 6pm. Sounds late but Rage wasn't scheduled to play until 12:30am. No need to be there too terribly early, ya know?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Travel Day to Madrid

By the time we finally got back to the hotel at the Amsterdam airport last night, I figured out that I'd had three 30-minute naps over the course of nearly 44 hours. Talk about tired…

People have the strangest misconceptions of what being a roadie is like. They think being on the road is non-stop partying, backstage at the shows, at the hotels, and everywhere else we find ourselves in our travels. While that might sometimes be true for the bands (some bands, not all), we crew folks have work to do. Nobody's being paid to party out here. "Living the dream" for us mostly consists of a few hours of stress release on the occasional day off.

On a show day, it doesn't matter if I'm in Paris, France, or Boise, Idaho. I'm in a windowless room in a building, with little chance of even getting outside into the fresh air. But get me to that day off and I'll be out and about, enjoying bars, restaurants, and activities all over the world with my road family.

Made it to our Madrid hotel, checked in, and then headed out to the venue to load in and set up the office. The gig tomorrow is the Rock In Rio Festival (Madrid edition), and is located about 30 minutes outside of the city.

Spotted this amazing fountain on the way out of town...

After taking care of all that, back to the hotel, then off for a late-night dinner with a group of folks. We went to a tapas/paella restaurant about 2 blocks from the hotel. Food so good, make ya wanna slap yo mama, like this paella...

Looking for a good night of sleep tonight, because following the show tomorrow night will be our worst-of-tour travel experience…

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Show Day in Arnhem, Holland

Another brutal day…got 30 minutes of sleep last night at the Dublin hotel before I had to get up and head to the airport for this morning's flight into Amsterdam. Got another 30 minutes on the plane.

Landed in Amsterdam and straight away to our hotel, arriving around 9:30am. Rooms not ready, imagine that! Within 20-30 minutes, about half us got room keys. Everybody kinda buddied up, so all would have a place to hang out, even if they were waiting for their own rooms. I let Steven Douglas, our LD, crash out in my room while I met up for 4-5 other folks to eat breakfast downstairs. The breakfast is included with our rooms, but not for this morning, since we're checking in. It's for tomorrow, and they won't budge, despite our promises not to eat it tomorrow morning. Can you say 25 Euros for breakfast? Can you say $31.00 USD? It was good, but it wasn't THAT good…

Split for the gig about 12:30pm, it being almost two hours away in Arnhem. Jane's Addiction is opening tonight, a band I can't fucking stand to listen to, but my old buddy Brad Divens is doing FOH for them and hanging out with Brad is always fun.

Got back super late to the hotel following the gig, but we can sleep in a bit tonight before flying to Madrid early tomorrow afternoon.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Show Day in Dublin

Show today at the O2 Arena in Dublin. Blah, blah, blah…

Another crazy night tonight with little sleep. Left the venue quite late, hope to get an hour of sleep before leaving for the airport…

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day Off in Dublin

Made it to our Dublin hotel around 4pm after an uneventful flight from the London City Airport, an airport I'd never flown into or out of before. Not sure I'd ever even heard of it. Most flights are into/out of Heathrow or Gatwick or sometimes even Stansted (another airport I've never flown to/from).

After a quick lobby chat, several of us agreed to meet in the lobby bar at 5pm for a beer, following by a drinking/dining excursion. My singular goal today was to have a few pints of Guinness at Temple Bar (the pub) in Temple Bar (the neighborhood). Temple Bar is my favorite pub here in Dublin, and Dublin is one of the few places I'll drink Guinness. It's made here, and it tastes so much better when it's fresh from the brewery instead of shipped to the US.

I was in the bar promptly at 5 (imagine that!), and Spragoo joined me a few minutes later. Took until almost 6 before all had assembled. Off we went, first stopping at Hogan's for several rounds. After about my 4th Guinness, I had to give up and switch to Buds, the Guinness being a bit heavy. What's funny is now that Anheuser-Busch is owned by a European company, you can find Bud on tap at almost every pub. Was hard as hell to find before, and even if you did find it, it was only in bottles.

Off again, this time to the Temple Bar…

Temple Bar is one of the larger pubs around, and has a cool courtyard in the center of it, with an elevated roof covering that allows plenty of fresh air IN, and cigarette smoke OUT. That's where we proceeded to camp out for the next 90 minutes or so.

Da Gang…L to R: Spragoo, Molly, Murph, Andy, Robert, Bob

Off to dinner next, at a nearby "steakhouse" I can't remember the name of. Dinner was courtesy of Sound Image, the company Spragoo works for - he's the Director of Touring there. Lots of eating, drinking and being merry before we stuffed ourselves into a taxi for the short ride back to the hotel…

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Show Day in London, UK

Rage is playing a free show in London today, at Finsbury Park. For the details on exactly WHY we're doing that, go HERE.

Jimmy Page came out, and watched from stage left, over by the monitor console…

Tom Morello with 40,000 of his London friends…

Tom and Zack…

Behind the backdrop, just before the encore…

End of the show…

About a half-dozen fellow roadies from the Bon Jovi tour came to hang out and see the show, as did my buddy Dave Clayton, whose house I'll be staying at during my 8-day UK vacation upcoming at the end of this tour.

Dave split just before the end of the show, so as to beat the crowds heading to the train station, but the Bon Jovi crowd hung out and had a few beers with us.

The Bon Jovi crew folks…From L to R: dude, Sooner, dude, Monkey, dude, Abby.

Among the Bon Jovi folks was my dear friend Abby Franklin. I've known the Abbster for 10 years now. We've toured together several times in that period. She cracks me up, and is always, always in a good mood.

Here's a shot from 2007 during another tour, when we went on a whale-watching expedition in Iceland…

Things wound down pretty late, and off we all went to get a good night's rest. Tomorrow, Dublin!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Travel Day to London

Ugh! This tour sucks! Got all of 40 minutes sleep before I had to get up to go to the airport this morning for our flight to London. Gonna be a long, long, day…

The Koln airport was off the hook! It wasn't an airport with shops, it was a mall with planes. Every store and shop in the place was open when we got there at 6:15am. Never in my life have I seen a full-service grocery store in an airport. WTF? "Honey, on your way back from Berlin, could you pick up a liter of milk?" lol… Seriously, who shops for groceries at the airport???

AND…they had a sex toy shop there, too. Dildo, anyone?

German folks have no shame in their game when it comes to sex. Plenty of sex shops, prostitution and whatnot all over the country. They are probably more sex-obsessed than any other country I've toured in. You can even get Travel Pussy in the men's room at the airport, whatever the hell that is, lol…

On the ground in London, and off to the hotel for a bit, then over to the venue to load in for tomorrow's show, which is a free show to the public. More details on that in tomorrow's post.

Set up offices, dressing rooms, etc., then back to the hotel. Met up with Molly in the lobby, then we met up with some folks in one of the hotel bars. We walked in at like 10:02 and they wouldn't serve us food, even though they'd just taken orders from the other 4 people at our table 5 minutes ago. I slapped back a beer and left to go across the street to Marks & Spencer to get a sandwich and a packet of crisps, which I brought back to the bar and proceeded to share with Molly while the others ate their dinners. Beers, beers, and more beers later, up to my room to get a good night of sleep. That 40 minutes from last night was brutal…

Friday, June 4, 2010

Show Day in Nuerburg, Germany

Not a bad night's sleep, considering it's our one and only night on an overnight bus ride during this tour. We'll be flying city-to-city for the rest of this run, which is gonna be a big pain in the ass.

I woke up about 10km from the festival site. Today's show is at the Rock Am Ring Festival, with about 80,000 kids in attendance, just like yesterday. Slash and Jay-Z are both playing on our stage today, and I hope to see a few minutes of each set. My buddy Bobby Schneck plays guitar in Slash's band – hope to get some hang time with him at some point.

Got the office set up, and headed over to the Rage compound to grab a shower. On the way over, who do I run into but Herman The German, my old friend. I met Herman 9 years ago on my first tour accounting gig. I was with Slipknot, who were headlining the Pledge Of Allegiance Tour in 2001. He was doing security for the German band Rammstein, who were also on that tour. We later worked together for System Of A Down, and he's spent the last 3-4 years with Three Doors Down. So these days, he's become the Artist Rep for Gibson Guitars here in Germany and is here at the festival to meet all the musicians. He's got a big ol' showroom by the dressing room compound to show all the latest Gibson and Epiphone guitars and basses and whatnot to them.

Hang out with Herman for about half an hour getting caught up. Miss the guy. Before he got into touring, he owned a gym in Mannheim, and was a professional wrestler. I mean, he's a BIG DUDE! You can see him HERE.

Later on, I got to hang out with Bobby and get caught up with his world. Met a couple of the other guys in Slash's band, they're all nice kids.

Watched a few songs of Slash's set, but never saw Jay-Z. Busy doing other stuff. Plus, I'd seen him last year when he opened a few shows for Coldplay, who I was working for.

A few shots from today…

Andy, Slim and Mike (drum tech, guitar tech, monitor engineer) just before our set.

A shot from the drum riser:

Slim getting ready:

The show from up top:

Show over:

After the show, 2-hour drive to Koln (Cologne), into rooms for a couple hours of sleep, then we'll be leaving at 6am to go to the airport to fly to London.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Show Day in Nurnberg, Germany

First show of our little tour today, headlining the Rock Im Park Festival here in Nurnburg. Our production office is so far away from the stage (half-mile or so), that I never even went to the stage. Didn't see the show, couldn't even hear the show, lol…

After packing up and loading out the office, we took off on the bus for tomorrow's show at the Nurburgring…

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Production Day in Germany

Made it to Frankfurt a little early, but one of the runways was closed for some reason, which caused us to be put in a holding pattern for about 30 minutes. No big deal, really, because we had people coming in on various flights over the next few hours. Once everyone lands and collects bags, we'll all take off on the crew bus for Nuremberg, Germany, where the Rock Im Park Festival is held.

Breezed through immigrations, and headed to baggage claim, where I'd spend the next 90 minutes. Yup, no luggage for me. Pisser! No luggage for Shirley, our Production Assistant, either.

Waited and waited and waited, then headed to the counter to do the paperwork. Funny thing, though, there was a BROWN bag about the size of my BLACK bag that, like mine, had bright yellow handle wraps on both handles. Hmmm…could it be that some moron took my bag because he was groggy and couldn't tell brown from black at this time of the morning? Why else would this bag be sitting here instead of with its rightful owner?

Thankfully, his luggage tag yielded a bit of info – his name, address, and most importantly, his phone number. The super-duper American Airlines guy called the number, but got voice mail in Sunnyvale, CA, where the dude lived. Within 15 minutes, though, someone called back and gave Mr. AA guy the dude's hotel info. Even better, the hotel was less than an hour away. Next, Mr. AA guy coordinated the return of my bag with the hotel's concierge.

And lucky me, my bag arrived about an hour later, just 15 minutes before we rolled away on our bus to make the two-hour drive to Nurnburg. I had a backpack with a few days of clothing and some mini-toiletries in it, so I could have gotten by, but being a moving target (moving city-to-city daily) makes it harder to have your luggage forwarded. Damn glad to get it back.

Next problem was an overturned truck on the autobahn, which turned our 2-hour drive into a 5.5-hour drive. Meaning there would be no chance to go by the hotel for showers/naps, etc. Bummer!

Straight to the Rock Im Park festival site to load in for tomorrow's show. I had the usual crap to do – set up the office, build a few Excel files, advance a few final items, etc. The band showed up and soundchecked around 7:30.

Finally got back to the hotel at midnight. Totally exhausted, but I still went down to the lobby bar and had a couple of Beck's drafts. Tasty stuff, indeed. No one else on the crew came down, so I chatted with the dude tending bar. They closed at 1am, at which point I grabbed one to go and headed to my room. After a bit of emails and web-surfing, I finally crashed out about 3am.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Travel Day to Germany

Today started easy enough. My girlfriend Karen picked me up about 8:30 to head out to the airport. I had a 10:35 flight from Raleigh to Dallas, then a flight from there to Frankfurt, Germany. Kinda weird that I wasn't flying Raleigh to London to Frankfurt, but I suppose they wanted to keep the crew together for the long flight overseas.

This was the first time in many years I had to leave a girlfriend behind to go to work (gee, can you tell I haven't dated anyone in a while?), and I gotta say, I was a little wigged out about it. I'll be coping, and I guess she'll be coping, too.

The flight to Dallas was fine. I was in First Class. Read my hometown newspaper and was there in a flash. Hung out for an hour before any other crew folks started showing up, and by then, it was pretty much time to board for Germany.

I was in Business Class for the long haul, a ten-hour-and-forty-minute flight. Due to the fact that it was in the air on time at 2:40pm, it didn't really make sense for me to go to sleep, considering we'd be landing at 7:30am in Germany, which was 1:30am back home in Raleigh, not long after I'd typically go to sleep.

I watched a movie called "The Book Of Eli" and enjoyed it. Watched a few TV shows, and read a couple of newspapers. Even managed to take a nap for nearly an hour, which is sure to come in handy later…

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tick-tock, tick-tock...

Standby...leaving for Europe on Tuesday...two week tour with Rage Against The Machine...followed by a week of vacation in the UK...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Show Day in Richmond, VA

Our show tonight was at the Landmark Theater, known for many years as The Mosque. I'm sure it was a fabulous theater in its day, but it's badly in need of some TLC these days.

Now that the gig's done, we have only two shows remaining. I am seriously counting down the minutes until this tour is done.

I've decided to once again forego having a tour fly me home at the end next week. I'm gonna rent a car the morning after the St. Louis show and drive myself home instead. I'm just hoping the weather cooperates with me. Things may be a bit dodgy mid-week with the snow and whatnot.

Haven't decided where I'm gonna stop along the way or how many days I'll take to get back to Raleigh. We'll see. The one thing I can tell you is I'm going straight to Whole Foods the day after I get home and buying a mess o' garlic and onions and veggies and stuff and junk and things and all. I am "up to here" with tour catering and can't wait to be cooking my own food for a change.

I'd also like to throw a couple of parties while I'm home. Y'all come…

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Turkey Day!

Our 921-mile drive to Norfolk for today's day off started about 1:30am last night in Memphis, and came to an abrupt halt around 7:30 this morning about 20 miles east of Knoxville. That's when the second of the two wild turkeys that were flying across I-40 didn't quite clear the big ol' tour bus that was bearing down on it.

Alas, the bird is no more.

I was actually lying awake in my bunk, about to climb out, when it happened. Eugene, my driver got the bus off the road quickly and I went up front with Gratton to see what the heck was up. Blood, feathers and one helluva lot of broken glass was all over the place. That's what happens when a bird that weighs that much (females average 10 lbs., males 17 lbs.) collides with a sheet of glass traveling 70mph.

From the outside:

From the inside:

If that damn bird had hit about 2 feet to the right of where it did (on the other pane), all bets would have been off. If Eugene had been hit or sprayed with all that glass in his face, we could have been in deep shit! We were very, very lucky.

We sat there for about an hour and a half, while our fearless leader (Gratton) got Plans A, B, and C in the works. Plan C kinda came about at the last minute, when the bus company found a windshield available 20 miles behind us, back in Knoxville.

Four hours later, we were on the road again, and Eugene humped the 500 miles to Norfolk without a single stop.

Pulled up to the hotel at 10:15pm, dropped bags, and then Bill Sheppell (our FOH Engineer) and I split for Hooters for dinner and drinks, followed by walking about 8 blocks to some bar where my friend Gina Dalmas was playing a gig. We got to see the last 30-35 minutes of her show, then hung for a bit so I could visit with her. Back in my room about 1am or so…

Monday, November 30, 2009

Day Off in Little Rock, AR

Whew! That's all I could say when I finally got off the bus this afternoon. Last night and today was a 960-mile submarine ride from Miami to Little Rock. We left the venue last night at 1:40am and arrived here at 4pm local time. That's 15 hours and 20 minutes, which is about 5 hours longer than anyone should be subjected to on a tour bus…

Went up and dropped my stuff, checked email and putzed around for a bit. Heading back downstairs to watch the Duck March at 5:00. A few crew folks who'd never stayed here or the Peabody in Memphis didn't believe me when I told them about it, so they showed up to see for themselves. You can read all about them HERE.

The ducks in the lobby fountain:

The Duck Master:

The ducks walking the red carpet:

The elevator, waiting to take them to their suite upstairs:

They take this stuff so seriously here that there are giant duck inlays on the roof of the lobby:

I was gonna have dinner in the hotel bar tonight, but the stench from cigarette and cigar smoke in there was unbelievable. Seriously, it was on par with Northside Billiards, the old man bar I hang out at sometimes back home. No fucking way I could eat a meal in a place that smells like that.

I would up down the street at a great sushi restaurant called Wasabi. They had a cool bar area with a big flatscreen TV, so I got to watch the Monday Night Football game while enjoying some great bait and a few Buds.

After dinner, I stopped by the bus to grab a couple of beers and took them to my room to watch the second half of the game. I don't like either team, but it was fun to see the New Orleans Saints kick the shit out of New England. Great way to end the night…

Friday, November 27, 2009

Show Day in Jacksonville, FL

Yep, nine shows and counting down. I will be so glad when this is done. I really need some "me" time at home. Like three or four months worth.

I finally emailed the Coldplay folks the other day to tell them I won't be available to do the South American tour in February and March. I've never been there before, and hated to bail out on them, but I have so much work coming my way in a few months that if I don't take sanity time NOW, I won't get it at all.

Nothing much else to report today. Sorry I quit blogging for the last few weeks, I was just burnt out on it. I've been Facebooking regularly, though, so I’m easy to keep up with there. Just search for Bob Davis, Raleigh / Durham, NC. My current profile shot is actually a BD logo that looks like this:

Heading out to the bus for some bunky-time…

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day in Jacksonville, FL

Following 2 nights of shows in DC, we left last night around 2am for Jacksonville, Florida, about 710 miles away. Got into our rooms about 2pm. Nice way to spend a holiday, isolated from family and friends and loved ones back home. Oh, yeah, we're living the dream here!!!

I putzed around the room the rest of the afternoon, catching up on email and watching the lopsided football games on TV.

About 7, I walked about a mile to the Chart House, a high-end seafood restaurant. It was one of the few restaurants open around here. There was also a Hooters open about a block from the hotel, but I knew that most of the crew was going there and I didn't want to hang out with them.

Had a killer meal, sitting at the bar, being entertained by a lovely young lady named Tanya. They closed at 9, but I stayed until around 10:30, as it was slow there and Tanya said she enjoyed the company. (Yeah, right, had nothing to do with those tips I was laying on her on a slow bar night.)

It was nice to walk the mile back to the hotel. A bit cool for Florida, but I didn't mind a bit. Stuck my head in the bar back at the hotel, but none of the crew I'd have a drink with were in there, so I headed back to my room for some tube and internet surfing.

Nine shows left on the tour, the countdown's begun…

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Paula Matthews Davis

Today would have been Momzilla's 80th birthday. Thanks to the tobacco industry, she's no longer in the lives of the many people who loved her. In loving memory of Paula Matthews Davis, please don't smoke...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Goodbye, London! Hello, Raleigh!

Yeah, I know, I'm slack. Never kept my blog up during the run of London shows. Probably because I never sat down and made time to write anything about it. Have to say, this has been by FAR the best vacation I've ever taken. Got to see 7 Mott The Hoople shows altogether (2 in Wales, 5 in London), and got to meet the entire band one afternoon during their rehearsals in Wales. Imagine doing the same with YOUR favorite band of all time…what a rush!

There are many details, too many really, to dig up about the last 10 days. Suffice to say, I had a blast.

Dave and I camped out for 5 nights at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd's Bush, a musician-friendly hotel I've stayed at before while touring. Great location, lots to do, tons of great restaurants and bars around, and only about 8-10 minutes by cab from the Hammersmith Apollo, the venue hosting the Mott shows.

Every night's show was a blast. I managed to video a bunch of the songs over the 5-night run. You can check out those vids on YouTube by searching my member name, ofifoto. Seventeen of the 21 videos that pop up on that search are mine – you'll see 'em.

Helen Johns, the Box Office Manager at the Apollo, was kind enough to give me passes to the venue's private VIP bar every night. This was great, as it was upstairs and away from the crowd. We pretty much spent every night in there, before and after the show. Various members of the band would show up after the show, along with a few of the celebrity rockers in attendance.

One night, Dave and I shared our bar table with Suggs (singer from Madness), Woody Woodmansey (drummer from David Bowie's Spiders From Mars band), Lisa Ronson (Mick Ronson's daughter), Glen Matlock (bass player from the Sex Pistols), and Gary Kemp (guitarist from Spandau Ballet). That's what it was like most every night.

There was no show on Sunday night (the 4th). That night, Dave dragged me out to dinner to meet a friend of his, who turned out to be Simon Kossoff, whose brother Paul Kossoff had been the guitarist for the band Free (I'm sure you know "All Right Now") and after they disbanded, Backstreet Crawler. Had it not been for the Mott shows, that may have been my favorite night in London.

The night of the final show (the 6th), I changed hotels out to the Sheraton by Heathrow, so I could avoid the long commute from central London to the airport this morning.

For now, it's back to work. Had an 11am flight today, London to Boston to Raleigh. Got home around 6pm, started some laundry, and dashed out the door to go see Robin Trower at the Lincoln Theatre. Wow, what a show – close your eyes and it's 1978 all over again. Robin played a nice mix of new and old songs, and lucky for me, the old ones were heavy on tunes from my fave album of his, "Bridge of Sighs."

More posts soon…

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mott The Hoople - Show #2

Back for a second night in Monmouth!

"Hymn For The Dudes" the show opener

"I Wish I Was Your Mother"

Ian playing the Maltese Cross guitar duing "Walking With A Mountain”

Ian playing a 1956 Les Paul, Junior during "All The Young Dudes”