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”

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mott The Hoople - Show #1

Dave and I split for Monmouth around 2:30, this time leisurely making our way there. Having driven to the rehearsals yesterday, we knew the lay of the land a bit more and knew exactly where the Blake Theatre was, along with the nearby car park.

Arrived and parked up a few minutes before 5. Immediately ran into Pete Dutton, the FOH guy, and chatted him up for a few minutes. Then we were off to explore the village’s high street (main road). Checked a few menus as we made our way down to the end of the street, where we popped into The Robin Hood, a fairly large pub.

Had a couple of pints, and then wandered down the street. Decided to go ghetto for dinner, so we grabbed sandwiches and crisps (potato chips) from Waitrose (grocery store) and sat and ate them on a bench along the high street. Probably looked like a couple of vagrants to the locals, lol…

After we finished, we walked back over to the venue and made our way in. The lobby bar’s beer selection was pretty limited. I had a Stella, but it tasted like ass, so I switched to Beck’s. No beers allowed in the auditorium. WTF? That kinda sucked but it’s a real nice place, so I kinda understand.

As we were standing there chatting, Joe Elliott (the singer from Def Leppard) came strolling in with a buddy of his. Five minutes later, I’m engaged in conversation with him and he turned out to be a totally ordinary, nice guy. Like me, Joe’s a lifelong Mott fan. We talked about the Maltese Cross guitar he gave Ian Hunter for his 70th birthday back in June. Said he had two of them made, one for Ian and one for himself. We chatted a bit about our favorite Mott songs, and I made three or four attempts to excuse myself from the conversation and leave him alone, but he kept grabbing my arm to prevent me from walking away. He was SO excited about seeing Mott, maybe as much as I was.

Like me & Dave, he’s going to all 7 shows, the 2 warm-ups here in Monmouth and the 5 shows in London. He’ll even be opening one of the London shows, the last one (Oct. 6), as Joe Elliott’s Down & Outz. The band consists of Joe and members of The Quireboys. Just a one-off gig, not a new project or anything.

He said he’s wanted to see Mott since he was a 12-year old kid, listening to them on the radio. I can relate, except that I was 15 when I became a fan.

Finally slipped away from him, found Dave, and we made our way in. Great seats, except for the guy in front of me, who was easily 6’7” if he was an inch. I couldn’t see a fucking thing with him there, so I went back and stood by the mix position. It was only 4 rows back, so it was fine. Plus, I could see everything from there!

Dave stayed in the seats, kind of sitting across both, such that he could see just fine. With both of us there, though, he couldn’t do that.

The show was awesome. There were a few tunes that both Dave and I wish had been included, like “Thunderbuck Ram” and “Death May Be Your Santa Claus” but overall, it was a great set.

Here’s the setlist from the first Mott The Hoople show (with Ralpher and Phally) since 1973. Thirty-six friggin’ years!

There was no opening act and the show had a 10pm curfew, so we made it back to Dave’s house shortly before 1am.

What a day! I’m in heaven…

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Meeting Mott The Hoople - Wow!!!

Wow, indeed! I don’t even know what to think about today. At the invitation of the band’s sound engineer, Pete Dutton, Dave and I traveled 93 miles from his house this morning to Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, Wales. That’s where Mott The Hoople has been rehearsing for the last couple of weeks. Today’s the last day of rehearsal – the first of the two warm-up shows is tomorrow night, also in Monmouth, at the 434-seat Blake Theatre.

After parking the car, Dave and I first ran into Sid, Mick Ralphs’ long-standing guitar tech. Sid knew Dave, so he walked us around back, where we walked up to a group of folks sitting around, outside the back door to one of the studio buildings.

There sat Ian Hunter and Mick Ralphs, along with a couple of crew guys. Introductions were made all around. I reminded Mick that we had met at the Bad Company show in Raleigh back in June, where I had told him that I planned to attend all of the London Mott shows. He had laughed then, and he laughed again today.

Ian was awesome. He’s quite the friendly bloke, and very fit, considering he turned 70 during early June.

A fellow came walking out the door and walked right up to me and said “Hi, I’m Martin Chambers.” I’d recognized him as soon as I saw him, and was floored at how friendly he is. Martin, of course, has played drums for the Pretenders since the band started. Amazing drummer, and now, an amazingly nice guy.

Turns out that Buffin, Mott’s drummer, is having a few minor medical issues that will prevent him from participating in the reunion shows. There’s a slight chance he may play a bit at the Hammersmith shows, but that’s a decision that will be made daily during that run of shows.

After a few minutes everyone made their way inside. Pete “Overend” Watts, Mott’s bass player looked up at Dave and I, and asked who we were. Dave had interviewed Overend a few years ago when he was working on his book “Heavy Load” (about the band Free), but they’d never met in person. Well, Overend lit up like a Christmas tree and started treating Dave like they were old friends from long ago.

I introduced myself to Verden Allen, the keyboard player. We know each other a bit through MySpace. He knows me as Bobzilla and laughed that I was a normal human being in spite of the name.

The band ran through bits and pieces of a few tunes, and the whole time, all the hair on the back of my neck was standing on end. When they did “Hymn For The Dudes” I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

As all bands do, they had some nuts and bolts bits to work on, so Dave and I were very politely ushered back out through the open door to the patio in order to give them more privacy. The good news was that we could still hear every note.

After about 20 more minutes, they took a break (Verden was having issues with his Leslie cabinet), and most scurried outside for a smoke.

Turned out the rehearsal was over, so then we all just hung out and the real fun started. Dave and I helped a couple of their crew guys load a dozen cases of backline gear in the truck, and then spent about 45 minutes talking to Ian and Overend.

I asked Ian about his old “H” guitar and the Maltese Cross one. He told me the story of finding the original Maltese Cross one in a pawnshop in San Francisco many years ago. He paid $75.00 for it. What a hoot!

He said he’d recently received a new one as a gift from Joe Elliott (the singer for Def Leppard and a huge Mott fan himself). He excused himself for a minute and went inside, reemerging with the guitar. Here’s Ian and the Maltese Cross guitar.

My favorite anecdote of the afternoon was Ian telling a story about Mick Ralphs quitting Bad Company back in the day. BadCo’s singer Paul Rodgers, a kinda small fellow, is well known as an insufferable bastard, and when he was quitting, Mick said to Paul, “Life’s too short…and so are you!” Hahahaha…

Dave asked if they would be playing “Thunderbuck Ram”, but Ian said that Mick’s voice had dropped an octave over the years. Tough song for him to sing back THEN, so pretty much impossible now. Dave laughed and told him they should do it as an instrumental, instead.

Overend asked me where I was from, and after I told him, he said, “And you’ve come all the way here for THIS?” I told him I wouldn’t miss it for the world. He responded, “But what if we’re shite?” to which we all laughed. It was then decided that they needed to make t-shirts for the London shows that said “What If We’re Shit?” on them. He was genuinely astounded that I wanted to attend all 7 shows. All I could say to that was “You have no idea what your music has meant to me for all these years.” I swear he blushed a bit as he smiled and reached out to grab my shoulder.

There were many more stories, and I was thrilled to be able to hang out with those guys today. It was the highlight of my year!

Tomorrow – first warm-up show…

Sunday, September 20, 2009

First Day of Vacation

Yay! The tour is done. Finished last night with the second of two nights at Wembley Stadium. Total attendance over two nights was 141,794. That, my friends, is crazy!

I’m on holiday in the UK for the next 17 days. I’ll be spending the first 11 of those staying at my buddy Dave Clayton’s house in Charlton, down in Dorset, about 2 hours southwest of London. After that, 6 days in London attending all 5 of the Mott The Hoople 40th Anniversary reunion shows at the Hammersmith Apollo. Dave will be joining me for those.

In addition, we have tickets to the two warm-up shows the band is playing at the Blake Theatre (434-capacity) in Monmouth, Wales on September 25th & 26th. Seven Mott shows in total.

Best. Vacation. Ever.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Production Day in Dublin

Had to get away from the venue at a reasonable time tonight. Because one cannot go do Dublin and not go out for a fresh pint (or 8) of Guinness.

Julie and me, imbibing...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Show Day in Manchester

Ste McNally, one of the three guys from BBMak (the band I tour managed back in 2000), came out to visit tonight. He brought me a disc with tons of photos and videos from the year we spent together. I really miss those guys, but I don't miss being a tour manager. It was fun to go through that stuff - brought back a lot of good memories.

Jim and Peanut, the two riggers who ride my bus…

Had a killer office here yesterday and today, with a great view of the stage. Just before doors, and just before showtime…

Jay-Z, our main support act tonight, on stage…

Friday, September 11, 2009

Travel Day to Manchester

Sunrise on the ferry, en route to Manchester…

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Show Day in Nijmegen

Today’s the second of two shows here in Nijmegen, Holland, birthplace of Eddie and Alex Van Halen. Can you believe this place has not one single statue, plaque, or other type of recognition of that fact? I can’t.

Got a couple of cool shots from stage right tonight…

Monday, September 7, 2009

Show Day in Paris

Got a final shot of the Eiffel Tower this morning as we were leaving the hotel. Wish I had a couple more days off here…

Spot operators doing their thing up on the delay towers:

Wonder what they’re gonna do with all those leftover beers they poured. Hmmmm...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Production Day in Paris

Photo of me, standing next to a HUGE cell tower I found a few blocks from the hotel.

Went to dinner tonight with Mick and Eric ( merch guys), and Jackie (security). Everyone wanted Mussels and Frites. We wanted to go to Leon’s, but there was a line out the door, and since the place next door had no line, we went there instead. Mick and Eric:

In the contest of Bob vs. the Mussels, Bob won in overtime:

After we got done with dinner, we went next door to Leon's for dessert and ANOTHER POT OF MUSSELS. Seriously, after we had dinner, we went and had dinner again. Hahahaha...

OK, just one pot of mussels, and just to compare.

Next time, we'll stand in line at Leon's. 'Nuff said...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Show Day in Bern, Switzerland

This, folks, this is a road case for a couch. Yep, you heard me right, a couch.

We have one truck out here (out of a current count of 34 trucks) that carries nothing but furniture and other dressing room crap. And there are 2 guys (Ian and David) who do nothing but deal with dressing room ambience.

Took this shot from stage right tonight. Good view of the crowd.

Here's Andy Bramley, our Video Director, doing his thing during the show.

And this is our Video Engineer Ed Jarman, doing likewise.

I almost missed bus call tonight. The load-out went way faster than normal. Suddenly, it was 2:15am and someone on my bus called me on the radio to tell me that all the other buses were gone and they were sitting at the gate waiting for me. I'd been so busy websurfing and talking to R. Kelly's Tour Manager that I hadn't noticed that everyone was done. D'oh!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Travel Day to Bern, Switzerland

By now, you should know I don't sleep very much on buses. Got to sleep just past 4am, and was up this morning by 7:45.

Went up front to sit and watch the countryside roll by. I think my two favorite drives in the world are the Canadian Rocky Mountains and the Swiss Alps. I've been lucky enough this year to do them both.

Mountains so tall, they reach up and touch the sky…

It is just so beautiful here. I would love to come live here for a short time, even if only for a few months.

We went through one tunnel this morning that was 17km (10.5 miles) long. I thought we'd never get back to daylight.