Having just played support to Hall and Oates in New Jersey the band buses drove back to New York for the final night of our stay in the city. I went downstairs and ordered a fresh Lemonade and a Pizza, both were delicious and naughty, just before bed, but I didn’t care and forced myself […]
Having just played support to Hall and Oates in New Jersey the band buses drove back to New York for the final night of our stay in the city. I went downstairs and ordered a fresh Lemonade and a Pizza, both were delicious and naughty, just before bed, but I didn’t care and forced myself to the box. A result. Our short set works well and we seem to fall into the pace very quickly, almost like the old days but not. We are well looked after by the crew and by the surrounding promoters and managers, its simple and only we can complicate things. It’s a very long tour and I’m trying not to look out from under the covers, I really don’t want to see a date sheet or diary, I know its August and that’s about it, we plough on. Our own shows are long and show off the might of our cannon, not everyone wants the clever songs but by the end of the night we have it all wrapped up and ready for another drive on the bus.
18 months of Corvid lockdown flew by and I hardly heard from anyone and then all of a shift here we are all in the web of our touring arena. It’s nice to be back playing live again and you can feel that with the audience, they seem to enjoy the songs from old and the punch of live music that I hope leaves them happy and full of joy, as it does for me. We are like those things you find in the third drawer down in the kitchen, they all make sense once you resemble them around the chords and lyrics of some fine songs. Each day we get tested for Corvid, my nose can’t take many more prods, always clean and clear. You can’t come back stage without a wristband that says you are negative. I love the shorter sets and the swift off the stage to the bus, like tonight, back to the hotel for Pizza and Lemonade, what a treat. Touring is a mixture of moods, we all have them and some are felt more than others, but that’s human behaviour and it’s the shelter of me. Generally life is even to moderate when it comes to mood, I drift from face to face and within the joins I feel the true nature of love. We bus on and on. Looking out of the window we pass service areas where I know we have stopped many times before, and names on the road signs all blink into one, one image of a tour long gone. We have been here before, I have many times and being on the road should hold no surprises. New Jersey tonight and the thickness of summer heat. No jacket for me as I become held by the sweat on stage of all summers. We trickle down the screens above the stage, there we are singing and playing, the cameras pick us all up one by one, I look up and I see the giant and the beanstalk the cloud and the mountaintop the river and the meadow of all instruments. Back at the hotel the sound on New York at night below me, the cry of young people waiting outside a club, traffic, the horn from many cars and the hum of a city that never sleeps. I feel lucky to be here, over the many years of being in New York it never really changes although Covid has closed some blinds on windows and made the outside look in, dining on the street in warm patio places. Its expensive but it’s wonderful, so far away from the peace of Firle.
Back home time stands still as the fort is being managed day by day by my lovely Mrs D, it must be tough for her, the dogs two teenage girls and the garden, the cooking the running around in Mums taxi. I miss home of coarse I do but I know its not really going to change on a daily basis like touring does when you glide from stage to stage City to city, pizza to pizza. Lou is wonderful at being busy, she works from home lives at home and must juggle moods and dogs treats, sounds like a busy day from here in my massive bed on the eleventh floor of the Soho Grand. I get an update each day, mostly about teenagers and the ups and downs of family life, it’s a possibly mine field and I do what I can to listen and be empathetic. I try to remain in my day as much as I can, otherwise all moods break loose. I felt a mood coming on tonight but looked out the window and wished it away because after all this time the only thing that really matters is home and the days there before me. Back home there is chair for me and a bed, not this big a bed but our bed, it waits for me and all the normal plates that fall into mid air as they spin. Here on tour its really not worth over thinking anything, disappointment only hurts when its not disappointing at all. The ego relishes that.
Bed then and a tummy filled with joy from the show and joy from food and drink, I have all I need for the sleep ahead and then the bus with no hotel for three nights coming around the corner, so I relish the nice sheets and the sound of New York all around me like a warm oven glove pulling out the best pie ever made. The orchestration of car horns tips me into the cosy bed around me, here I sit and glance back at my day with so much gratitude, I feel blessed at least for now as my stomach tries to understand the late arrival of cheese and doe. My engine winds down, I hear and feel most things but none more clearly that the air of sleep within the spirit of being. So goodnight Mr Friday the 13th, see you again sometime.
A typical day this week on the bus. The bus pulls up at 4am we are outside a venue in Saratoga Springs, i raise the blind to see yellow light and trees. I shower on the bus it’s now around 7am. I walk over to the gate to check in and get a Corvid test. Making my way to the backstage I pass trucks being unloaded onto the stage, it normally takes around 5 hours to get everything up in the air and the band on stage to soundcheck. Hall and Oates sound check for around an hour most days. I watch the circus being erected and enjoy catering, three meals today all very good. I amble and wonder, nothing much to do as we can’t go into town its a Corvid hot spot. Time flows like a spring and soon we are on stage ourselves. For the first time on the tour the house is almost full to see our set, it looked like one of our shows, it was fun and by the end of the show we had a standing ovation. It was hard to take onboard, the love and respect and from out of the blue I felt chocked up. Back on the bus and off we go into the night for a five hour drive, this time for one of our own shows in Portland Maine. A day full of sitting and standing around, eating and keeping it all in the day. Not easy. We have not even touched the sides of this tour yet and drives will get longer and days will have to be managed very carefully for me not to fall off the comfortable cliff.
Some days my mood swings like a kite it’s often way off the ground, and then things change. A great set tonight here in (Christopher) Columbus. Outdoors in the dry heat. I’m still finding my feet but grateful for each day, sober and still. Home is a FaceTime away and there the comforts the love and the chair. The tour bus a cocoon of coffee granola and stories, a bunk a constant hum of generator. Sleep is for the just and just this moment sleep provides the constant, breakfast at the show before everyone wakes up, it’s peaceful, it’s home for today. Giddy up horsey let the day begin. Proud and happy with my Podcasting efforts, I seem to have gone to number one in the charts which is something I had no idea I could manage. Last week the honesty and sweetness of Sting this week the openness and love of Robbie, next week Ruby Turner, its the new how would have thought, I never did. All for a good cause, Help Musicians a charity I applaud and want to stay connected with. Almost everyone in the band has congratulated me on the Podcast, there is no reward other than self satisfaction someone listened and enjoyed the chats. Im never going to be David Frost or Micheal Parkinson but I can be me, that’s all I need to be. A relief. Podcast is up there on all platforms please dive in and enjoy.
A day off near Detroit yet far from it, on the edge of not very much in a hotel with no staff due to Corvid. CNN all day long and Uber Eats to the room, its a roll of the dice, tonight a meal that was so inedible, I had not choice but to eat it. I sit on the bed thinking that was a mistake. A sleep in the air conditioning glare of a room that has seen so much, so much I don’t want to think about. Outside a golf coarse and carts racing around the greens with chaps in jumpers, and then the lake. Beyond the sky a full moon and beyond that home. I started this entry with pizza and lemonade but sadly I have to curve the writing with Uber diving and a day of wondering why. Missing home, missing a part of the jigsaw that ultimately will form the vision of here today. Just when I thought the bunk was a place for midnight, beyond the journey there is the destination, I may never know the destination but will always know the journey. Join me for the time being on this tour with all of the above and Podcasts to soak in the bath with.