Tour Blog - Las Vegas

Las Vegas Baby! Well ........ it was interesting!. I've never been before but I always thought, why would you go somewhere in the middle of a desert to see the Eiffel Tower or a copy of an Italian styled building?. I soon realised it's not about that. People that go to Vegas go to gamble and live in a make believe world for as long as they can afford it. We were playing at a beautiful  new hotel called the M Resort. After the gig we were given a couple of days off so as you can see from the picture below I made use of the pool area!.The picture at the bottom is of me doing somme practice in the hotel, it's not very interesting and I don't know why I've included it but there we go! The next and last gig was in Atlanta which mean't we relaxed in LV  and then got a 'Red Eye' flight to Atlanta.

I always wondered why the flights were called  red eye flights in films. The simple reason is, if you fly from the west coast at night let's say leaving LV at 10pm and arrive on the east coast in Atlanta your watch needs to be taken forward so you're losing hours. The flight was about five hours plus you lose about 5 hours. This means you arrive on the east coast and it's early morning. Meaning unless you slept on the plane you will, like I did, have red eyes. Below you can see my blurring shot of a very early Atlanta airport. I also include a shot (I need to get out more!) of this rapid charger which I saw in LV airport. It has an adaptor for laptops, phones, ipods etc. If you need to charge up quick you pay a small amount and plug in, so clever!

Tour Blog - Mountain Winery Saratoga

This was our view from the dressing room, if you can't get inspired by that then your in trouble! We were playing a venue that used to be a Winery above the very wealthy  and iconically named 'Silicone valley'. This venue has got to be my favourite, it's not the biggest or well known but it was so beautiful. The picture underneath this is not so beautiful but it had to be included. One of the guys working as an usher had a black eye. I had to get this shot with him, he said he wanted a copy of it as he's collecting shots of himself with the black eye with different people. He even had an email address, black-eye-guy@....!

Tour Blog - Los Angeles

So your thinking why is there a picture of a desert and a toilet? The scenery really started to change on the west coast, driving through the desert was amazing, it's just so big! We headed out of Salt Lake to Los Angeles where we were plaing the Gibson Amphitheatre. This is an famous venue in LA the pictures inside the venue showed why. Some seroius people have played there. However I seemed more impressed with the dressing rooms, hence the picture of the dressing room toilet! Also below you can see the canteen in the venue was design in the style of an old 50's cafe.

Below and above are pictures of Andy Carr who played bass on the tour and Steve who was our drum tech. I had to include this picture as Andy actually went out of his way to keep me out of the shot! I also had to show you the red grand in the dressing room, very bling! Driving across America was very interesting to me. We stopped at a huge truck stop where the drivers could plug into the aircon on site so they could switch their trucks off. You can see this with the bottom picture, the yellow shoots are the air con and power supplies. I also loved the sign at the truck stop cafe asking the drivers to at least wear shirts and shoes.

Tour Blog - Salt Lake City

For the next part of the tour we had a week off which meant you could stay in the US or fly home. I decided on returning home which meant flying which I hate doing. The down side of arriving from the UK was the jet lag. Salt Lake is 8 hours behind us so by the time we were due to play at 10.30pm the real time in my body was 6.30am I felt horrid hence the feeling sorry for myself pic and the the very dodgy picture of the tour manager Dave and myself, we look wierd! The upside was the place had great shops so I had a wander. The pic below shows the retro tape player urban outfitters were selling. It's scary as these were being sold when I was 10! Driving out of Salt Lake the next day I was blown away by the desert which went on for hours and hours.

Tour Blog - Detroit and Toronto

The above photo is of the band Cutting Crew who are performing on the same bill. We were playing at the Meadow Brook Music Festival just outside of Detroit. Cutting Crew are a great live band with some wonderfull musicians. I really enjoyed checking their set at yet another beautiful open air venue. The pics below are of the gig we played in Toronto. We were playing their as part of the gay pride event which was  huge!. Having entered Canada with no trouble from the border control the weather really turned nasty. As you can see from the photo's the rain was pouring onto the stage hence me have to cover my Sax in plastic. However later in the day when we were due to go on the weather improved lots and it turned out to be fun!

Tour Blog - Chicago

Ok ok I know it's scary and yet the photo next to it is beautiful so forgive me. The reson for the contrast is your looking at the drum tech Steve up on the left. It was the singer from Berlin's birthday. At one point she has people from the audience join her on stage. Steve decided he would do so only wearing a towl wrapped around him in the style of an adult nappy. Very funny but you had to be there otherwise he just looks very scary. The picture to the right was taken that afternoon when I went into Chicago to explore. I was in an old book shop which was 4 storey's high and was so beautiful I had to take a picture.It's strange with America because the minute you arrivein a town it has it's own style or feel. So different from the last. Chicago felt like Boston. It's an old town which I like, the rail service was built after most of the buildings so it has to be elevated through the city as you can see from the picture below.

Here is a picture of the drummer Pete and guitarist Matt, I think I'm getting on their nerves now as I keep insiting on that 'tourist shot' wherever I go. I also keep making members of the band try on my 'geek chic' glasses, hence Pete's turn in the picture below. As you can see it did get to some members of the crew who decided to tape me up in sound check! The gig went really well (still no picks sorry!) The day finished with Pete and I sharing a large Pizza which as you can see was LARGE!

Tour Blog - Grand Rapids

We played a good gig but there is nothing else to say as the day was overcast for me by the passing of Jackson.

chicago 2

Tour Blog - Wolf Trap

The next gig was at the Wolf Trap Amphitheater near Vienna. It's one of the largest wooden structures in America. As you can see from the pictures it's stunning. I managed to get a couple of cool pictures from the sound check and from my walking around and exploring. The cheaper tickets are at the top where people can bring a picnic. I think this is cooler than sitting in the actual theatre.

Below is a pic of the guitarist Matt Backer, at this point as you can see we all had our cameras out. There's also a cool shot taken from a Sax point of view and me standing behind the keyboard with blurred hands, believe they don't play that fast!.The gig was really fun as I've never played outside before at such a huge venue.

Tour Blog - Baltimore

After Atlantic City we picked up a tour bus to take us on for the rest of the dates. In a way I am looking forward to getting onto the bus as it means all your stuff is in one place. It also means you have internet which in some hotels can be tricky to get. The picture above is of our amazing bus driver Sam. he's a real new yorker with such a positive outlook on life. He drove us on the first stint for over 10 hours straight! This would be against the law in the UK of course, but that aside I don't know how he does it. His bus has something called a slide out which means when parked the front lounge can extend out making the bus really roomy. I've been told by many people to watch the TV series 'The Wire' which is a police drama set in Baltimore.  A friend lent me the first series but I haven't started yet however the venue in Baltimore was next to the Police station so we were surrounded by police cars I thought I'd grab a shot in adavance to make it look like I knew all about 'The Wire' Baltimore was such a breath of fresh air after AC, the first thing I did was go and sit in a cool bar and get some proper food. Everything in AC tasted bad!

Tour Blog - Atlantic City

Our next stop was Atlantic City where we had a show and a couple of days off. Atlantic City was a bit / a lot, of a shock after staying in New York and Boston. Tacky is not the word, the whole place was like a terrible version of Vegas. We were staying in a hotel on the sea front where all the tourist resorts were. All the hotels had huge casinos where it seemed not very wealthy people went to loose all their money! The pictures you can see above are of the casino in our hotel and the boardwalk outside of it. I did however get to do some practise in my room for a couple of days.This involed sticking a sock down my sax to dull the sound and playing really softly so as not to disturb my neighbours. I brought my flute so that I can keep my sound together because I"m not using it on the gig.  You know a City is run down when film crews come to film gangster movies in it. I caught this shot (below right) from my room window. They were filming a guy staggering down a road after being shot. The middle picture below is of the unspoilt beach found further away from the dreadfull built up areas.

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