Festivals

Two very different shows in Southern Germany during recent weekends: The first in Nuremberg was at the Pyras Open Air (Pyras is a brewery). The whole thing had the feel of a beer garden, with music as a bonus. The acts we played with were Slade (yes, I kid you not) and Roger Chapman and the Shortlist. It was hot - very hot! Chappo was first rate and I got to meet up with old pals and band members, Geoff Whitehorn (guitar) and Matt Irving (keys). Geoff is a veteran from Paul Rogers and many other notables and Matt blew my mind, since the last time I’d played with him was when I sat in with him and various members of Paul Young’s band. Since then he’s been studying and is now a qualified psychologist with practices in London and Brighton. Working in bands must have been great inspiration! Roger Chapman was a gentleman and we had a nice post-show chat in the hotel bar. Some of you may know that Laurie Wisefield was also a long standing member of the Shortlist some years ago. I loved listening to Roger's music - great band - and of course Family go way back to our early era when we trod the boards in the U.K.. Slade entertained the crowd for sure but poor Dave Hill had to jump in an ambulance after the show suffering from heat stroke. It was confusing the next day because the hotel got me mixed up with Slade’s drummer Drummer Don Powell, so I got his hotel bill instead of mine.

A week later, we were just outside Munich in the grounds of a medieval castle playing alongside the esteemed Toto. After a weeklong heat wave, the weather changed dramatically during the drive to the hotel. My rented Mercedes was dodging through some truly scary lightning bolts, one of which struck the central reservation on the autobahn beside us, sending stones and dirt flying all around the car. We made it ok and the next day, Nathan East came to say ‘hi’ during our sound check and bonded with fellow bassist, Bob Skeat. Later, I got to chat with Steve Lukather while Joe hung with the awesome Simon Phillips. During our set, we were rained on, I mean totally rained on, with sideways-driven rain, drenching us. My effects pedals crapped out on me, one by one. The V took a bath. It was lucky none of us was electrocuted. The poor crowd stood in the castle courtyard and endured it all, wrapped in rain slickers and later, it was weird to look out and see a sea of bobbing umbrellas during Toto’s excellent set. No matter, everyone had a blast and we all partied on the side of the stage during Rosanna, Africa and other gems.

Next week we head off to the West Coast and in addition to some California club dates, there will be another festival for us to play in Washington State, where we’ll meet up with Animals veteran, the excellent, Eric Burdon, who we’ve certainly played with a few times in the past. That’ll be at the Satsop River festival where Wishbone played many, many years ago back in the day. On that occasion, we flew in by helicopter, as I recall. Let’s pray for good weather this time out.

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