Not your usual tour, this one in South Africa. More a team building affair you might say. Not that this team is in great need of that but a little rest and relaxation during a tour can be a good thing for a band. Then there are the shows: Great - all of them. So far we’ve played at two different venues in the greater Jo’burg area plus one in Pretoria. Two of those were sold out completely which is gratifying. Last night’s number count was 575 folks. I have to say that the chain of Barnyard Theatres is really impressive. Each of them features a vast wide stage, great sound system and dedicated staff - oh and not forgetting our genial host and master of ceremonies, Danny De Wet who has been working this tour for some months now.
Today we are en route for Durban in the north on the coast. This show was organized by Norman Dugdale, an old touring buddy from the days when we were on the same agency roster as Vinegar Joe. Big thanks Norman! It’s been pleasant temperatures in Jo’burg for this week, reminding me of California somehow, but this morning it was freezing when we left for the airport. No worries though, because here in Durban it’s dry and warm.
We took a three day break after playing a couple of shows and our whole party went to a fabulous game lodge called Nedile in the Welgevonden Game Reserve and a very special time was had by all, relaxing and going on photo safaris each day. Our guide, Michael, who hails from Stratford Upon Avon, exhibited a masterful knowledge of all the animals as well as the flora and fauna of this fascinating region. Evenings were spent relaxing after a fabulous meal, before retiring to our individual lodges, where welcoming fires were lit for us.
It’s not often one can luxuriate and relax while on tour so this has been very special. Big thanks to David Salter for making it all happen. Without the distraction of TV and internet, I decided to bring a good book with me, A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre which recounts the fascinating and appalling exploits of Kim Philly both during wartime Britain and thereafter. Our original manager, Miles Copeland and his family were neighbors of the Philbys in Beirut before the spy defected to the Soviet Union so I had a special interest. Philby had been a double agent for over 35 years. If spies are your thing, then I highly recommend this book.
We’ll fly down to Cape Town tomorrow. That show also promises to be sold out. We just heard that the gear we’ve been using won’t make it in time by road so a duplicate set of backline gear will be provided locally. Muddy and I have been using two special Randy Rhoads model Marshall rigs on these bigger stages and I have to say, I’ve been quite impressed with them. On the subject of gear, I was fortunate enough to pick up a great sounding acoustic guitar here, made by Cole Clark in Melbourne Australia. I love the fact that in addition to sounding great unamplified, it has a piezzo pick-up mounted in the bridge as well a small microphone mounted inside the sound hole, enabling both signals to be blended together when using an acoustic amp.
Well that’s it from me right now. I might write a final tour wrap up once the dust settles on this tour but it’s certainly been something to remember, meeting new people and audiences and experiencing the southern part of the African continent.