For some bizarre reason I have been awake at unearthly hours of the day on this part of the tour (any time before 2pm is ridiculously early). This means I had the joy of seeing Mike Kidson first thing in the morning on the bus at least twice.
The first encounter was definitely out of the ordinary. Mike asked me to sit down in a very soothing voice and then proceeded to explain in a very direct way that during the night one of the trucks had gone off the road and turned on it's side. Graham (the driver) was unhurt but all of our equipment was currently in a ditch being craned out.
Once I had fully processed the enormity of our situation and made 100% sure that nobody was hurt I started to think about my guitars and what condition they might be in, especially my long serving blue flower Telecaster and my '73 Strat. When I got in the venue the Internet had not been set up, so I set about plugging in the router and once connection had been made I realised it was all over the national news. (see images below)
Sometimes you look at these stories on news shows and you cannot connect emotionally with what is going on. Watching videos of your own equipment being lifted from a ditch via a crane on the national news was surreal. Miraculously (thanks to an excellent truck pack courtesy of our crew) nothing was really damaged apart from a few cases and chairs, but there was a long wait before we got to know that. The accident happened about 3 hours away from the venue. When it finally arrived we went through it all checking for faults, and then it was all hands on deck to get it set up in time for the show. Sound check was only 1 hour later than normal and the show went ahead as planned. A minor miracle.
A particular mention should go to our production manager Gaddie, and all the Polish crew that attended the scene of the accident from the early hours in the morning unloading the truck one case at a time. You can see him with the number plate by the monitor desk, tired but happy!
The second encounter was when Mike walked down the stairs, looked out of the window and exclaimed 'It means nothing to me'..... yes, we had arrived in Vienna for a day off.
To bring the subject back to what my first few blogs were about, the kebabs were excellent! Austria is my number one country for kebabs, I even prefer their unique approach to ones in Turkey.
Not far from the hotel there was a zoo, and not being a zoo veteran I decided to take a look. On the whole I found the experience a little upsetting. Elephants, lions and giraffes should not be locked up in places that small, they need space to roam around. The sloths didn't look too upset and the sea lions seemed to be having fun but I looked at their size and realised that I would not like to be confined to that space for the rest of my life, and I am a lot smaller and more anti-social than a sea lion! The pandas particularly had very little space. I'm sure it's not the worst zoo in the world but I have yet to be convinced that the concept is a good one. (see images below)
After a lovely meal at Vapiano (the Nando's of the pasta world) I retired to my room for an early night to watch Anchorman 2, which was hilarious pretty much from start to finish. I was woken twice, once by a friend texting me 4 times telling me it was a life threatening emergency and when I eventually called I found that his Netflix had stopped working, and the second time was due to Alex having an argument with his hotel room door.
For now the tour is almost over, but with the rest of the year shaping up nicely gig-wise and a lot of next year already on sale it does feel like everything is already mapped out, so all I have to do is keep my fingers safe and turn up :)
I'm sure the blogs will return when we start the north American tour, so until then, goodbye!