The June/July 2004 Magic Band tour – report from John French

To all the fans who showed up and offered support in our June/July tour – have a wonderful Christmas. Hope to see you next year.

Part One: Amsterdam to Liverpool

My wife Donna had tears in her eyes standing on the impersonal LAX sidewalk the morning I left. We’d never been separated this long before and we only had moments in the hustle and bustle to say a rather formal goodbye. I walked inside and took my place in the long line behind a tennis player from Germany who was going home to visit her family. We conversed about universities, sports training, and torn knee cartilage until finally they called flights leaving at a certain time and allowed us to go on ahead so we wouldn’t miss our planes.

I sat with an off-duty pilot on the flight across the states, who explained to me the intricacies of navigation, landings, and flight restrictions and safety standards. It was fascinating and made me feel a lot more comfortable about traveling by air.

Getting off the plane in Atlanta, I met up with Denny, his wife Janet, Mark Boston, and Michael Traylor at the gate for the long flight to London Gatwick. I wanted to call Donna and Denny kindly offered me his cell phone. I let her know I was safe and then got re-acquainted with the entourage. We sat separately on the plane and occasionally spoke only when we got up to stretch our legs.

Our Delta flight had taken off an hour late and as we hurried through customs (which, for anyone who knows, is impossible to hurry through) at London Gatwick, we arrived at British Airways to find they had closed our flight to Amsterdam five minutes previous. After a long disappointing series of attempts, we found that our only alternative was to buy a whole new set of tickets for the flight to Amsterdam. This meant re-scheduling our pickup time in Amsterdam, which meant getting some money changed into pounds so that we could use the phone. British Airways didn’t announce the departure gate of our second flight until five minutes before loading. We ran down to the gate, which was at the far end of the terminal, only to be met with a long delay getting on the plane and an even longer delay after boarding until the plane actually taxied down the tarmac to take off. At this point, everyone’s nerves were frayed from the wasted time.

Amsterdam pickup was not too difficult. Our driver told us to meet him at the “meeting place” which is a big sign in the middle of the huge main room (which is the size of a stadium) at the airport. We drank bottled water and joked about the inefficiency of airlines. Our driver arrived in a van barely large enough to carry us and the huge amount of luggage we had (all the guitars plus five people suitcases and my fiber case with harmonica preamps etc.). It barely fit. The driver was quite a character, playing various horrible CDs, some of which he claimed to use to seduce female passengers. We finally requested that he turn off the damned CD player.

Arriving at the hotel, we found that they had only singles, so Denny and Janet were given a room at a nearby hotel, where Gary and his wife Caroline would later stay, and we were all shown to our tiny rooms with twin beds and stall showers. It didn’t matter to me, we had safely arrived and were in Amsterdam. The following day was a day off to recuperate from jet lag and take in local scenery.

The first thing that struck me was the number of bicycles I saw everywhere. It was overwhelming to see so many parked together. How do people find theirs in this maze?

Dinner was quick in a small Indian restaurant near the hotel. I ate with Mark and Michael and we all were wondering about the reaction to the Magic Band coming to play.

I went to bed early, concerned about sleeping, and slept through the entire night like a baby. The bed was small, but extremely comfortable, and though I had my window open onto the main street with all the traffic sounds, I felt relaxed and rested the next day with no sign of jet lag.

The morning was a simple breakfast in the hotel, a complimentary buffet I shared with Michael Traylor. I went back to my room and exercised for about an hour and re-organized my gear. About 11:00, I set out along for a walk down the road in beautiful weather and passed by the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, the second being an architectural marvel and the largest museum in the Netherlands, possessing an unrivalled collection of Dutch Art.

I walked up the long path from the street to the fountain in front of the Rijksmuseum and marvelled at the serenity of the people sitting and lying on the lawn, visiting with friends, having a picnic. The museum seemed under construction as I walked closer. Denny and Janet were on the street, so we found a small restaurant and had sandwiches and coffee together. Later, we walked to an outdoor market beside the museums and bought postcards to send home, joking about some of the rather x-rated cards we saw.

Michael Traylor and I had dinner together again and we took a walk down some of the side streets searching for the train station. Michael had been here before and remembered some shops he wished to find in order to buy gifts for his family. We never found the shops but did manage to take in a fascinating display of boats on the canal. People live in these boats and there are all manner and variety of wonderful designs; some with glass walls and others with architecturally splendid curved metal roofs.

At one point, we heard an engine whispering from the canal ahead and looked down to see a beautifully restored older wooden boat slowly winding it’s way by in near silence, barely breaking the water’s stillness with slight v-shaped waves.

Tom, our driver, picked us up the following day. He had worked for a local band – The Nits – for years. We had rented their rehearsal facility and he was driving us to the studio. An old brick building, it was located near the edge of town and covered with graffiti. Guitars, basses, and harmonica preamplifiers were unloaded from the van to meet up with the amps and drums that we had rented locally. The studio was quite large and accommodating. There were lofts – one in the rear filled with ancient gear that had been stored years before and another loft in the front with what appeared to be the control room for a studio.

Tom made strong coffee in the kitchen while we busied ourselves setting up. We ran through our set and tried some new compositions. Ode t’ Alex was one we had decided to give a try, but it just didn’t work without synthesizer. The bass notes needed to sustain for indefinite periods and the bass could not do this.

We ran the set again, which came together loosely. It had been five months since we had played a note together, so we felt that the second and last day of rehearsal would suffice to pull everything together.

For lunch we went to a local restaurant and sat watching a wedding and reception at the church next door. It was calming to see something so familiar in a place so far away from home. The food was good and the coffee stimulating. We resumed rehearsal, re-ran the set once again, and left for the hotel.

Michael Traylor and I decided to take the tram to the Sea Palace, a large floating restaurant shaped like a giant pagoda. It was a bit fancy for a couple of rock musicians and I felt a little out of place in my jeans amongst all the well-dressed customers. However, there were windows roundabout, and I soon forgot any feelings of social discomfort as I gazed at the wondrous architecture of Amsterdam. The restaurant’s interior was nearly as picturesque, every inch of which had been tastefully decorated with beautiful and ornate oriental woodcarvings and gold pillars. Carved dragons, Buddah’s, and eagles kept us company as we ate, celebrating the beginning of our tour.

We walked to a small internet café and I sent a note home to my wife and daughter trying not to breathe too deeply the exhaled cannabis smoke that permeated the air. I was told that my computer use required me to buy a drink, so I had a cognac as I wrote. A guy at the bar, drunk and high, commented on my “outfit” ( I was wearing my white duster and canvas hat) and carefully scrutinized everything I did. The bartender, a large black man, just laughed at my naivete of the local scene.

Breakfast in the hotel was complimentary and each morning after exercise and having a protein shake, I would have a little cereal fruit and yogurt, usually sitting with one of the band members. We were given a little bad news, one of the two nights at the Garage, a small club in London, had to be cancelled. This was apparently due to a labor union dispute for workers on the Underground, the subway system upon which London populace is so dependent.

Tom picked us up for the second and final rehearsal, which went well. After packing up, we were then met by a photographer – Arjen Veldt, a friend of Gary’s – who had agreed to photograph us at a couple of nearby sites. He rode up on a bicycle as we finished packing the gear and led us to a nearby spot under the concrete railway trestles where some cast iron sculptures of tree trunks had been placed. We spent an hour as he posed us in various odd angular poses.

He then took us to a nearby church and graveyard, which, although looking pretty, was not, in the band’s opinion, an appropriate place for photographs. We spent but a short time there and left, then back to the hotel and a night of Indian Food. After dinner, Michael, Denny and I took a walk to see the “red light district.” This is something MT had suggested to me as a “cultural experience.” We took the tram and some young girls of mixed Indian descent got on at the same stop. They were laughing and very amused and started doing hand-clapping and foot rhythms with each other. I couldn’t resist and joined in and we all laughingly had a mock contest in which they would do a beat and then I would attempt to copy it. Most of the time, I was inept at learning, as they were quick and practiced. However, I did manage to get a couple of looks of approval as I mastered a few of the basic moves, but also managed to get several laughs as I lost my balance at each sudden tram stop and start. It was great fun.

We left the tram and walked toward the red-light district, crossing over a bridge near the train station. I stopped to catch a picture of Denny and Michael and a stranger – an American male accompanied by an Asian female – offered to photograph the three of us standing together. He asked us directions, as they were also going to visit the red-light district, so Michael told them just to follow us. During the ten-minute walk, bits of conversation were exchanged.

The district itself was, not surprisingly, sad. Many of the girls here, as I later found out, are from Eastern European countries and were offered “jobs” – probably via newspaper ads. They didn’t know the language and now found themselves trapped in a dead-end world, fearing their pimps and not knowing how to escape. This story was intensely reflected in their eyes.

The following day was the Paradiso concert. Some of our entourage visited the museums, others just stayed at the hotel. I chose to stay in and exercise. Also, I needed to go through lyrics and clean all my harmonicas. In the afternoon, it was time to set up. The Paradiso is a famous venue and has hosted several top names over the years. It was formerly a church that had been transformed into a concert hall. Like most of the venues, it was dark and smelled of beer. The crew seemed very cooperative and accommodating.

The dressing room was small but comfortable. The catering was bare, but there was plenty of water and beer. As long as I have water for onstage I’m OK and don’t care to eat much before playing. Our agent, Dan Silver arrived, and brought Tee-Shirts and CDs to sell at the venue.

The night went well with few technical problems. Although not a full house, attendance was ample and the audience reaction was far better than I had anticipated. After the show, several people came into the dressing room to get CDs and Tee shirts and whatever else they brought with them signed. Packing up was a little slow, but we managed to get everything together and left feeling that we’d accomplished our task.

I was surprised at how cold it was in Amsterdam in June and found myself shivering on the drive back to the hotel – probably from the wet clothes. I had been drenched onstage and had changed my shirt, but my pants were still damp and I felt a chill.

Bed was a welcome relief and I fell into a deep sleep. Our plane flight allowed us a fairly manageable morning with no great amount of problems nor early rising.

We flew from Amsterdam to Gatwick, where we were picked up by Gozzie, whom I rang on the mobile phone we had rented. We soon found ourselves packed into the van and on our way to Brighton.

Met by a cloudy sky, record winds, and huge waves crashing the shore, Brighton seemed less than accommodating. However, there was a certain beauty in seeing the ocean manifesting itself so strongly. Our driver, Gozzy, struggled to close the van door against the prevailing wind after we unloaded luggage at the Metropole Hilton Hotel. I later was informed that the winds and waves were the most severe recorded in years. The remains of an old pier which had previously burned in a fire years before, were basically destroyed during this storm.

The hotel, of course, was a far cry from the tiny cupboard I had been assigned to live in for four days. The bathroom here was as large as my entire room in Amsterdam.

The Venue, a spot called “Concorde 2” was a small dark room, as most of the clubs we played on this tour would be. Located on the oceanfront, it was a far cry from the Royal Festive Hall we had played months before in January. Yet we were to find that these clubs offer the kind of intimate atmosphere that inspires some of the best performances we have done. The employees were very accommodating, helping us to load in our gear, providing good catering and an adequately sized dressing room area.

Setup is always difficult on a small stage because of the chaos that results from everyone attempting to set up at once. Drum cases and accessories have to be laid out on stage and take up a large amount of room, trying the patience of all concerned. We did well dealing with this each night, however. It seemed an unspoken rule that tolerance over and above the call of duty was necessary if we were to have a successful tour.

I would actually rate Brighton as “the best” although other band members may disagree. The show went exceedingly well and it seemed as though everything that we had attempted to achieve onstage “clicked” together slightly more so on this particular night than any other. The audience response here was overwhelming and much better than I had hoped or dreamed it to be. My only regret is that I had over-taxed my voice in Amsterdam rehearsals and was a bit hoarse.

After the show, Ian MacArthur and friend Jake ( from the Alabama Three ) came up to the dressing room for a visit and a beer. We talked for a good twenty minutes. Then, it was down to the equipment load out, which we did ourselves. Since this was an “economy” tour, we had a small van and therefore limited space. So there wasn’t room to hire a roadie to help move equipment about. This was a tedious task which no one embraced, but we all did our share and loaded up guitars, amps, drums and accessories for the trip to the next venue the following day.

Ian and Jake had ridden with a third party, a friend who had actually left them stranded in Brighton, and so they came on to the hotel and spent the night. We had drinks in the lobby that evening, and they parting the next morning.

June 24th

We departed after a quick breakfast for a long drive to Manchester. The drive was basically uneventful, and we all tried to get as much napping in as possible in the crowded environment of the Van. It was quite uncomfortable to sit for so many hours – even with a 45-minute lunch break at a rest stop. We arrived in Manchester and our schedule was such that we didn’t get a hotel room here. We went directly to the Bridgewater Hall, and were nearly an hour late at that. I called on the mobile and let them know our ETA to set their then-panicked minds at ease.

Bridgewater Hall was the exact antithesis of “Concorde 2” and “Paradiso.” It is, for anyone not familiar, a beautifully designed concert hall which can seat up to 2400. As I recall, it had four tiers of balconies and could be quite intimidating. This type of concert requires a different type of performance. It’s not intimate, and therefore demands that you “play the house” with larger-than-life gestures in order to make up for the large space you’re attempting to fill. I was told later that the crew were volunteers who live in the community. I wish I had got their names, because they were very helpful and pleasant to work with.

There was also an interview scheduled for me at 7:00, so we had to set up, sound check, and then I was immediately approached by a photographer while in my “work” clothes, who insisted on taking photos of me which could be easily entitled “portrait of the older artist as a slob.” I conducted the interview as I ate the only meal I would get that night – salad, a sandwich, and a couple pieces of fruit, while sitting in a large-mirrored dressing room with windows running the entire length of one wall.

The performance we gave that night felt fine, but it is more of a “technical” performance in a hall this big. You can’t really get up-close and personal, nor can you read the expressions on the faces of most of the audience. I was a little concerned that we were disappointing some of the audience as people kept getting up and leaving. I later found out they were checking on “the game” – football. We had run into this same obsession during our stay in Amsterdam. Some said our concert was ill-timed because it coincided with the games, and there would have been a much bigger turnout during the Fall.

Not knowing if we had connected with the audience, we played our last piece and at the end, the audience – about 800 strong – all rose immediately to their feet in spontaneous ovation. I had never seen an audience do this and was quite emotionally touched that we had moved them so strongly. We said “good night” only to find out from a backstage hand that we had fifteen minutes more to play. So, in encore, we played Booglerize, which hadn’t been rehearsed and so became an “extended version” and then ended with “Orange Claw Hammer.” The band went offstage and I sang to the audience. In the last few lines of the song, I found myself fighting back tears. The emotional impact of having such a beautifully-designed room, a wonderful audience, and the health to perform for them nearly overcame me. The last few lines were slightly off-key, but definitely sincerely sang.

Our itinerary had it planned that we would travel immediately after the show to Bristol, where we would stay for four nights. So, again we entered the van in which we had already spent 5 hours, to drive yet another two hours to the Ramada Grange just outside of Bristol. Our last few minutes of the drive consisted in driving up a narrow winding road. I kept thinking “our driver is lost.” However, suddenly we were there. It was about 3 in the morning and everyone applauded Gozzie for a good trip and partially out of relief that we no longer had to be in this crowded van.

The rooms were nice, but there was a mixup with Denny’s room, as his wife, Janet had gone ahead by car and he was to meet her there. When he opened the door, he heard a man’s voice and discovered that he had been given the wrong key. Eventually, this was straightened out, but not without some amusement and a slightly shocked hotel resident.

June 25th

I had breakfast late the next morning and met everyone in the hotel lobby for the trip to Glastonbury Festival grounds. Shortly after 11:00 we departed. I was extremely energetic and felt very optimistic about the day’s performance. We were scheduled on at 4:00 and it was about a two hour drive, allowing us to arrive at the gates at 1:00 with an hour allowed for maneuvering to the stage site (which was definitely needed in this crowd.) On arrival, security inspected the van and confiscated some beer Mark had taken from Brigewater Hall catering. It was in a box in the back and bottled in glass bottles. No glass was allowed on the grounds for safety reasons. I later noticed that many people were barefoot, as it was beautiful, in fact, GORGEOUS weather.

Everything at the Festival was very efficient. We were immediately assigned a temporary dressing tent, passes were distributed to all of us, and meal vouchers presented so that we could have something to eat. The equipment was eventually loaded up onto the back half of the stage, where a large curtain separated backstage from the performers and audience. We then were allowed to do a partial setup on rolling platforms, which would then be moved to the front by the crew. The crew was fresh and efficient and did a wonderful job of getting all the technicalities of setup as comfortable as possible. This entails a great deal of sensitivity and understanding – especially concerning my stage setup. I use an in-ear monitor (a wireless unit made by Shure) and have my own mixer onstage, which calls for special “sends” (cables from the stage monitor mixer) that supply a stereo mix of the band, a vocal line and a harmonica line.

This was all done satisfactorily. The only technical problem seemed to be with Mark’s bass amplifier, so he chose not to play the bass solo “Hair Pie” that afternoon.

The previous band had been a kind of latin-jazz group ( we were assigned to the Jazz World Stage) and the audience dispersed as they ended their set, so almost no one was out front. As we sat up, I could see that a small group had assembled at stage front and were calling out the names of familiar compositions. It was possibly 75 to 100 people. We began to play, and within three songs, the whole area had filled in at an estimated eight to ten thousand strong. There was a great audience reaction, but the people in the front kept saying “turn up the vocals, we can’t hear you.” Unfortunately, the PA is designed to throw sound out and the speakers focus back from the stage about 20 to 30 meters. Those in front couldn’t hear not because the vocals weren’t turned up, but because they were forward of the range of the speakers. Unfortunately, those in the rear heard the vocals as being too loud.

The set went well and was encouraged to continue with thunderous applause. We announced that “in respect for the band following” we had to go as it wouldn’t be fair to the scheduling of other groups. This was met with some “booing” and general manifestations of frustration. I would call this a very successful appearance. I felt absolutely great, totally energetic, and played and sang as well as I ever have that afternoon, and I wouldn’t change a thing other than that the bass amp work better. It was a great experience.

After striking the stage and loading up the van, I felt we had really accomplished a great feat – especially in lieu of our demanding schedule. The question was: could we keep this up for two more weeks? As we drove out of Glastonbury, I passed out cards advertising our soon-to-be released concert DVD to about 100 to 150 people who were walking along the side of the road. It was wonderful to get back to the hotel and relax that evening. I had a great dinner and felt extremely gratified.

June 26 th was a day off. I woke up early and looked at this wonderful place we were staying in. It was on a huge grassy field and was surrounded by trees and farmhouses. For me, this was bliss. I went out and jogged around a giant field – about a mile to a mile and a half, celebrating life and feeling great. Denny and Gary were out sitting on a bench when I came back and I snapped a shot of them.

The day was mostly designed for rest, and rest I did. Each day, I had a ritual of getting up, turning on the teapot, and breathing steam. After this, I would carefully warm up my voice for the first of three times I would during the day. This would be followed by exercise and a protein shake.

Later, I went to the public library and accessed the internet to write my family a quick note and let them know how Glastonbury was. Later in the evening, I took a long luxurious bath with candles and had a wonderful dinner in the hotel restaurant.

June 27th, Bristol Academy

We didn’t actually leave the hotel until afternoon, so the morning and early day were devoted to exercise and voice warmups combined with a heavy breakfast and light lunch. The Bristol Academy was a wide, split level venue with a balcony. Like many of the smaller venues, the stage equipment was house equipment and so this night would be a bit more like Brighton. We found out later that it rained almost the whole time we were setting up, and stopped when we came out. We went back to the hotel to have dinner and dress for the show.

Returning, we found an ample crowd if not a full house. I was told again later that this tour was ill-timed because of the combination of events (Glastonbury and football games to name two ) that we were competing with. The audience, again, was great and full of enthusiasm. We came back for an encore. Although we had minor technical difficulties, the overall show was great and I doubt the audience even noticed our handicap. Again, ovewhelming response.

June 28th

We departed about 11:00 am and headed for London and that night’s show at the Garage. Arriving in London in the early afternoon, Michael Traylor and I had to sit in the hotel lobby for an hour before our rooms were ready. This made everything a little more difficult. The room, once I was checked in, turned out to be on the fourth floor and I had to drag extremely heavy luggage up that final set of stairs as the elevator only went to the 3rd floor.

The traffic in London during rush hour is not an easy thing to cope with. Our driver wove his way through the tightly-packed streets to the Garage. It took about an hour, though it was a relatively short distance.

Arriving, we were met by Aleister, an employee of Matt Snowball where we had rented our equipment. He was very helpful in getting all the equipment checked out and all exchanges made. The bass amp that had plagued Mark at Glastonbury was replaced with a similar but better-sounding unit. My in-ear monitor, which had been cutting out, was replaced with one which operated perfectly for the rest of the tour.

The garage is a small, narrow venue with an extremely tight stage space. We sat up as best we could and performed the sound check. The stage monitor operator and Mark Simms, our sound man, conferred, and my setup was quickly accommodated. I anticipated that this would be a very warm stage, no air circulation seemed present. We were expecting a full house as I mentioned before, one night had to be cancelled due to the Underground strike.

I went out with a few of the guys and guest Ian McArthur for a bit to eat, the dressing room being small and extremely crowded. We had a hard time being let back in at showtime and I had to go through the front of the house past all the security. To make matters worse, I had left my backstage pass in my other clothes which were in the dressing room. Ian and I laughed about the comedic twist when we discovered that the back door wasn’t allowed open after the show started because the neighbors would complain.

I finally made it through the crowd and got dressed in the dressing room. I had decided to wear just a white tank-top because of the heat. The stage was, as anticipated, like an oven. My biggest problem was sweat pouring into my eyes and blinding me, so I tied my neck scarf around my head and soaked it with drinking water. The show went fine and the equipment worked well. We played to the crowd and they again, gave us an overwhelming response. I am beginning to sound like a broken record, but I sincerely can’t remember one show that wasn’t well-received.

Afterwards, I went out on the floor and signed CDs, t-shirts, jeans, and even people’s arms and legs. I had one guy come up and command “Sign this! It cost me 10 quid!!” after handing me his CD.

The next two days were free and so I scheduled a visit with Ian MacArthur, who I had met at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire and also later at the Royal Festival Hall. Ian met me about noon at the hotel and we walked and walked and walked. First, we stopped at a Spanish café that had outside seating. It was a beautiful day and we had a selection of foods prepared on small plates.

Ian then led me on an extensive tour of Hampstead Heath, pointing out a few homes of celebrities along the way. Boy George and Peter O’Toole come to mind. We ended the tour with a beautiful view of London from a hilltop. Walking back to the hotel, we procured a taxi to the Victoria/ Albert Museum to meet with Elaine Shepherd (producer of our soon-to-be-released DVD of the Shepherd’s Bush concert). We had a bite to eat, and were joined by Elaine’s friend, Tanya.

After a light dinner, I left for the hotel, saying goodnight to the group and overwhelmed, as usual, by the beautiful art I had taken in.

Our drive to Liverpool was uneventful and long. A little rain now and then and a stop to stretch our legs and get some lunch were welcome breaks in the drive. The hotel staff rep in Liverpool was confused, saying that our rooms were not “secured” and so after an hour of standing in the lobby, and a curt reprimand by the school-marm like lady-in-charge behind the desk for referring to one of the staff as “she” rather than by her name – Sally – we finally received our room keys.

The club was narrow, deep and dark, with a narrow and deep stage to match. It was a little confusing to navigate the labyrinth of stairs, basements, and doors to find our way to the dressing room and back to the stage area. I managed to strike the top of my head on a stone doorway that could only have been built for munchkins. This happened twice, as I so enjoyed the first experience.

I took a picture of Denny with all his gear and after a successful soundcheck, we returned to our hotel. After dinner, I exercised in my room and listened to a Howlin’Wolf CD. I also managed to lose track of time and after hearing the anxious voice of Gozzie on the mobile, realized my mistake. I instructed Gozzie to take the band over and come back for me. Oops. The CD was quite good, I might add.

I walked in late and was met with a nice rousing cheer from the audience. Liverpool is a place I always associate with rowdy and aggressive crowds. Probably because of having a stage in Liverpool stormed in 1975 after Don Van Vliet said something antagonistic over the mic and our show was cut short. I mentioned this to the crowd, but they seemed fine with us, except for one rude and mouthy fellow who kept yelling something like “Who’s the fat guy?”

After the show and a quick change, we came back up to be met by several people waiting patiently with various memorabilia to be signed. I really enjoyed these intimate times with fans as this is the true payoff for any artist – to actually meet the people his/her work has touched.

Arriving back at the hotel, we discovered a graduation party for what I would refer to here as “high school” students – aged 18. A girl sitting out on the steps and consoling a crying friend asked me if I was a musician. I said, “yes” and turned to walk in the lobby only to notice she was following me. She grabbed my arm as we went through the doors and said, “I need to speak with you.” I could see at this point that alcohol had somewhat clouded her judgement, but couldn’t fathom what she could possibly want with me. She guided me to the desk and I curious to see what was on her mind, cooperated. She then asked for a pen and paper and quickly jotted down all her personal info – name, address, phone, email address – and handed it to me. She then explained that she wished me to pass this on to my agent as she was a singer and dancer. Having then secured her future success in the entertainment industry, she bade me farewell and staggered out to once again console her friend, whose estranged boyfriend had apparently showed up with a new girlfriend.

The following morning’s departure was delayed slightly by a stop at the famous Cavern Club where the Beatles had played. Denny and Michael requested a stop and I went with them, curious to see this place, which I understand is not even the original site, but a believable re-creation. I bought Tee-Shirts for my wife and her sisters, former Beatle fans in their adolescence, and took a few photos to show them upon returning.

© John French 2004

1 Comment

  1. So good to see the Band recently at the Concorde 2 again. Could not believe that it was 9 years since the last time !!? where did that go…? All the guys on top form, John was great,as were Mark and Eric, Denny looked really well having shed a ‘few’ pounds, got to talk to them in the interval, absolutely great night, look forward to the next one !?…

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