The older one gets, the more value is attached to health and wellbeing…or at least with the whole tour ahead of us, it is at the moment. The room of pain, torture and humiliation awaited me this morning and pulling the new Brooks running shoes out of the shiny new Briggs and Riley Torq, I headed down bumping into a sweaty Richard Bennett coming out of the excruciation chamber. Then it was off to do some shopping with Peter and Glenn, first stop, a camera shop to look at a few bits and bobs but with shops these days not holding much in the way of stock there were no eye-watering purchases. To be honest, like a lot of men, it’s about the only time I ever go to the shops.

A brief walk through Manchester reveals a city which displays proudly its Victorian ancestry as well as embracing the new and modern. There is a real sense here of profitable, cultural growth. Only last week ‘Home’ was opened, a new centre for international contemporary art, theatre and film. Arguably Manchester’s answer to the Barbican and Southbank it is billed as a catalyst for the creation of a new cultural and commercial quarter.

The venue in Manchester is just around the corner from our hotel so we didn’t assemble in the lobby until 4:30pm for a 5pm soundcheck. As in the past, there were a few things to iron out in terms of sound after show no.1 but certainly this room looked like it was going to be a lot better than the sound coming back on stage last night in Dublin. All arenas have different sonic characteristics and often it’s difficult to tell what the actual show will be like as a room full of people can change drastically from an empty one. Only past experience can really say and these diaries have often been used to check back for any anomalies to be made aware of.

John and Richard check a couple of sounds with Dave Dixon after the band sound check…


As usual, tough decisions were to be made in catering with 3 mouth-watering main courses to be savoured. Like most of the band, I opted for the snapper on a bed of chilli and spring onion rice. Utterly delicious. I managed to escape before the Tiramisu’s (pudding porn) calls were heard and obeyed. I even refused the opportunity to take a photograph thus safely removing all temptation.

Feeling satisfied, even virtuous and ready for the show, it was back to the dressing room for the warm ups for an early show time of 7:30. We gathered behind the stage and the intro music rolled. House lights were called and we were up there once again, the tour feeling well underway now. Within moments we realised this was going to be a good one. The 7,000 strong crowd were on our side all the way and the ovation at the end of the show during our period of what we call ‘bad acting’ in between encores was heartwarming. After a quick drink in the dressing room, it was back to the hotel for what turned out to be an early night.