Right in the middle of the Ruhr industrial region of Germany lies Oberhausen, a working class heartland, one of a line of cities making use of the Rhine, Ruhr and Lippe rivers. Nicknamed Germany’s Detroit, Oberhausen is at the tail end of decades of decline and is now known for Europe’s largest shopping centre and the most prestigious avant-garde film festival known simply as the ‘International Short Film Festival Oberhausen’.

Unusually, the gym session felt really good, maybe a corner has been turned. God knows what we’d do without hotel gyms on the road. They are life savers. We left the Vienna Park Hyatt, one of THE best hotels, and headed for the airport one last time. Our beloved White Asparagus was nowhere to be seen. It seemed a fault had prevented her from operating and she was unceremoniously replaced, crew and all. We were greeted by the lovely Mina who proceeded to serve up coffees etc. whilst we waited for our slot clearance. This is a similar plane, another Challenger with a slightly different internal configuration. A jet is a jet, right? Well maybe. I did read about the new Gulfstream G6000 now in production this morning but that’s in the realms of jet-porn. We were soon airborne and dodging the many thunderstorms that were forming fast in the area. 

Having landed at Dusseldorf’s busy airfield, Goran’s team conquered the heavy traffic, there was much weaving and exploitation of clever convoy driving, and got us to the venue in time for all the usual procedures…soup, sound-check, dinner and show. On the menu tonight was Tournedos Rossini, a French steak dish, named after 19th century composer Gioachino Rossini. Basically, Fillet steak with Fois Gras and a Madeira sauce. Ridiculous, and in my book, unmissable. It was eye rollingly sublime. Dave in catering pushed the boat out on this one. (Top Tip – Dave uses Egg Yolks in the Mashed Potato)

Relaxing in the dressing rooms before the show, Paul came in and reminded me that Christoph Kemper was here. As many of you know, we have no guitar amplifiers on or off stage. We are using Kemper profiling Amps. Mark’s Guitar tech, Glenn Saggers, Mark and I spent many months profiling Mark’s amps and cabinets at British Grove (mostly Glenn) to great effect. We are really enjoying what these things can do and we are always tweaking and improving. I took Christoph up to stage left and we chatted about the Amps with Tim Myer, Richard’s tech. It was soon time for the show and with a slow walk-in, we delayed until 8:15. All good though, another fab show in what I thought was a tricky venue for sound. I assume Dave at FOH conquered it and the reports coming back this morning are all good. Some of us had a few minor in-ear issues, nothing major. Then it was time for a 35 minute drive back into Dusseldorf and a quick late Monday evening session at our favourite Altbier bar, the Uerige, Obergärige Hausbraurie. I’m sure you all know that Altbier (German: old beer) is a style of beer brewed in the historical region of Westphalia and around the city of Düsseldorf, Germany. Its name comes from it being top-fermented, an older method than the bottom fermentation of other lagered beers. Delicious!