Abhorrent Bouquet…

Day Off – Despite the stark contrast in hotel rooms between Milan and Florence, my lack of sleep on the bus last night meant I felt compelled to stay indoors ALL day in my rather smelly broom cupboard at the Park Hyatt. The smell was reminiscent of those non-smoke incense sticks a lot of hotels use nowadays but stronger. Probably to hide some other unpleasant residue from a previous in-room catastrophe. Like many in the touring party, I actually ended up going to sleep at about 9am and woke at 3pm. The first time I’ve done that all tour. Still almost gagging from the smell of the room, I considered changing but was quite frankly too tired to pack everything up again and switch, besides, there was every possibility that ALL the rooms suffered in some way. I concluded that Italians are used to wearing lots of perfume and after shave and maybe don’t notice it so much Discuss. I had a suspicion there was a Grand Prix on so I switched the telly on just as they were on the grid ready for the off. It was an Italian station so I hooked up the NHT’s and tuned the computer in to Radio 5 live and listened to the British commentary albeit with a 2 second delay. It made the in-car shots strangely compelling as the engine note continued after the cars braked on the screen giving the impression of overshooting the bend and raising the heart rate. Weird. There was a band dinner tentatively planned and we all met in the bar downstairs for the traditional cocktails before we wandered round the corner to a small family restaurant and feasted on a six-course meal. I was too tired to recall the name of it or indeed what I ate and couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel and into my bed, regardless of the abhorrent bouquet.

Show Day – Sleep was obviously much needed as I slept through until 10:30 this morning. I generally dedicate a couple of hours of any stay in Milan to seeking out a good delicatessen or supermarket and maybe buy a little cheese or olive oil and that was my mission before we left for the venue today. The hotel is situated only two blocks from an amazing deli that Danny and I visited last time here called Peck. The hotel concierge said that it was closed but would re-open at 2:30pm. I was skeptical of this information and wondered if it was an Italian 2:30? I met with Pete and we wandered off to a couple of alternative higher end supermarkets, the first of which was extremely up-market. we decided to move on to a place called Biffi (I think). We bought a few bits and I decided to head back out at 3pm to drop in to Peck. I did so and arrived at 3:15 to discover I was right to be disbelieving of the concierge. I really think a lot of these concierges just make shit up to look good, well they don’t look that good to me right now. Back in the room with bags packed with cheese, I couldn’t wait to check out of this smell-hole and get to the gig. We were soon there at the venue with the dubious distinction of being the place where our dressing room security was compromised on our last visit, resulting in the loss of one computer. Mark’s. Clearly, that wasn’t about to happen again and security was taken very seriously.

As we pulled up at the venue, the fog rolled in and indeed, there was a slight delay in starting the show to allow for late arrivals due to motorway tailbacks. Once we got on stage, all was forgotten and we steamed through an incredible gig. The crowd were simply fantastic and we had one of the best shows of the tour. A great way to finish up in Italy. With Mark standing in with Bob once more for a few tunes, we were waiting on the buses for him to finish and set off for Geneva through the pea-soup. Carl was confident that we’d be out of the fog soon as the area around the venue is apparently notorious for that. He was right and as soon as we started to climb towards the Alps, the night sky opened up and we cruised on to Switzerland. 4 hours later we pulled up at the hotel.

I heard reports of the subway system being closed after our show and a few thousand fans being stranded in the suburbs of Milan. Unbelievable! I hope everyone got home safely in the end.

Grazie a tutti in Italia per un’altra visita fantastico. Ci vediamo presto!

Pic John McCusker