World’s loudest tambourine…

Senility can rear its unwelcome head at the most inopportune moments when you get to my age and last night when I walked into my hotel room at 2am I neglected to put the spare keycard in the light slot to keep the lights on. This hotel had what I’d call a short fuse, I walked straight to the bathroom and the lights went out. Usually you’d be able to find some small shaft of light to guide you back to the entrance but no, this was complete and utter darkness and of course as I’d only just walked in I hadn’t had time to survey the area to establish the lay of the land so to speak. What made matters worse was that this wasn’t a normal ‘square box’ type room, there were many angles and I had no idea where I was. I slowly reversed out of the bathroom and with arms up to prevent bumping my head, I proceeded to fumble around the mirrored walls. I found the entrance hall but the door didn’t seem to be there, I felt what I thought was the door but no handle! It was like being in a blindfold challenge on the ‘Crystal Maze’, I could almost hear Richard O’Brien’s voice saying “he’s not doing very well is he?”. Then I remembered I had a lighter in my bag (essential touring kit item no. 27 for emergencies) the trouble was, where did I put my bag? Back into the main room I fumbled, this time on hands and knees. It took me about 5 minutes to find it and rescue myself from further embarrassment. Lesson learned, probably.

The third largest city in Germany, the capital of Bavaria and a place we rarely get to spend any time in and this trip is no exception. In fact I never even left my room, probably afraid of being locked out or something, there’s little time for sightseeing  once we’ve surfaced, breakfasted, diaried etc. Time to get on the bus again.

Winding our way through the Munich traffic on what is a very gloomy Autumn afternoon, we have a traditional mid-afternoon cuppa, usually made by grand tea-master Richard Bennett. Yes, Richard is American but he understands the way of the teabag. In fact he forwarded me this link to a George Orwell  newspaper article from 1946 which tea drinkers worldwide should observe carefully.

Once we arrived at the Olympiahalle, we dropped bags off in the dressing room which was once again right next door to Bob’s band’s. Donny was wandering the corridors with another banjo and of course we chatted. Charlie, Stu, George and Tony were all there too. I have to say at this point what a great bunch of guys they are and they’re serious muso’s as well. Have I said that before? Well they are. Our set-list today had a potential Donegan’s Gone on it so we needed to run that at soundcheck. Since I play tambourine in the bulk of the song, I had to source something since we neglected to pack one. I asked George Recile (Bob’s drummer) if he had any spares…”no problem” he was helpful in the extreme and he and his roadie rummaged through a flight case and came up with a couple, one of which was perfect. Thanks George. Playing a tambourine on stage is an interesting experience. I play it into my vocal mic but I’m always at least 2 feet away, because a tambourine’s frequencies cut like a knife and even with my in-ears in I can hear it reverberating around the arena seemingly louder than every instrument on the stage. I swear you could hear it in Mannheim.

Just before we sound-checked, in the area behind the stage, Bob walked up to Mark for another chat. It’s clear he is really enjoying having Mark come up on stage and this evening it was three songs. Anyone at the shows close enough to see Bob’s face will agree he’s enjoying himself immensely.

We had a great show, an incredible capacity audience, 14,000 I understand, with standing ovations throughout and a mighty roar at the end of the show the likes of which we haven’t heard so far. Mark joined Bob again for his set and a few of us went out front into the audience to soak up the atmosphere. We were soon all aboard the bus once again for a five hour night drive to Leipzig. Richard hopped onto the other bus for a change of scenery and I’m sure Mike’s DJ’ing was great but Jim pulled track after amazing/weird track out of the bag tonight and by the time my head hit the pillow, it was full of the wildest melodies and musical extravaganzas ever recorded.