The Whistling Wind

…was the sound to which I woke this morning, no, it was ‘howling’ through the gaps in the window which won’t quite close properly in our popular, recently refurbished hotel in the heart of the city. In my half-sleep I was reminded of the many windsurfing trips I’ve made at this time of year to the West coast, one of the windiest areas in Europe, and most beautiful I might add. On an Autumn tour of Europe, something which this band hasn’t embarked on for many years (possibly not since the heady Straits days of 1992), one can expect some inclement weather and yesterday’s arrival on the airport tarmac coincided with a typical Irish squall. Being the self-confessed, boring band weather junkie, I spotted it coming as we taxi’d but it was too late….the short trip down the aircraft steps to the waiting van left us soaking wet to a man but only on the right hand side as the wind drove the rain in a traditional ‘welcome to Ireland’ horizontal manner. I sincerely cannot remember ever stepping off an aircraft in this country without being assaulted by the elements in some uncomfortable manner or other. Windswept and literally half-soaked we were driven directly to our waiting cars. The Americans amongst us were not far behind as they had to endure the usual customs and immigration pleasantries. On the drive, Mark and I were disappointed to note that the most wonderful piece of graffiti (greed is the knife and the scars run deep) on Dublin’s east wall Road has been painted over by a more commercial invitation to shop in this fair city.

Only two weeks ago, the band assembled for rehearsals in the usual location in east London. Every time this band gets together at the start of a tour, things come together quicker than ever and after a week of very relaxed rehearsal, it was pretty much all there. There are quite a few technical changes to my keyboard rig which I won’t bore you to tears with here (well not yet anyway, I’ll get you later) and I shalln’t make any mention in these diaries of the songs we intend to play but our curtailed set will I’m sure please all….not least us, the run-throughs have been great fun.

Now, as you have probably gathered by now, we are honoured ‘guests’ on this European tour. We will be kicking off the evenings entertainment most often at 7:30pm (check local times) we’ll play our set and after a 30 minute changeover (which I’m looking forward to seeing) Bob Dylan and his band will take to the stage. As of this point, that’s all we know, needless to say we are all looking forward to the shows immensely. In the run up to this tour, one of the things which caused potential anxiety is the logistics of our quite large set-up and just how it might be accommodated by Bob’s crew. These boys have of course been out on the road for a long time and reports coming back from our production and crew suggest that they couldn’t be more pleasant and accommodating. I’m not sure how much interaction we will have as we go but I’m looking forward to the whole thing.

Our crew boys were handed the stage at 6pm this evening and the plan was for us to arrive around then, have a spot of dinner in catering and to take to the stage at 8pm. This is exactly what happened and we sound-checked for an hour or so with the main emphasis on adjusting our in-ear mixes to accommodate the switch from extremely drum-heavy rehearsal room to actual venue. Everything came together nicely, the band sounded great and I guess, we’re ready to… err…..rock.