Magic Mist.

Every time I walk into the hotel gym, I find another band member in there and this morning it was Jim rounding off his uphill marathon of torture on a Life Fitness treadmill. Each and every one of us spends some time in the gym, maybe not as regularly as we did at one time but there is definitely an emphasis on fitness and self-preservation going on here. So different from the early and heady days of DS and Roxy Music when I’m not sure I ever even knew hotels had gyms. We all have our own routines and preferred machines or weights, I always start off on a Concept 2 rower, probably because I have one at home and it’s comfortable. Then I move to the treadmill and these days just do a long walk which includes some hills. Mark and Tim will often be in there running through their pilates session, Glenn and Richard too are often seen in pools of sweat, working up to the day ahead. Yesterday’s diary seemed to take an age to write, probably due to the distraction of my nan’s funeral…..a heartfelt thank you to all of you who sent condolences.

So to Berkeley, our final show in the Bay area and probably most anticipated. Our journey took us from the city across the amazing Bay Bridge and on towards Berkeley. No more than a ten to fifteen mile drive but traffic on a Friday afternoon here can be quite something. The journey took just under an hour.

The Greek theatre there holds many fond memories from past concert performances as it’s such a well run and comfortable venue in a spectacular location. The first thing I remember are the cool evening temperatures, even in July, which is when we usually play here, it can get quite chilly. An October show would, you would think be very cold but since the weather this past week in San Francisco has been unusually mild, the evening temperature forecast was quite reasonable. A balmy 15.5 degrees C. However I still decided I would deploy the technology of my Galvin Green ‘Skintight compression Multi-Layer Concept‘ golf thermals!! (no photo necessary) These things are seriously useful for outdoor shows and are clearly not just for golf. I knew they would come in handy on the road.

In such a photogenic location, I wandered around the venue with the camera as an eerie mist descended as it had been doing throughout the day during the crew’s load-in and setup. At one point you could see the city from the highest point at the back of the venue, very difficult to capture with a camera but here’s my attempt..

The backstage area at the William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre, otherwise known as the Greek is without doubt the coolest and most comfortable with comfy couches and hanging lanterns, outdoor heaters and fairy lights adorning the entire area behind the stage. Downstairs, below stage level are the dressing rooms and catering area. It’s cosy, functional and the staff are fabulous. Thanks to all at ‘Another Planet’ promoters, a great venue all round.

Of course the other thing that makes this place special is the auditorium itself, built in 1903 and financed by and named after newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, the design of the theater is based directly on the ancient Greek theater of Epidaurus. The amphitheater format works so well and is not only comfortable but acoustically pleasing. I’m sure the out-front sound was great, I know that the on-stage sound was terrific. Needless to say, we had another fabulous show, the low cloud kept rolling in and engulfing the auditorium, the fine cloud-mist clearly visible in the lights, added to the magic of the evening. We left the stage to rapturous, standing applause. Downstairs, the management boys had readied some after-show nosh, delicious Mexican tonight. Lucky men indeed! Pete took a few shots of us while we were on stage..

I love this one..

We hung around for a while and waited for Bob to go onstage and checked out a few of his tunes and enjoyed the backstage atmosphere before heading back into the city and across the Bay Bridge once more on which I shot this….