The Shard and Gherkin.

“Just off for a pint down the old Shard and Gherkin” ….it sounds like yer typical London pub doesn’t it. We view the London skyline looking West from Tower Bridge as we make our way from rehearsals back to the hotel in the bustling city of London. With pre-tour preparations now pretty much drawn to a close, the rehearsal room has undergone a small transformation. With the addition of a few lights, a high tech crowd control barrier and some cunningly positioned black drapes we have ourselves a venue… for a couple of unique pre-show-shows for competition winners from around Europe. The anticipation in the makeshift dressing room was what it would have been for any ‘normal’ first show of the tour. This was far from normal though as rather conveniently and much appreciated by our intrepid crew, there was no load-in, load-out or travel involved…bring the audience to us!

Show 1 – The first show in what used to be the Peek Frean biscuit factory (now Music Bank) situated in the Tower Bridge Business Complex went without a hitch and the 100 or so smiling fans seemed excited. I must congratulate our ‘noise-boys’ (aka sound crew) as this room is traditionally a real bugger in terms of acoustics. As you will have noticed from previous diary photographs, the room has a high ceiling and very reflective walls and windows plus it’s at the very top of a huge building so all in all it’s not that pleasant. In the past we’ve used this fact to our advantage because when we leave here and arrive at the first venue, everything sounds so much nicer. So in some ways we’ve shot ourselves in the foot because last night sounded quite amazing. As Glenn Worf and I were saying at breakfast this morning, we never thought that room could sound so good.

Show 2 – Our last day in London and with this extended rehearsal stint over, we now look forward with great relish to our arrival in the U.S.A. Firstly, a few days to look forward to at home for the band and crew while the gear gets shipped out and we all reconvene at a secret location for a run-through with the full production with Bob’s band. A slightly different set-list for the second of the secret shows revealed a different dynamic. We’ll see how this evolves as we go through the next few weeks.

Having a laugh in the backstage room/kitchen just before showtime…

Pete Mackay, our ever- reliant and intrepid tour manager was out in the audience again taking photos, in blatant defiance of the photography ban. (well, I need pics don’t I?)

And so we say farewell (not a moment too soon ) to Bermondsey and the London Bridge Station views and set sail for North America once more.

Pre-Shard (2010)..

Post-Shard (2012)..