New Forest
Bournemouth is probably the closest venue to home for me and although the lure of the Lime wood Spa hotel was strong, after being away for four weeks, I headed home to the family for the day off. At this time of year, going home is always a bit of a shock as inklings of Summer are here and everything is suddenly very green. My lawn is almost knee-deep. It’s lovely to be home though.
Show day and a one hour drive with Laurie along the South Coast and I’m back in the luxury of a hotel with possibly the nicest spa facility of the tour so far. The New Forest is a remarkable area of Southern England that includes one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in the heavily-populated south east of England. It covers south-west Hampshire and extends into south-east Wiltshire and towards east Dorset. The air here is pure and as soon as you step from the car, all your senses are telling you that it’s time to relax. Relax we did. The gym facility is excellent and the pools are perfect including a vast Jacuzzi and steam room both with huge windows looking out into the forest. Something I’ve not seen before. The windows, not the forest.
Mid-afternoon and we loaded up the Rangers for our short drive into Bournemouth. We arrived at the BIC with plenty of time to spare and found the back-line crew still in the midst of their set-up. The BIC has a narrow stage so there were various alterations which needed to be implemented, one of which was the fact that Kerry and his monitor desk needed to be site off-stage right. This meant I would have less than the normal little eye contact with him for the show. No worries though as on the rare occasions I need Kerry’s attention, Jules is always on hand to relay any messages. Ironically, during the show I DID need to alter a few things as I was losing the drums.
After a curtailed sound-check we headed for the shrine of culinary bliss, catering. Tonight’s menu was as follows. Langoustine, pea and Sea bream risotto – Jamaican patties with mango chutney – breaded Pork chop with pomodoro spaghetti – another delectable dish which escapes me.
It’s getting harder to resist and the short amount of time between dinner and show-time is only just enough for the digestive system to recover. We tread a fine line but the energy levels are always there and I’m convinced that the nutritious meals contribute greatly to our on-stage concentration levels. Something we’re very aware of these days. I’m sure it’s the same for all touring musicians but we always come off after a show, famished. Adrenaline and concentration.
The audience tonight were pretty incredible I must say, I always expect a subdued atmosphere in sleepy Bournemouth and admittedly, the audience does seem on average a little older but tonight was exceptional. By the end they were stamping their feet and begging for more. Having read through quite a few posts and emails about the show, I guess we managed to hit the spot once again.
After-show we ‘ran’ back to the Luxurious Lime Wood and convened in the bar for a delicious Night cap.