After a fabulous and well timed mid-tour break, it is time to regroup and get back down to business on the road. The weather in the UK and indeed the whole of Europe has been pretty wonderful, and hot. The British contingent met up at the usual North-West London location of a very warm afternoon and as we boarded our Magic Carpet ride we were heading towards a whole new level of heat in the mid-continent. As we landed at Geibelstadt airfield near Wurzburg, the temperature on the ground was a sizzling 39 degrees Celsius (100.4 F). After a one hour drive to the tiny Spa town of Bad Kissingen there was no respite and we were welcomed onto the show site by a sweaty crew who had spent the previous night in a small local hotel which had no air conditioning. Character-building stuff! Some of them decided it was preferable to sleep on the bus to stay cool. Our US band members flew in to Frankfurt and stayed cool in the Villa Kennedy.

Of course in Germany, the word ‘Bad’ translates literally to ‘Bathroom’. This area in Lower Franconia is dotted with towns which have been bestowed with the ‘Bad’ prefix. The ‘spa’ status in Bad Kissingen harks back to the 16th century when noblemen and women of the time would visit to bathe in its medicinal springs. On a day like today, a dip in the spring water would have been the thing to do.

A hot montage…Boars drink, Statues Swelter, Umbrellas await, Laurence chills, Crocks unamused and a hot backstage area.

Arriving at the backstage area in the park, the catering tents beckoned and a ritualistic bowl of soup was consumed whilst beads of sweat dropped from brow to bowl. The temperature in the shade was still in the high 30’s but there was a glimmer of a hint of a breeze to cool everyone down a little. Dave, Chris and Steve had returned from a manic few days on the Taylor Swift UK tour catering for 150 crew on a 35-truck production. On the second show, one of the trucks failed to show up for load in, our intrepid caterers found they had to provide breakfast for 150 hungry crew with NO catering truck which should have been there at 6am. It was a mad dash to Tesco’s to buy kettles and provisions and McDonalds to the rescue. Somehow they managed it, a testament to their combined experience and resourcefulness. I asked Dave if it was good to be back, silly question really.

Jim chills in the backstage area..

The four-piece during Sultans…

Sound check was a slow affair and the stage sounded great. We headed back to catering where a little al-fresco dining in the shade with some delicious Salmon fillets on a Noodle-Soba broth, sublime. A relatively early show time meant that it was still sweltering when we took to the stage. A large, ominous storm cloud seemed to be approaching from the North-West but thankfully failed to gather momentum and faded away as slowly as it appeared. The gig stayed dry and the incredible audience were rewarded with a perfect evening’s weather. We were rewarded with one of the nicest receptions any band could imagine, a truly magical evening to kick off this hot Summer leg of the tour. We were soon in the cars, speeding our way the 212 kilometres to Stuttgart and our overnight stay. By the time we arrived, there was no inclination for any late night drinks, soothing air conditioned bedrooms beckoned.