“I thought all Porsches had air conditioning” Mark quipped to the audience after a couple of songs in what can only be described as sweltering heat. The crowd fanned themselves as best they could in the Arena where the temperature on stage was around the 100 degree mark. We had a few fans of the air-moving variety on the stage but the audience didn’t have that luxury. UNFORTUNATELY, I had incorrectly advised Mark before the show that we were playing in the ‘Porsche Arena’, I should of course had said the ‘Hanns-Martin-Schleyerhalle’. The two halls are adjacent but the signage leads one to believe they are one and the same. I am pleased to report that the Porsche Arena DOES have air conditioning, just as do all modern Porsches.

Germany has seen record temperatures this week and Stuttgart has suffered along with just about everywhere else in the region. The stage was set for some quite serious storm activity later on and with one eye on my multiple weather/storm/lightning geek-apps, I found myself quietly relishing the prospect of an after-show flight.

The backstage area was actually air conditioned, the dressing room being the coolest room in the building although Dave, Chris and Steve still battled with typical heat in the kitchen areas. Sound check was a taste of things to come, an elongated session looking at a few things we’ve been meaning to look at since the break. Then it was dinner and another conundrum, juicy steaks, fresh garlic prawns or chicken curry. All of which were too good to be true. Since we were at the venue nice and early, we had plenty of time for laughs and jokes (no drinks and smokes!) in the dressing room pre-show.

Robbo, stage manager can’t believe the heat whilst the hot sunlight is perfect for drying the smalls…

Walking along the underground corridor to the steps up to the arena, the temperature differential was clear. A sweat broke out as soon as you walked into the hall, the view into the audience, all fanning their faces with whatever was to hand was reminiscent of 10,000 moths about to simultaneously take flight. As house lights went out, slowly, we took to the stage and soon realised this crowd wasn’t the slightest bit perturbed by the heat. In fact, it was quite the opposite as they seemed to relish every musical event particularly towards the end of the evening. I know I say it a lot but….what a crowd.

Off stage and into the cars for the drive to Stuttgart airport, we were greeted at the plane by our pilot who as I anticipated, was keen to explain that the flight might be quite a bumpy ride. Music to my ears. Not that I’m particularly fond of being thrown around an aircraft cabin, I love the spectacle of a good storm cluster and tonight’s was proving to be quite intense. Unbeknownst to us, an hour prior, our destination airport was closed to to extreme weather conditions. In Wolfsburg, trees were being uprooted and lightning strikes were numerous in the extreme storm. Air traffic control only allowed our plane to a maximum 24,000 ft so negotiating our way through the many storm cells was both exciting and scary. In that situation it really is a case of visual navigation whilst watching both air traffic and radar instrumentation. After a huge detour to the North and West to avoid the worst of the weather, we approached our airfield through some of the heaviest rain I’ve seen in a long while. We landed with a thump on the wet tarmac and were all glad to be down in one piece, Laiticia still managing to serve two rounds of drinks and a light snack for all on board. A quick drive into Fallersleben, the town now known as Wolfsburg built especially around the Volkswagen Beetle and we were at our hotel for a day off tomorrow. The VW Golf is built here and Golf was on the menu for me tomorrow, golf with a small white ball, that is.