As predicted, the temperatures soared today in Paris and the Benelux countries and with a serious prospect of some heavy storms, today’s travel plans were meticulous. The airfield in Antwerp cannot be used for landing in an Embraer Legacy if it’s wet so we had to ensure we beat the rain, any freak shower would have meant a diversion to Brussels and a longer drive to the Sportpalais.

In the sweltering lunchtime heat of Paris, we checked out of the Peninsula and onto the road and headed for Le Bourget via the roller-derby that is the Boulevard Périphérique. Suicidal motor cyclists and scooter riders with lunatic tendencies buzzed past our cars at frightening speeds. Mark  knows all too well the dangers of motor bikes and the in-car discussion was all about the ‘donors’ as they are known in some parts of the medical profession. Sure enough, the traffic slowed as one lane was coned off whilst a crunched up scooter was lifted onto a flat bed truck, the owner of which whizzed off to a A&E department somewhere in Paris…IF he’s lucky.

At Le Bourget we boarded the jet and took off flying right next to the first of many storm cells heading in from the North-West. We landed safely and more importantly, dryly in Antwerp and were soon at the venue and getting ready for a relaxed soundcheck. Our new in-ear monitors had finally arrived and tonight’s show was to be their first outing for everyone. The fit is SO tight with these new earpieces, the consequence of that is that the low end is greatly enhanced as any gap in the fit results in its immediate loss. Combined with the vast chasm of the Sportpalais, the effect was shocking and something that we hoped would be remedied by 11,000 people soaking up most of the sonic reflections. Thankfully, we were mostly right and the gig itself was great fun, a little disconcerting but a fantastic ‘listening’ audience ensured we all had a great time on stage. Outside the thunder and lightening raged as we played the set oblivious of the torrential downpour, the only clue to which was a small leak in the vast roof, a craftily placed wheelie-bin prevented any backstage flooding.

Outside with Ben, Mike and Pete….

We left the stage to roaring cheers and slipped quietly away in our VW convoy, onto the road for Amsterdam where just under 2 hours later we pulled up alongside our hotel.

Our penultimate show of the tour with the wonderful Ruth Moody.

and Nigel…

pics Ferry van Rijsbergen

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