Another day off and we found ourselves in the extraordinary town of Wolfsburg situated between Hanover and Berlin. Wolfsburg ‘is’ Volkswagen headquarters. It was founded on 1 July 1938 as the ‘Stadt des KdF-Wagens bei Fallersleben’, built to house workers of the Volkswagen (people’s car) factories erected to assemble what was to become the Volkswagen Beetle. An English translation of the original name is ‘the city of strength through joy car near Fallersleben’. Our association with VW on this tour was fundamental to our decision to stay at the Ritz-Carlton situated right in the centre of what is known as the Autostadt, the centrepiece of the world’s biggest car plant and an open-air museum-theme park dedicated to automobiles owned and operated by Volkswagen. These currently include Audi, SEAT, Škoda, Ducati, Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti, and the Swedish truck-maker Scania.

The skyline is dominated by the power plant sited adjacent to the open air hotel swimming pool, the plant was built solely to satisfy the extreme requirements of the power-hungry factory.

The town was temporarily renamed ‘Golfsburg’ for a week in November 2003 to celebrate the 5th generation Golf and golf was what I spent most of the day off playing at a lovely parkland facility called Golfclub Wolfsburg/Boldecker Land e.V. The storm ravaged course was undergoing a cleanup operation to deal with the many fallen trees in the previous night’s storm.

Later, the whole band met in the hotel bar for an amble across the bridge to a rather lamely named restaurant called ‘Cafe and  Bar Celona’. It wasn’t quite tapas as we know it, but we laughed and dined al fresco and put away a few draught pilsners whilst watching people living in the world of Volkswagen.

The pool and gym area seemed to attract band members on the morning of the show-day, some of us doing Pilates, some tread-milling and eventually sunning beside the extraordinary pool. It was only a short drive to Hanover from here and we found ourselves backstage in an excellent air-conditioned arena with yet another thunderstorm brewing outside. I couldn’t resist heading out and attempting to shoot some lightning whilst the meet and greet team entertained a large VW guest contingent.

At the venue, Robbo and Dave Dixon show off their suntans at the Front of House desk.

Jim’s B3 had a few issues today but it turned out to be the Leslie..

Richard’s pedalboard..

The show was really fun and yet quite a battle with the arena acoustics. There was an awful lot of low-mid disturbance on stage plus some extraordinary ‘slap-back’…in-ears to the rescue once again. Hopefully, the audience experience wasn’t too bad as we always trust Dave Dixon (FOH) to ‘search and destroy’ unwieldy frequencies. An extremely polite yet effervescent audience completed the picture and we were soon in VW’s making our way back to the Autostadt.