Just when you think you’ve got this jet-lag thing licked it kicks your ass, removing your sense of balance, disabling your eyelids and erasing any trace of short term memory. Bed is the only solution and the bed in question I have renamed cocoon-bed. We arrived safe and sound here in Seattle via the upper deck of a clunky but solid BA 747 and very pleasant it was too, funny how a half empty flight makes all the difference. It was nice to clear immigration here as it wasn’t quite so busy, nevertheless it wasn’t without the usual intimidating stares, sense of humour failure and weird cross-questioning from the officials. A short trip before checking into the brand spanking new Four Seasons overlooking the Puget Sound and right next door to the famous Pike Place Market.

A quick shower and then we met up with Paul, Tim, Pete and Mark and went out for dinner to a very nice Italian called Barolo. A delicious fruitti di mare was the highlight….(two paragraphs into the diary proper and I’m already talking about food!) Anyway, it was all I could do to stay awake until 11PM at which point the cocoon-bed took me. The sleep was deep and short. Up at 4am, not too bad I suppose so I thought I’d slip down to the gym. New hotels usually have a great gym, so it was reasonable to assume the Four seasons would come up with the goods. They did. A laboured shower and I met Dan and MK in the restaurant for an overpriced breakfast. Not bad but you know, it should be good.

Dan and I had been talking a lot about the possibility of playing lots of tennis on this tour so I leapt into action and booked us an indoor court for midday. It was great to hit some balls again even if they didn’t all follow their intended trajectory, the last time I played was in Toronto on the KTGC tour nearly two years ago. Must go buy myself a new racket though, amazing how technology marches on.

Production rehearsal – The call time for the band was 5pm. Because of the little accident we had with my sampler back in London, I decided to go in at 3pm to check levels etc. All was well and then Dan showed up at 4 for a but of tub-thumping! at exactly 5pm we were all reunited on the stage here at the Moore Theatre in Seattle and ready to go.

Mike McGoldrick getting excited

One thing which has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind over the past week was how Richard was coping. Richard had an awful accident during the last rehearsal week in that he burned his right hand pretty badly with boiling coffee. As Richard mentions in his notes from the road the resultant injury meant he couldn’t play guitar and the way it was looking, we thought he may have to miss the first few shows. Richard however is made of stern stuff, the burns doctor in London was not hopeful but his doctor in Nashville told him he’d be able to play by Seattle.  Although in considerable pain I’m pleased to report he managed to play today as though nothing had happened and compared to the way the hand looked in London, the recovery is remarkable. Once again technology, in this case, burns technology.. moves on.

Once we’d all agreed that we were show-ready, we all climbed into the local runner’s van and whizzed across town to another Italian restaurant owned by a friend of Tim O’Brien called Brad’s Swingside Cafe’. Our friendly and talkative host ushered us into a back room and proceeded to send out dish after dish of wonderful, rustic Italian food. The highpoint for me was a lobster, saffron and coconut stew. As we walked in there were two guys playing live music and when we’d finished our meal, our host ushered them into our room to play a tune or two. What a treat it turned out to be. The two performers were William Cook and Jacob Navarro, aka the Spoonshine Duo from Anacortes, WA. The evening also had a slightly surreal feel to it, as demonstrated by the image below, clearly enhanced by the jet-lag. We all bundled bleary-eyed back in to the van and headed off only to take a slight detour to visit the nearby Fremont Troll. A public sculpture situated underneath a freeway bridge on would you believe, Troll Avenue.

As mentioned before, we are looking forward to playing a show with the two newest members. The extraordinary talents of Mike McGoldrick and Tim O’Brien.

The Show……….

After much anticipation we finally arrive at the show itself. We had a brief soundcheck which consisted of us running the songs we didn’t run yesterday, really to get our ear mixes tuned. A quick conflab to decide the setlist for the night and we vacate the stage for Peita Brown to have her soundcheck. Resisting the urge to sit down and have a nap was paramount as we all know what happens with jet-lag, you don’t wake up properly for the gig. Some vocal warm-ups and before we know it, we get the 10 minute call.

The show went really well and everyone stepped up to the plate magnificently. Obviously a few ragged edges in terms of the production but that’s all fine tuning which of course we work on immediately. After show it was back to the hotel bar for a very congratulatory debrief. I took a few notes, a tiny set-list change, in ear mix requests…just so we don’t forget at the next soundcheck. A couple of well-earned micro-brewery beers and off to the cocoon-bed. What a sleep!

We’re off and running, time to pack the bags for Vancouver.