Thursday, June 28, 2007

UK TOUR- Wine, Women and Song

I realized lately that this journal is partly in present tense and partly in past tense. There might even be some subjunctive or some such thing. I apologize to all of you scholars.

Day one of the Uk tour...Wine, Women and Song:

I got in a day after M and G because i had a symphony date in Iowa on the Sat. before. Had to jump off the bus, empty my bags and start over with the cool weather clothes. Thank goodness I did, cuz it’s raining and about 52 dgrees. First stop in London, is tennis shoes!
Matraca and Gretchen and I took a late dinner to get our groove on and start the rockstar lifestyle. Went to the closest pub for the after party, but got smoked out. Guess we need time to get up to speed.

!5th. It was our first show and we taped an interview for Bob Harris EARLY in the morning.
He is such a lovely man and knows our s--- inside out. the show was in Bristol. It was a rainy day but the scenery was still inspiring. We were excited to get started.We played in an old church and barely needed any P.A. The acoustics were so live and present. Ahhh! Gretchen and I got up next day and went to a nearby 500 yr old church to check it out and had lunch (by the church ladies) in the basement. Cute! William Penn is buried there.

16th I went to Wales for the first time. We played a theater that night. It was well- attendced but not full. I think it seated over a thousand. We were all surprised at the quiet audience. They were definitely into it but I was expecting a raucous crowd. I need to go back and see what gives.

We were off the next couple of days and had a long drive to Manchester so we took our time and stopped in Oxford to see the beautiful buildings. It was very college vibey there. I love that feeling like people are just expanding themselves all around me. Whoa!

18th.. There will probably be a song about closing down the bistro in Manchester.

19th was the show in Manchester. Turned out to be a fun-loving audience and a sellout1 yay! This is where the roll got started.

We had a bit of a drive to Gateshead, but got in in time for the gals and i to have tapas at a cozy place in Newcastle. Sting joined us for after dinner drinks...OK maybe not.

21st Gateshead is the premiere venue! We all wanted to soundcheck for hours as the sound is impeccable and the feel of the stage is utopia. Our audience was packed and everyone seemed to be a part of the show. You can pratically reach out and touch everyone.Also have to mention that the folks working there obviously love their jobs and they filled our visit with hospitality and kindness. Did i suck up enough to get asked back?

Now comes the countryside that won my heart. I loved Leeds though we didn’t hav much time there. The next day we drove to Kendal and our little Brewery gig. On the way we took a chance on a country Inn for lunch and it was my favorite meal of the trip. (Can you tell the food is a hefty part of why I like to travel?) Anyway...fresh trout, tiny potatoes in bechamel sauce, asparagusI, homemade yorkshire pudding rolls mmmm. It was a Women’s festival and I believe we were the last night of it. The crowd there was in a tight room and it was warm. For some reason it turned on the comedy in our show and we had one of the most cutting up shows. That definitely was a very spontaneous part of every night. I know some of the folks followed us around and they honestly gor a new show each night. Different songs, stories and a fresh joke now and then.

Here’s a day that I thought I’d get to a computer to journal. I wrote it in my notebook instaed.
Today is the 11th day of the tour.I am sitting in the warm leather windowseat in the bar of the 200yr old hotel The Swan overlooking the river in Bedford England. Today is the first day i made it up for breakfast.Mostly we’ve been on rock and roll time ..bed at 3a.m...up at noon.Oddly i do well with that. I am a morning person at home.

I love it here. I’m all alone in the bar and I’m soaking up the smell of spilled beer and stale cigarette smoke. (the smells of my early years as a singer in bars). It sounds wierd, but when i started out i just loved the time when I was setting up my P.A. and the club was all musty and empty. I always felt happy to have a gig. i still love to look at my calendar when there are lots of bookings on it. Nights to come that are all unpredictable and fun yet to be had.
It was so different in the days of the large venues for me. ( 90’s) Nothing like I was used to.. The talks during AND after the shows were missing and I felt isolated. I like to gab with the audience, revel in their accolades and hear about who they’ve been to see lately. (especially my buds I don’t see that often) Not complaining about the mass audience, I love it, but it’s not my forte. I digress...

Matraca and Gretchen are lovely to travel with. Each is completely professional, no ege trips...gracious and flexible. AND OPEN TO FUN! woohoo!
Night after night their genius has amzed me. Every night is different and i like the audience have had new songs sprung on me that challenge my emtional control. There is plenty of laughter too. They both have a quick witt and make me comfortable with my habit of looking for a laugh.
All and all the show runs the gambit of feelings- The wine has been flowing but the days off-whew! are for rehab.

So that night in Bedford we had big fun playing in a school auditorium. There were lots of fun instruments around and we made fools out of ourselves with them. Whee! I especiallly had fun playing the cymbals...they didn’t have a gong:(

On toLondon. Yikes what a day. Bank holiday, so the traffic was apalling. It took us three hours to go 52 miles. Rainy, poopy and i am just starting to think i’m sick. Love love love the venue! It is a church that is as beautiful as it’s acoustics. We invited our opening act, Mad Violet to sit in for the encore and it made it so memorable. Great show...wonderful fans an di made it through with minimal squeaks. Yay! Not so lucky the next night. Wah!

We had so been looking forward to the Basingstoke show. Our biggest crowd, and our last blow out show of the tour. What a super drag when my voice went south at the soundcheck. We all just had to resign ourselves to it because we have all had laryngitis at one point. I believe I am corect that I have only lost my voice fully, in 25+ years of performing, three times. It’s a good record but doesn’t help much on those nights that you just have to deal with it. What luck to be with the girls to dazzle the audience as I tap dance my way around my handicap. I hope you folks from the Basingstoke show will give me another chance. I will be back!

In any case, bust or not I felt so elated by the tour that i came home with a great feeling of accomplishment. i have bee wanting to get back over there for some time and thanks to my friend Gretchen for lending us her booking (Nigel) and touring team (the wonderful Pauls), it made it a breeze and both Matraca and i are looking forward to our next visit. TBA

And thanks to all of you who came out to the shows and made us feel so wanted. Aw Shucks

Love Ya


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