We’re going a bit retro here as this actually happened before the festival in Oldcastle but I did promise to write a few words about some of the earlier events, so here goes.
Obviously there was going to be a lot more involved this time around as this was Mick’s tour (not just him sitting in on our set) so we had to learn a lot of Mick’s songs for the gigs. I was quite happy to hear that he wanted me to play some of my songs too and he was going to introduce me to his audience/fans as a singer/songwriter whose work he admires. Off to a good start, right?
We rehearsed really hard for the shows and Mick worked as hard as anyone on making sure we put a good show together. It all fell into place eventually and off we went. This was going to be a very easy tour for me as I would have way less to do. Normally I do a lot of the driving (no problem as I like driving), I do a lot of the tour managing, etc., etc. but for this tour this was all being taken care of by other people. In other words, all I had to do was get in the bus, arrive at the show and soundcheck, go back to the hotel and either eat or await being picked up at showtime and then play the gig. Piece o’cake!
The first show was in Schoppingen – a blues festival. It rained most of the day but the people were great and hung on in there and gave us a great reception. It was a pleasant surprise to hear lots of people shouting my name as well. I think some of them were surprised to see me there (playing with Mick). The next day we had to scoot over to Berlin, which was the longest drive we had on the tour. The next two gigs are now the “Guitar Hero’s Festival”, featuring Mick, Gwyn Ashton & Eric Sardinas. I thought it was a strong line-up and hopefully was an enjoyable bill for the audience. Gwyn went on first in Berlin and we decided to go on next. It sort of gave the audience a break from all guitar music and we were probably the quietest band on the bill. Mick plays a lot of blues, but then in a more soulful way. I enjoyed the gig and I think the band sounded tighter (as playing night after night will do to you).
One thing has become a regular feature of the tour and that is that there are always people looking for Mick’s attention. There are always people at the venue when we turn up, looking to get old Stones albums signed (and his solo CD’s as well). There were people at the hotel as well and after the shows too of course. Then there are always papers, music magazines, etc. looking for interviews. In Berlin some guy turned up with a bunch of guitars that he’d made and wanted Mick to try them out (and I think he was hoping Mick might play one during the gig). So it’s a constant struggle for him to deal with them and also to get the downtime that he needs when on tour (that we all need actually).
Hamburg has always been a great city for music and I’ve always enjoyed playing there. The venue was great and the crew were great as well. The soundcheck was done in no time and it was a real pleasure. We went on last to save Eric bringing up the rear every night. I don’t know if it was the sound, the fact that this was our third show or whatever but I thought Mick played the stars from the skies. He was on fire and I nearly forgot to play guitar myself at times as I became so engrossed in what he was playing. He said after the show he was really sorry we weren’t doing more shows as he had a real taste for it now. He complimented us all and said he hadn’t had this much fun playing in ages. It showed – and we heard the same thing from people who travel to see him regularly!!!