The weather in the Lake District is beautiful. When the sun is out and the temperature at 27 degrees there is no better place in the world. Unfortunately the backdrop of the dreadful events in West Cumbria only a few miles away have darkened the mood on this pre tour mini vacation.
The train journey tomorrow back to London will start my official countdown to the beginning on the Moody Blues summer tour, and I will be flying to Chicago in twelve days to meet the gang, who will be commuting from all four corners of the globe in order to create some great music, spread good feelings and maybe even a bit of low level mayhem. Graeme and I have closed at least one bar in every state of America, and even though we tend to be less er, adventurous these days, we still put in a sterling effort to keep the flame of drumming behaviour alive.
Our first concert is in South Bend, Indiana; which has a population of around 100,000 and holds the county seat of St. Joseph County, it also has the beautiful St. Joseph River running through it on the south side. And of course is home to the famous University of Notre Dame (which sounds quite comical to this European's ears when pronounced phonetically in the local accent). It's a great place to start a US tour.
One of the benefits of being a touring musician, especially to the extent the Moody Blues do it, is the opportunity to visit places I would otherwise only read about. My love for the US comes initially from watching old black and white hollywood movies as a child such as "A Street Car Named Desire", "Yankee Doodle Dandy", "42nd Street" and "The Benny Goodman Story". Clearly America has changed beyond recognition since those times, but I still get a twinge at the thought of standing on the same soil of these wonderful stories.
The first realisation of fulfilling a childhood dream of traveling extensively around America, came in a small hotel room in New York 1995 after touring for five years. I was watching the tv (before the ubiquitous broadband and 24/7 everything) laying on the bed, channel surfing in that post New-York-day-out-numbness one feels after being hit with every conceivable stimulus, and chanced upon the weather channel. It came to the bit where a series of small randomly obscure towns, a few cities, and the occasional hamlet scrolled down the screen whilst giving the temperature, type of weather and chance of precipitation, and it slowly dawned on me I had been to every single one of them! After twenty years of touring I have visited them so many times I not only know where the best place to get a cappuccino, buy a good book, and where the closest art gallery is (not mention late night jazz club) but I could direct you blindfolded to the nearest gents toilet at the closest airport.
I am yet to get an itinerary for the tour, so I have no idea where we will be staying in South Bend, but I am looking forward to it immensely, and can't wait to get behind the kit, and play some of the best music a contemporary musician can get his hands on. Looking forward to seeing all the folks from "Wagon City".