Okay! Okay! I know I should've started this journal
alot sooner but I didn't. So whooomph! There it is. But I gotta'
tell ya'! After last night's performance, I figured I'd better
get off my butt and start writing this stuff down. It's really
been pretty overwhelming. No matter how long you rehearse, you
still never know what's going to happen in "battle conditions".
Will everything go as you rehearsed? Will the pacing be right?
How will the audience react? You just can't tell until opening
night. And then if you add in the fact that we haven't toured
together since '78, it was anybody's guess as to what what was
going to happen. After all, the last time we toured you could
still buy records.
Well as it turns out, our opening night at the Tropicana in
Atlantic City couldn't have been better. Obviously, everybody
had some anxieties. You know, pre-show jitters, stage nerves
and that included the audience. But once we got past the opening
song, "Make It With You", it seemed like we went through the
set seamlessly, like one fluid motion. It was amazing, as if
we'd never stopped touring and it was just another show. Our
musical minds and spirits blended together as if we'd never
been apart. The string section was absolutely the cherry on
top of the cake. They played flawlessly. And with their addition
to the show, everything coming off the stage sounded like the
original recordings. It was fabulous!
It was obvious from the moment the curtain came up, that the
audience were all "BREAD HEADS". They couldn't possibly have
been more supportive. It was really quite gratifying to feel
that kind of fan support coming back across the footlights.
I know it's been awhile but believe me, we're definitely back.
Chapter 2 -
Now is the calm before the storm of
controlled chaos begins. I call this period the "pre-road mode".
This is when you have to prepare to go from your normal everyday
life into a parallel universe known as "Road World". A place
where suddenly, your wrist watch and the alarm clock become
indispensable tools and your itinerary becomes your road bible.
It means you'll be in strange places, eating strange food, sleeping
in strange beds, dealing with passports, visas, customs, conversions
and god only knows what else.
in return, you can be sure that a visit to "Road World" will
always provide an unforgettable adventure. I'm sure that all
you BREAD Heads out there are going to make, what I like to
call, the "GRATEFUL BREAD" tour a huge success and a wonderful
experience for all of us. We've received so much great E-mail
regarding the tour and the group and we'd like you to know we
really appreciate it. In fact, we recently received our first
E-mail from South Africa, which by the way, is the first leg
of the international tour. So folks, "keep them cards and letters
comin' in". Speaking of South Africa, David just recently returned
from there after a successful promotional tour which included
stops in Australia and New Zealand.
In fact, one of the highlights of our visit to New Zealand will
be working two concert dates with the Aukland Symphony Orchestra.
That is definitely going to be very cool. Over the next year
or so, I'll be periodically updating this journal with new entries
from various locations on the tour. Obviously, it will be from
the drummer's perspective but I hope to include some entries
from the other guys too. So, as long as you continue to read
and enjoy this journal I'll keep writing. But right now, I think
I'd better head out to the garage to see if I can locate my
luggage. I've got a lot of packing to do. Now let me see, where
did I put those bags?
3 - The Departure
Well, everything's just about packed. The
drum case is on its way and I'll be next. Unfortunately, Ičll
be leaving on a Wednesday morning at 5:00 A. M.!! My God!! After
a cup of weak coffee and perhaps an "air dog" for a light breakfast,
I'll then be incarcerated in airplanes for about twenty hours.
I can see it now; the swollen feet, the sore butt, the jet lag,
yes it looks like it's going to be "THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING
BREAD". Maybe we'll get lucky and they'll have a decent movie.
One can only hope.
To all of you who have recently sent us E-mail, thank you very
much. We really do appreciate it. And for those who are thinking
of sending us E-mail, please do but be patient. It may be a
while until we can reply. The next few weeks in South Africa
will be very busy for us. So if you don't hear from us right
away, hang in there we will get back to you. I'll try to keep
some journal of the South African trip to share with all of
you on our site. Communication on the road without my computer
is not impossible just a little more difficult. You know, faxes
and snail mail. So it may be sporatic. Anyway, ungowa! .........
or Later! :-)
Chapter 4 -
surviving what I call the Night of the Living BREAD, we finally
arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa. It only took two flights;
one across the U.S.; the other across the Atlantic ocean and
about twenty hours of confinement in a metal tube we called
an airplane. It was an exercise in endurance to say the least.
And of course, your body clock gets completely screwed up. So
when your body wants to sleep, your mind wants to stay awake,
but things have finally resynchronized. We played our first
two concert dates in Johannesburg, and the audience was absolutely
I guess the Breadheads in South Africa have been waiting a long
time for this, and they certainly showed it with their appreciation
and overwhelming enthusiasm at the shows. So far, what I've
seen of South Africa reminds me of Southern California. The
climate and geography are almost identical. And outside of the
difference in language and dialects (and the fact that they
drive on the other side of the road) you could be in Los Angeles
or San Diego. Well, it's time for me to go to our pre-concert
soundcheck, so I will sign off for now. But, as Arnold Schwarzeneggar
would say, "I'll be back."
Chapter 5 -
Full Moon Over Cape Town
to all Breadheads! I'm back home again, at least for a little
while. I apologize for not writing to all of you sooner but
you can imagine the amount of E-mail I had to answer after a
three week absence. Now that I've caught up with all of that,
let's get back to the tour. Well, the last "From the Road" entry
was right after our first two concerts in Johannesberg, South
Africa. Alot has happened since then. After our third successful
concert in "Jo'berg", we were invited to the world famous resort
of Sun City for a couple of days of R&R.
Let me tell you, this place is not to be believed. It's the
ultimate theme park for adults! You can do it all; everything
from gambling in the casino, to photo safaris to see the local
wildlife; from surfing on a man made beach (complete with a
wave machine for that perfect wave) to playing on a first class
pro golf course (complete with wild monkeys occasionally crossing
the putting green). Aside from that, the visual beauty of the
resort grounds and its structures is a feast for the eyes. Next,
it was on to Durban for a wonderful concert that almost didn't
happen. This was our only outdoor venue and the rules of the
road dictate that it must rain on the day of your performance.
Guess what? IT DID !! So, after doing our sound and light check
in gusting wind and pouring rain, it was now up to mother nature.
Apparently she likes BREAD too, because the rain stopped and
the sky cleared just long enough for the concert to go on. Of
course, the rain came back in time for our next performance
in Port Elizabeth but, at least there, we were at an indoor
venue. Our final concert in South Africa was in Cape Town which
is probably one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.
My only regret is that I could not have spent more time there.
It is a true gem in the wonderful and diverse landscape of South
Africa. There was a full moon over Cape Town on the night before
our homeward departure. And as I gazed out over the harbor,
I couldn't help but reflect on the wonderful time we had on
our South African tour.
The Bread fans that had touched our hearts with their overwhelming
reception and support; the local crew and promoter who made
our stay in South Africa an absolute pleasure; the wonderous
beauty and diversity of the country itself. It was then that
I made a vow to someday come back to South Africa to revisit
the sights I had seen and the dear friends I had made. Thank
you South Africa for a fantastic time!
- Down Under
Greetings, 'Breadheads'!! Do you want to know what a real time
warp is? Try going on the road for a month (where each day feels
like 36 hours). Then, come back home for a few weeks (where
each day feels like 12 hours). It's a strange "psychological
cyber-time phenomenon" (can you tell I just made that up?).
There's also, what I like to call, 'The 21 Day Theory'.
After a period of about 21 days you become more adapted to life
on the road and less to your former life at home in the "normal"
world. Then, when you finally get back home again, the whole
thing starts up in reverse. Right now, I am at week number three
and I've finally adjusted to the homelife groove. Yes, just
in time to pack my bags and, once again, apply the 'The 21 Day
Theory' through another time warp. For me, the time warp is
not a song and dance from the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show', it's
a side affect of life on the road. But believe me, it's a small
price to pay when you consider the endless adventures that a
tour like this provides.
This leg of the tour will take us to New Zealand and Australia.
That means another airplane endurance test or, as we refer to
it, 'The Night Of The Living Bread'. It's not really as bad
as all that, especially when you've finished your third glass
of wine. And by the time you've finished an after dinner brandy,
even the movies begin to look pretty good. I only hope the airlines
have some new titles (I don't think I can watch 'The Rock' for
a third time). Anyway, I'm sure we will soon forget the discomfort
of the endless flight once we touch down in New Zealand. I'll
try to post more entries for the road journal from time to time
while were touring to give you an idea of what's happening on
the tour. I'm sure that New Zealand and Australia are going
to be amazing. We've already received a great deal of E-mail
from both countries. Goodbye for now and stay tuned for adventures
from down under. G'day Mates!! :-)
7 - The Kiwis
Breadheads: Well, I guess it's time for another journal entry
from the road. It's just been a bit difficult to find the
time. We've had a pretty hectic schedule so far. We just finished
our first two concerts in Christchurch, New Zealand. The performances
were held in the town hall, which has unbelievable acoustics.
And needless to say, all the Breadheads in Christchurch were
there in force. What a great crowd! If you've read earlier
entries, I'm sure you remember me writing about, what I call,
"Rules of the Road".
Well, here's another one for you; kind of like Murphy's law.
After a short flight from Christchurch to Wellington, David,
Larry and I were driven to our hotel. At first I thought that,
since we were the only ones in the lobby, the rest of our
entourage had been delayed at the airport. Well after about
fifteen minutes, we inquired about our rooms only to find
out that our driver had dropped us off at the wrong hotel.
I've been on the road a lot of years but this was a first.
The rules of the road dictate that if this should happen it
will occur when you're dead tired and it's your first day
off. IT DID!! You know it's close to Thanksgiving but I'm
not sure what we're going to do for a "traditional turkey
day dinner". They don't have cranberries down here and I'm
not sure about pumpkin pie either. So I guess we'll have lamb
instead of turkey.
After all, it is true; there's more sheep here than people.
Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving to all you Breadheads back home
and I'll write again soon.
Chapter 8 - And Koalas
Hello to all Breadheads: Well so much for summer in Australia!
We've only had a couple of days that could be considered very
warm since we arrived here. Although, I must say that Aussie
audiences have been consistently hot. The Breadheads down
under have been waiting a long time and have shown their appreciation
with everything from glowing revues by the press to nightly
standing ovations from the audience.
The quality of the bands performances has been greatly and
consistently improved with each concert. Thanks in large part
to the invaluable contributions by our Bassist, Scott Chambers,
and guitarist, Randy "the Great Randini" Flowers, we've been
able to raise the shows to an unprecedented level of excellence.
Although we're all having a great time on this leg of our
world tour, we're all getting a little bit homesick. After
all, it is close to Christmas and it's quite natural to want
to spend the holidays at home with family and friends. Of
course, after watching the world news, I'm glad I'll be spending
Christmas in California. I've never been a fan of cold weather
you know. I'll close this entry in the road log by wishing
all our fans a very Merry Christmas and we hope you will all
have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!
Once again we have defeated ROADZILLA and triumphed
over Jet Lag. It's awfully nice to be sending out electronic
Holiday Greetings to all you BREAD fans from the comfort of
my own home and not a hotel room. Aaaah! Simple pleasures. It's
great to be home for the Holidays! We all hope that you too
can spend the holiday season with the ones you love and we wish
all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I would
like to send a special holiday greeting to our many friends
and fans in Australia and New Zealand. The venues sounded great,
the orchestras were great, the audience was really great and
the fans were the Greatest! We had a wonderful time on this
leg of the tour and will carry fond and lasting memories for
many years to come.
What an experience! Thanks again. But you know, I never did
see a Kangaroos or a Kiwi for that matter. Oh well, maybe next
time. I have a feeling I'm moving into another time warp. This
is that fast one, where a week goes by in two or three days.
We'll be hitting the road again in mid-February and heading
for Southeast Asia and the Pacific rim. I haven't finished Christmas
yet and I'm already preparing for our next battle with ROADZILLA;
the tour God, the maker of the "Rules of the Road".
Anyway, enough of that. Right now, my wife is waiting for me
with some cookies and hot chocolate and we're going to settle
down to watch a "Christmas Carol", starring Alistair Sims, for
about the fiftieth time. But you know what? Who cares! It's
Christmas!!! ( :-)
Merry Christmas to all Breaheads and to all a goodnight!
Chapter 10 - Christmas
The new year has started and I've
just about caught up on all the E-mail. Whew! I guess now
is as good a time as any to add another chapter to the ongoing
road log. First of all, I'd like to extend a big THANK YOU,
on behalf of the group, to all the fans in Australia and New
Zealand. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and it was inspiring
to play before such enthusiastic fans. And judging from the
E-mail I received, I get the idea that all of you had a pretty
good time as well.
I hope that someday we may return. In the meantime, thank
you all for the wonderful and memorable moments we experienced
on the tour. It is now time to face the "Son of Roadzilla"
and believe it or not the first gig's in Manila. That's right,
the Phillipines. It's time to start preparing for the next
leg of our tour which will be through southeast Asia and will
end up at the Reno Hilton in, that's right, Reno, Nevada.
All the particulars will be posted on our website as soon
as possible. It's going to be a tough tour in terms of travel.
We'll be flying to a new country every few days and that can
wear you out pretty fast but it will be balanced out by new
adventures. I hope! And for all of you U.S. fans within traveling
distance of Reno, Nevada, the concert at the Reno Hilton will
be March 1st. Hope to see you there in force. Believe me,
it will be worth the effort. At present, it looks like we'll
be leaving for Manila on February 10th to begin the Southeast
Asia leg of our tour. I hope we have some new movies on the
flight over. God only knows that I can't take one more screening
of "The Rock" or "Emma". We've all just about memorized most
of the dialogue. When you're trapped in an airliner for the
better part of a day, every little distraction is welcome
to keep you from going mad.
I guess it's time for me to go out to the garage and locate
those suitcases and pack up the drums. Time that this road
warrior started to get ready to face "The Son of Roadzilla".
Chapter 11 -
Almost From The Road
Dear Breadheads: I have some unfortunate
news. The dates for the Southeast Asia tour and the Reno Hilton
concert have been postponed. We are currently trying to re-schedule
the dates for sometime in March. I hope to have more detailed
information in the near future. As always, I will post any
future concert dates on our website.
I'm sure that if you've been following this "road log", you
remember me writing about the Rules of the Road. Well, this
is just another example of that theory. As soon as I announced
our departure date, it was changed. That's Rules of the Road!!
It's our version of Murphy's law, except ours states: "If
anything can change, it will; and at the worst possible time."
You can imagine how complex a tour of this dimension really
is. In addition to the normal chaos of touring, we're also
performing in several different countries on this upcoming
tour. The paper work for immigration alone is overwhelming.
So you can see, it's not unusual for things to be changed
or re-arranged at the last possible moment. Anyway, as soon
as the dust settles, we'll be able to give you a better idea
of what venues will be included on this leg of the tour and
when they will occur. :-)
12 - From The Road?
can I say? I was trippin' on that home groove so much that
I forgot all about the journal. Well, now I'm back, I've come
to my senses and I'm ready to rock...........eerr............
I mean write!! Don't get me wrong, I love being home but after
awhile, my gypsy blood arouses the road dog in me and I have
this strong urge to hit the highway. Of course, after a couple
of weeks of hotel rooms and all the rest that goes with touring,
I start to miss being at home. It's a strange, almost symbiotic
relationship between my professional and my personal life.
And yet, each one helps me to appreciate and enjoy the other
Remember that song; "How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away"?
Well, think about it! If you want to rekindle romance with
your significant other, LEAVE FOR AWHILE !!! After all, it's
said that absence makes the heart grow fonder (or was that
abstainance). Just kidding! So, take a long business trip
or visit some relatives, etc. It will not only give you a
refreshing perspective on your personal life but it will also
get you out of a lot of work around the old homestead. Anyway,
it works for me.
Now, for all you U.S. fans. YES!! It's true!! There will be
a limited number of concert dates. The U.S. leg of the tour
is still in development but we do have some confirmed concert
dates which we have posted on our site. So for all you fans
who have been E-mailing us about a U.S. tour, hang in there!
We might get around to your part of planet yet. We will update
any info on U.S. dates as quickly as they are confirmed so
check in on the site from time to time. Maybe we'll be playing
in your community soon.
I'm sure that most of you cyberfans have already checked out
Fran Hart's BREAD fansite. If you haven't, go directly to:
www.mid-tn.com/bread Do not pass go! Do not collect $200.
Fran has really put together a terrific site. He's also put
together an amazing amount of information about the group
and the individual members. You'd have to be crazy not to
visit this site. Hell! Even if you are crazy, you should still
visit this site. Nuff' said?
I guess I'd better stop before I start to ramble. Anyway,
check in with this site once in awhile. And when you do, let
us know what BREAD song and album (or C.D.) is your favorite.
Again, I apologize for not keeping up with the journal more
frequently but I'm sure as things develop, I will have plenty
of things to write about. Bye for now. :-)
Chapter 13 - STRANGE
THINGS ARE HAPPENING!
Dear Breadheads: Yes
indeed! Strange things are happening as you can tell by the
most recent changes in our tour schedule. There are so many
factors involved in a major tour like this that it's not too
surprising that a number of changes will occur along the way.
Come to think of it, wasn't it John Lennon that said "life
is what happens to you while you're busy making plans".
the last minute changes only caused postponements and not
cancellations of the many international concerts we have planned
(there's that word again) for the near future. In addition,
the postponed international dates enabled us to do a limited
number of concerts in the U.S. during the months of July and
August. I've been getting alot of E-mail from U.S. fans who
were very happy to hear that bit of news.
Yes, strange things are happening. We're considering the possibility
of a live C.D., perhaps a video as well. Granted it's a remote
possibilty at this point but we originally had no plans for
any new C.D. at all. So, again, just when you assume you've
got everything planned (there it is again), something happens
and BOOOM!!, you're running behind the train of life and trying
to catch up to the caboose. That's kind of what's been happening
to us except we're supposed to be running the train.
Speaking of recordings, for those of you who have voted for
your favorite song and album, your votes have not been sucked
into a black hole in cyberspace. I've been keeping a record
of the votes and will start to post the results of the poll,
along with updates, on our web site in the next few weeks.
So keep sending in those votes!
enough of that! Let's get back to strange things that are
happening. I recently received a very interesting E-mail from
a fan. It seems that there is a Larry Knechtel impostor running
around loose somewhere in the state of Washington. Now, if
some guy comes up to you and tells you he's Larry Knechtel,
make him sit down and play a piano. If he can't play every
lick from Johhny Rivers version of "Boogie Woogie Flu" and
knock your socks off with a solo version of "Bridge over Troubled
Waters", he's not Larry Knechtel.
I hope to see a lot of Bread fans in Vegas for our concerts
on the 4th and 5th of July. Your support can mean alot in
terms of future concerts. Well, bye for now but check in from
time to time. You'll never know what you may find.
Chapter 14 - Viva! Las Vegas
Dear Breadheads: God!
I can hardly believe it. We're actually going out on the road
again. And this time around, our U.S. fans have a chance to come
and visit us for an evening of wonderful music ( if we can all
remember our parts ). As you can tell from the title of this road
log entry, we will be opening in Las Vegas at the Flamingo hotel
on the 4th of July. Now you can't get any more patriotic than
that! Besides, if it was good enough for Elvis, it's good enough
received a lot of E-mail from fans who plan on attending our
concerts in Vegas on the 4th and 5th. In fact there's going
to be a brunch in the Coyote cafe at the MGM grand for all
the Breadheads who can survive their hangovers from the night
before. Now it's at 11:30, so that should give you enough
time for a cold shower followed by 4 or 5 advils and some
hair from whatever dog bit you while you were having so much
it's on to California, which will constitute all our West
coast performances. So if you're on the left coast anywhere
between Canada and Mexico, this will be you're only chance
to catch the group. 'Nuff said?
I knew I had been home too long when I found my cats had turned
my suitcase into a bed and my wife was asking me what I was
cooking for dinner tonight. Good God! I was already watching
the cooking channel, collecting recipes and coming dangerously
close to tuning in Oprah or some other daytime trash, which
is just bubble gum for the brain. You know, it has no nutritional
value but it gives your mind something to do while you're
waiting for something to happen. Needless to say, I'm very
anxious to get out on the road again.
I guess it's time I close this entry and start shinin' up
my travelin' shoes. Now, if I can just remember where the
hell I put them. Hope
to see you somewhere in America!
Chapter 15 - From
Dear Breadheads: I realize that
it's been awhile since I've posted a new entry in the Road
Log but I've been swamped with E-mail. Most of it has been
from fans who attended concerts on the west coast part of
our tour. Since we are leaving soon for the second leg of
our U.S. tour, I figured I'd better get busy and let everyone
know what's been going on.
first concerts were in Las Vegas on July 4th weekend. Thank
God, they weren't outdoor concerts. The temperature was in
the triple digits which made a casual stroll outside feel
like a death march through the world's largest pizza oven
(without anchovies please). So, outdoor activities consisted,
mainly, of moving as quickly as possible from one air conditioned
building to another.
night went extremely well (we remembered all our parts) and
the reaction of our audience reassured me that we had some
of the most loyal and devoted fans in the world. Some of those
who attended had flown halfway across the U.S. just to see
us perform. In fact, some of our fans attended all three concerts
in Vegas. Now, those are FANS!!!
was the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Being that close
to L.A., of course there were alot of family and friends in
attendance along with a very spirited group of Breadheads.
Livingston Taylor (yes, James' brother) was our opening act
and he was great. Someone backstage said: "Livingston Taylor
is to songwriting, what Gary Larson (the Far Side) is to cartoons."
As abstract as that may seem, I completely agree. He has a
great sense of humor and was a delight to watch.
The next day it was time to jump in the van and head on down
to San Diego. I love San Diego! There's the Zoo and great
food, Mission bay and great food, Sea World and great food,
Horton Plaza and .........well, you know! Although I was a
bit disappointed with the venue because of poor acoustics,
I couldn't have been more pleased with the audience. There
enthusiasm was very gratifying. With fans like that, we could
do no wrong.
The last concert on the left coast of our U.S. tour was in
Konocti Harbor. I know, I know! Where's Konocti Harbor? It's
in northern California, right next to Kelseyville. Where's
Kelseyville? It's right next to Clear Lake. Where's Clear
Lake? You'll have to check a map for that.
it's a beautiful resort with a great concert hall and once
again we had a fantastic audience. My only regret is that
we couldn't stay another day or two. Hell, I didn't even have
enough time to rent a jet ski. Of course, that falls into
the rules of the road category which states: If you're somewhere
exciting, like Konocti Harbor, you'll have to leave the next
day. On the other hand, if you're in someplace like Peoria,
you can bet you'll have two or three days off with nothing
to do. That's showbiz!
Well, I guess it's time to close this entry, kick my cats
out of the suitcase (which they turned into a bed) and start
packing. I'll try to post another entry in a couple of weeks,
after the second leg of the U.S. tour.
16 - From the Road
Dear Breadheads: After the "West
Coast Leisure tour" and a couple of weeks of r&r, we headed
out into combat conditions for the other half of our U.S.
tour. Well, I'm happy to say we just got back from, what I
like to call, our "Planes, Trains, and Rollercoasters" tour
about a week ago. We had to reacquaint ourselves with tight
travel schedules, hard beds, fast food, bumpy vans, the normal
amount of sleep deprivation and a few surprises along the
start with Cincinnati (the Rollercoasters come later). We
performed at The Music Hall. It's a great old theatre that
I've played many times with Linda Ronstadt and Dan Fogelberg.
Everything went really well, considering it was the first
show of the tour.
was Merrillville, Indiana at the Star Plaza. This theatre
was newer but no less familiar. I've played there many times
as well and it also had great acoustics, just like The Music
Hall in Cincinnati. Since the hotel and, more important, the
BAR were connected to the venue, you can imagine how wild
and raucous the audience was that night.
Then it was on to another major metropolis, Jackson, New Jersey.
Now, Jackson is about the same distance from Newark as Merrillville
is from Chicago, about a one hour drive. What's in Jackson?
Six Flags Great Adventure and that's where the Rollercoaster
comes in. In fact it usually came around during the ballads,
complete with death screams from the adrenalised passengers.
A bit disconcerting to say the least but Se la Vie!
Beach, Florida was our next stop for a few days off. Unfortunately,
our concert was cancelled so we had a little more time to
relax than we had anticipated. In the morning we sat in the
sun and ate while watching the thunder clouds roll in. In
the afternoon we sat in the cabana bar and drank while watching
the daily thunder shower roll through. In the evening we sat
in the restaurant and ate and drank 'til it was time to roll
ourselves up to our rooms. Exciting, huh?
Now it was time to get back to reality and head on down to
Peachtree City, Georgia. The venue was in a beautiful new
amphitheater. It was a great concert for a great audience
and there was no Rollercoaster ride. Although there was a
light rainshower, it didn't seem to dampen the spirits of
those attending and it was a full house.
on our itinerary, was Six Flags over Texas. August in Texas!!
It was like living in the world's largest Sauna. So, we played
a little and sweat alot to an enthusiastic but also hot and
sweaty audience. Oh yes! the Rollercoaster ride was back and
strategically placed right behind the stage. Again, complete
with adrenalised death screams and rail noise!
Texas, we went up to St. Louis, Missouri to play at The Old
Glory Amphitheater which is also a Six Flags venue. Ya! You
guessed it! There was another Rollercoaster ride strategically
placed at the entrance to the amphitheater. By now, we were
getting used to the Rollercoasters. What we didn't count on
was the steam engine ride that was also strategically placed
right behind the stage and the engineer never missed a chance
to blast us with his whistle as he came by.
Our final concert was in Kansas City at the Starlight Amphitheater.
After our day off, which included filling up on ribs at Gates
barbeque (no relation to David) and a few pints of Guinness
at O'Dowd's Irish pub, we were ready for our show the next
day. I can't remember how many times I've played at the Starlight
but it's still one of my favorite venues. It was a beautiful
night and the K.C. audience was fantastic. And best of all,
there were no Rollercoasters or Steam engines. :-D
Chapter 17 Roadzilla-
The Southeast Asia Tour
Well, to start, it was another night of the living Bread.
Our departure time was 11:30 p.m. out of LAX for a 15 hour
flight to Hong Kong. It's a truly amazing and unique city.
After seeing Hong Kong at night, I think it must have been
the inspiration for the futuristic vision of Los Angeles in
Ridley Scott's film "Blade Runner". I almost expected Harrison
Ford to park his airmobile in front of the hotel.
you take New York, London and Los Angeles and put them all
together on an island, that should give you an idea of the
density and activity of Hong Kong.
This was the first concert of our Southeast Asian tour and
it couldn't have been better. A great sounding venue, a warm
reception from our Hong Kong fans and a near sellout crowd,
what more could we ask. It was a real thrill to be there.
Our second stop on the tour was Manila. I have to admit that
I was overwhelmed by our reception at the airport. Judging
from the amount of press, photographers and fans that greeted
us, you would think that the royal family or the Clintons
had arrived. No sooner were we at the hotel than we had to
leave for a press conference at the Hard Rock cafe, complete
with a police escort. Wow! It reminded me of the first time
the Beatles arrived in the U.S. At the end of the press conference,
we were presented with platinum records for sales of the "Essentials"
The concert was a standing room only affair of well over 8,000
of the most enthusiastic and vocal fans we've had in years.
The people of the Phillipines, in general, displayed a spirit
and love of life that was truly inspirational.
Next stop, Bangkok! Our audience there was a little more reserved
and a little less vocal than in Manila but provided us with
a very warm reception. Now I don't want to say there's a traffic
problem in Bangkok but it took us over an hour to go from
the venue to the hotel - a distance of about 5 miles. One
thing's for sure, you can bet I'll never complain about rush
hour traffic in L.A. ever again.
After shopping at the famous (or infamous) Pat Pong road for
watches, laser pointers, road toys and other amusements, we
headed out for Kuala Lumpur. We were supposed to do two concerts
in Taiwan but due to circumstances beyond our control they
had to be cancelled. That was unfortunate but the plus side
was two days off at a beautiful Malaysian resort.
Malaysia is a beautifully picturesque country. Unfortunately,
the natural beauty of both Malaysia and Thailand was somewhat
spoiled by smoke from fires in Indonesian rainforests that
were raging completely out of control. The smoke polluted
the air so badly that, at times, it even blocked out the sun.
Another reminder that we must take care of our planet if we
expect it to take care of us.
We, too soon, had to leave our smoky little paradise by the
ocean and take the bus ride back to reality for our concert
in Kuala Lumpur. We had another warm reception by an obviously
appreciative audience of loyal fans. A good time was had by
all! Unfortunately, we were unable to see much of the city.
The smoke in the air had become even worse. In fact, to the
point of some of us having to wear surgical masks just to
go outside the hotel. At the K.L. airport, flights were being
cancelled because of the smoky pollution, which was bad enough
to require instrument landings for all incoming flights. But
worse than that, we all started smelling like cigarette butts.
BIGGGG !!!!!!! cigarette butts.
then headed off to Singapore, in hopes that our polluted lungs
and bloodshot eyes would get a break. Well it wasn't as bad
as our two previous destinations but it was still bad enough
to close the schools and curtail much of our tourist activities.
It was a shame too, because we were all greatly impressed
with Singapore's cleanliness and beauty. It's truly a model
city. And besides that, there's the 'Long Bar' at the historic
'Raffles' hotel, where the Singapore sling was invented. Mmmmm......tasty!
Unfortunately, the polluted air doesn't recognize national
borders so the people of Singapore had to suffer the same
smoky haze that we had been enduring for the past week. After
ten days of not seeing the sun and breathing air that felt
like we were inhaling ten packs of cigarettes a day, we regretfully
decided to leave Singapore a couple of days earlier than scheduled
and fly on to Guam.
We arrived in Guam at 6:00 a.m. and by the time we finally
cleared customs and got to our hotel rooms, we were able to
see the sun rise over a beautiful tropical island with a clear
blue sky. What a relief to see a spectacular view of Tumon
bay and finally breathe clean air.
a couple of days rest and respiratory de-tox, we were ready
to get back to work again. The enthusiasm of our audiences
in Guam was very reminiscent of our reception in the Phillipines.
They were so spirited that the energy level of the band was
automatically knocked up a couple of notches to high. They
were absolutely great!!
I'm now home again trying to catch up on my civilian life
while preparing for our next adventure in the U.K. Although
life has been busy and somewhat hectic for the past week or
so, I've been able to reflect on how wonderfully we were treated
by our many fans during our visit to Southeast Asia. It was
an experience I'm sure we will never forget and I would like
to sincerely thank all our fans throughout Southeast Asia
for their love and support all these years.
Chapter 18 -
Magical Mystery Tour '97'
Well Breadheads, I guess I've procrastinated as long as I
could . It's just that to put the U.K. tour down in a few
short paragraphs is nearly impossible. What made it even more
special, aside from the great fans, was that my wife, Michele,
was able to come along with me. It was a wonderful experience
that we will never forget.
landing at Heathrow airport, we all boarded the 'magic bus'
which would be our land yacht for the next three weeks and
headed off to Liverpool. Yes, the home of the Beatles. In
fact, our first U.K. concert was at the Empire Theatre which
was also where the fab four frequently played and I don't
think it's changed a bit. Of course, we went to Matthews street
(a Beatlemaniac's dream) to check out the pubs and shops,
all seemingly like monuments to the four local mop tops who
made good. And of course after all that walking, we quenched
our thirst with the national drink. GUINNESS!! This ritual
was soon to be a habit as the tour progressed.
We then went on a short drive to Manchester. Yes, the home
of Oasis. We were given the same kind of warm welcome in Manchester
that we had received from the fans in Liverpool. Although
we had very little time there, we still managed to hit the
streets to check out the city and then ended the day with
a concert at the Apollo theatre for a great audience.
third day of the tour, the magic bus took us to Nottingham.
Yes, the home of Nottingham lace, Sherwood forest and Robin
Hood. And no, we did not meet the sherriff. Again, we were
unable to see much of of the city due to our tight schedule
but we did find, as in Liverpool and Manchester, a great audience
as well as some great local pubs where we refreshed ourselves
with a pint of Guiness. Ah yes, a meal in a bottle!
next morning, we once again boarded the magic bus and headed
for Bristol. Fortunately, we had a day off and were able to
spend a little more time there. Of course, my wife was delighted
to find a flea market close by and within minutes of our arrival
we were meandering the streets of Bristol, checking out the
wares being offered by the various venders. And you know,
all that walking kinda' made me thirsty. So later, we all
met at a local pub for a ....................... oh! never
we had a great night off and a great nights sleep and the
following morning, we had a great chance to see a great deal
more of Bristol than just a flea market or pub. It was a show
night and by the afternoon we were getting ready for our concert
that evening for another warm U.K. reception from our fans
Bristol was the first of five in a row and next was London.
Yes, the home of Charles Dickens and "Scrooge". We stayed
in a wonderful hotel next door to Kensington palace but again
we had to depart the next morning so we were hard pressed
to see much of this fabulous city. The concert was at the
Labbatt's Apollo and was very well received by our London
fans. The last time I recall working there was with Linda
Ronstadt ........ ah! but that's another story.
After a short but jam packed 24 hours in London, it was time
to take the land yacht to Ipswich. Yes, the home of.................
hmmm. Let me think about that one. Anyway, Ipswich was a charming
town with a great old theatre, the Regent. Again, it was a
sound check, a show, a pint of Guinness at the hotel (as a
nightcap only) and then to bed.
magic bus left Ipswich very early the following morning for
a lenghty drive to the seaside community of Bournemouth, where
we performed for another warm U.K. audience. Unfortunately,
we were again limited to about 24 hours in beautiful Bournemouth.
Bristol then London then Ipswich then Bournemouth to Brentwood
(sounds like names for Santa's reindeer). Anyway, after another
warmly received concert on a very cold night, we loaded up
our land yacht for the long overnight drive to Edinburgh.
Days Off!!! And, I couldn't think of a more beautiful or romantic
place to spend them. After an 8:00 a.m. arrival and a quick
breakfast, we all hit the streets. Though somewhat tired and
a bit rough around the edges, we were none the less enthused
about seeing as much as possible. Edinburgh castle, the most
dominant feature of the city, alone, took a full day to tour.
And of course, we went antique shopping, which made us very
thirsty. And then, we'd go to an antique pub for a pint of,
you know what.
Our time in Edinburgh culminated with a concert at the Playhouse
theatre for a wonderful audience and it provided a second
honeymoon for Michele and I. It was a truly unforgettable
experience we'll never forget.
Well, it was time for the magic bus to roll again. So we headed
down the coast through some of the most spectacular scenery
to our next engagement in Newcastle. Yes, the home of Newcastle
Brown Ale! Nothing against Guinness, I just thought a little
variety wouldn't hurt. Anyway, I remember playing at Newcastle
city hall on our very first Bread tour many years ago, and
this audience was just as receptive and enthusiastic.
on the itinerary was Birmingham where we had a day off. And
within minutes, Michele and Vickie (Larry's wife) had ferretted
out another local antique flea market. Amazing! It's like
a sixth sense! Well anyway, we ended our rainy night off with
a Guinness and a cigar at the hotel bar.
The next morning, most of us were out trying to see as much
of Birmingham as we could before sound check that afternoon.
The time, again, went too quickly but after all, this was
a concert tour and we still had to perform that evening at
Symphony Hall. It was a new building with wonderful acoustics
and provided a wonderful audience as well.
It was now time to leave our land yacht and take a short flight
to the "Emerald Isle". Our first gig in Ireland was in Belfast
and since the cease fire, it's a changed city. You could sense
the optimism. We had a great discussion about this at the
famous 'Crown Bar' (est.1849) over a Guinness. Oh! And by
the way, we had a fantastic show that evening.
it was on to party town, Dublin! Yes, the home of, you guessed
it, Guinness!! Though we were there for only 24 hours, this
was to be a highlight of our tour. What a city! Grafton street,
St. Stephen's green, Trinity university and so many people
it was a traffic jam of pedestrians. What energy! And the
Dublin audience showed it that evening with their enthusiastic
reception which included the entire bunch singing along with
us. It was really quite amazing! The last time that happened
we had to leave Dublin far too soon and fly back to England
for our last show of the tour in Sheffield. Yes, the home
of "The Full Monty" (you'll have to see the movie). It was
at this point I began to feel a bit meloncholy as I realized
we were nearing the end of our journey.
the crew dinner that evening before the show, I took a good
long look at the faces of all the people in our little circus
family that had helped to make this tour a once in a lifetime
experience. There was Ian, the skipper of the magic bus, and
Zee & Kirstie, our caterers, who fed us like royalty throughout
our travels and the rest of our U.K. crew who got the show
up and running everyday. I know I will miss them all but I
won't forget them ever.
We had another great Breadhead audience that night but this
show seemed special. It was not only our last concert in the
U.K. but the last concert of our twenty fifth anniversary
world tour. And the next morning, when we boarded the magic
bus for the last time, it really started to hit me. It was
all over and in a few hours I'd be back home in Burbank as
if it were all a fantastic Rip Van Winkle dream.
don't know what the future holds for Bread. So, I'd like to
take this opportunity to thank all the Bread fans all around
the world for there love and support over the last twenty
five years and to all those people who helped to make our
world tour such an unforgettable experience. We truly wish
you the Best from Bread. Thank you and have a Happy and Prosperous