I know this November GORR is almost two weeks late and although I don't have a really good excuse as to why, I will have a go at mitigating circumstances anyway in the hope of forgiveness!
I returned back to the UK on Wednesday the 3rd and walked around in a daze for a few days and then started trying to catch up with all that had happened whilst I was away and before I knew it… it was yesterday!!! (not a great excuse I know but worth a try!!)
I really enjoyed the American tour, albeit cut in half with the East Coast shows taking place and the rest moved until February/March next year. With so many bands and artists having Covid outbreaks amongst the musicians and crew and having to cancel, to take the very cautious route was the right option in my eyes.
We stayed in just 4 hotels and used these as a hub to go to shows and then drive back after each one. This meant I stayed in just 4 hotel rooms and basically mixed with no-one except the three "crew" who were with me, travelling in 2 vehicles.
There was no backstage and the meet and greets were incredibly well socially distanced and were still great fun in spite of 100% mask wearing being mandatory. I was sad not to meet up with friends after the shows although an exception was made at the very last show in Woodstock where I had a socially distanced meeting with my great friend and great bass player Tony Levin.
It was great to take out two Korg Nautilus keyboards with me which really added to the musical colour and enabled me to move around on stage more than usual which at my age is classed as "exercise"!
There were a few annoying things whilst in America and that was my Twitter log in password wouldn't work. It suggested I created a new on. "What a good idea" I said to myself and then when I tried it asked me to log in using my original password which is the one it wouldn't accept. So I had three and a half weeks of being twitterless which was a first.
I am so glad that my management and agent in America made such rigid rules as I realised very quickly that these had to be adhered to in order to greatly limit any possibility of catching Covid. I don't think I have ever sprayed so much gel on my hands ever!!!
I have been doing a lot of interviews in readiness for the UK Xmas tour and I've also been doing some practising of what I'm going to play… or what I think I'm going to play!
I'm taking a small keyboard rig with me as it the idea worked so well on the USA tour and this means I will be joined on tour by Erik Jordan. This is because I am incapable of setting up my own keyboards due to ignorance and also because I try and avoid carrying them in and out of theatres!!! To be fair the flight cases are on wheels but are bloody heavy so additional help is required which will come in the guise of Richard from Kilimanjaro and Rob Ayling from the merch side of things. (I will make the tea).
From what I have seen happening over the last half of this year, both in America and here as well as other countries where I have been in contact with people, I don't think things will return to normality concert wise as we would all like it until around this time next year and even then it's going to be a very different world, but I think if precautions and safety are priorities then I for one am happy to be out there doing what I love.
So for the rest of November, it will be programming the keyboards with Erik and practising in readiness for December, with the first show in Basingstoke on November 28th. We were also hoping for more shows to be slotted in but the availability of venues is scarce and so I consider myself lucky to have a good number as it is, and I shall make the most of them.
There's no support act this year… well there is, it's me, as I will be doing both halves, but under the same name!!!
A full pre-tour report will appear in the December GORR, which I faithfully promise will appear on time!