Hi Everybody… I'm writing this GORR in my hotel room in Phoenix which is not very exciting as the restaurant is closed and there's no room service. Breakfast is served but is dreadful… in fact I don't know what's happened to hotels out here as apart from the first one in Seattle, they all seem to close their restaurants and cafes and no room service and in some cases no rooms being serviced at all… it has given me the opportunity to find some really great diners where the waitresses are always friendly and nice… so perhaps that's my answer for the future!!
To add to my running problems, my BT mobile was cut off because they said I'd used up my limit… after three hours of trying to get more minutes and being told I couldn't…(unbelievably unhelpful)…I now plan to ditch the phone in the middle of the Arizona desert and buy a pay as you go over here!!!
I'm enjoying the shows very much and especially the meet and greets. It's lovely to meet people and hear their stories and not just mine… piano wise n, I've had three really nice Steinway model D's and one that really needs some renovation but still very playable.
Sadly, after we arrived at 2 in the morning at the hotel in El Cajon, when we came out in the morning, the blacked out windows had all been smashed and my keyboard stolen… this meant hasty rethinking the show for that night which I just performed on the piano.
I was really saddened by this happening as it's no good to anybody really as the serial number is unique to the instrument which is pretty rare anyway… whoever did this (there must have been at least two people as it weighs a lot) are down there with the lowest of the low in my view. There used to be a code amongst thieves where the tools of a man's trade were never take… but there seems to be a new breed of scum thief these days… I hope the police catch them and they are named and shamed.
I finish over here on the 14th March as the Toronto show was cancelled due to the difficulties with truckers and other political demonstrations.
Once back home it's straight into preparations for the 5 prog rock shows with the pretty new line up… which apart from me is going to be:
- Adam Wakeman… keyboards, guitars and backing vocals.
- Lee Pomeroy… bass and backing vocals.
- Dave Colquhoun…guitars and backing vocals.
- Hayley Sanderson…vocals and "tambourine rattling"!
- Adam "Conkers" Falkner… drums.
This is a different line up for a few reasons. Firstly it has become impractical at this moment in time for Tony (Fernandez) to fly back to the UK for rehearsals and shows as the costs are really prohibitive with all that's going on with restrictions plus hotal and transport costs and also Tony has said he really wants to spend as much time as possible at his home in Portugal and I can fully understand this. I'm sure it won't be the last time we see Tony as he has been such a mainstay of the English Rock Ensemble since 1975.
Son Adam stepped in and found Adam Falkner who is already practising like crazy and cursing me with every strike of the drum stick!!
We welcome Hayley to this line up too as I wanted to change the set list quite a lot and so that required vocals covering music of mine sung by both Chaka Khan and Chrissie Hammond. It's a strange thing with singers that in general, female vocalists can sing male vocalists songs in the same keys as well was their own stuff, but this doesn't work with male vocalists singing female vocalists songs and so this time around we've recruited Hayley and as with Tony, undoubtedly we'll be seeing Ashley in the not too distant future.
The final new member is son Adam… As so much of the music is keyboard orientated, I simply can't play everything I'd like to unless I could grow more fingers and as Adam seems to understand the music so well, he probably needs medical attention.
Rehearsals start almost immediately I return commencing with set up and two days of programming with Erik Jordan… I'm really hoping the shows can possibly lead to more prog shows both in the UK and indeed anywhere in the world if a promoter fancies the idea!!
So that pretty much takes care of March and indeed the first few days of April.
It's lovely to be out playing again and meeting people. I am a people person and to have had all these last years without that enjoyment has been really tough. So… happy days!!!
See you next month… Rick