Tales from a Tour (LONDON/BRISTOL) - October 2017

Europa Dreaming Tour 

August 23 - September 9 
London, Bristol, Amsterdam, Cottbus, Berlin, Copenhagen 

Thursday, August 24, 2017. London. 

Writing from our hotel room at the Marriott Park Lane in ye olde Londontown. Just want to recap the last 48 hours of the tour so far. 

Dylan and I flew out of Tokyo on the morning of August 22. After a long and fairly rough ride for yours truly (now I know why I never drink on airplanes) we arrived into Heathrow, negotiated my performers permit with immigration and made our way to the hotel. After checking in we summon the energy to explore our surrounds and hunt down our first of many pints. Drowsy but excited we find our beer and toast to our good fortune for the shows to come. 

The following morning we head out into a gloriously sunny morning to find ourselves a full English Breakfast. It was delightful. Poached eggs on rye, sautéed mushrooms, tomato, real baked beans, sausage and black pudding. I enjoyed a fresh carrot apple ginger juice and of course a pot of English Breakfast tea. Twas very much a feast and quite the departure from a Japanese breakfast to be sure. 

The weather sure enough was starting to turn, but fortunately for us it just stayed overcast as we strolled among the oak trees of Hyde Park down towards the Serpentine to watch the swans. We witnessed the Queen’s Cavalry procession through the Marble Arch on their way to Buckingham Palace and decided to go and pay our respects to HMQEII. There was a gaggle of tourists thronging the area but we managed to climb up on the wall to see the changing of the guard.  

After moseying around Pall Mall and the West End for a spell we headed back to the hotel to prepare for the show in Chelsea. 

The Pheasantry was located in the basement of the popular Pizza Express franchise in Chelsea. There were Greco-Roman flourishes to the place which was charming, with frescoes and several stone-faced female statues.  

We met with Jessica Lee Morgan and her partner Chris and instantly felt welcomed by them. Our mutual friend Morgan “Mott the Hoople” Fisher had put us in touch with each other earlier in the year and we miraculously managed to organise this show with her, along with her manager Mark. We all ate our complimentary meal together and chatted, getting to know each other a little after soundcheck. 

I was so pleased to see several of my London based friends attending the show! (Praise be to Facebook) and it was marvellous to catch up with them after many a year.  

Dylan and I opened the show and we did a half hour set of songs from “Hymns”. The grand piano there was extremely bright and I had a little trouble hearing Dylan’s violin in the mix, but it all went well. The guitar songs were also very sweet, especially “Jezebel” which was what we wrapped up with. The audience were very hushed and appreciative and we both felt as though we’d done well for our first London show. Jessica Lee and Chris put on a very heartfelt and rhythmic performance and I really enjoyed singing along to her catchy tune “Lovesong”.  

After the show we mingled with our guests and managed to score a few posters for the old scrapbook. The turnout was quite good for a Wednesday night during holiday season and Jessica was very gracious to have taken such a bold chance on me.  

Dylan and I returned to the hotel and to our delight, found a bottle of chilled champagne and a cake with “good luck” written on the plate in chocolate waiting for us. I looked at him questioningly, but he had had nothing to do with it! Turns out the hotel manager had taken it upon herself to provide the gift after we had told her about our show upon checking in the day before. I was very moved by the gesture and it certainly set a good tone for the remainder of the tour! 

The next afternoon we boarded the train to Bristol for the next date on our UK tour. 

 

Monday August 28, 2017. Amsterdam. 

It’s laundry day today. A necessary aspect to this glamorous touring life. Greetings from Amsterdam! The UK tour ended spectacularly well and I am very pleased how well it all turned out. Dylan and I had to part ways at Paddington Station yesterday which was a bittersweet moment after the adventures we’ve shared. He’s on his way to Helsinki of all places, before returning to Tokyo. And here I am on the Continent, about to do a string of dates as a solo act.  

But let me recap Bristol. What a town. Gritty, charming, authentic. We pull into the station in the late afternoon. We take a cab to the Marriott and check ourselves in but as soon as that’s done I am met by my friend Lauren out front. We drive to her house and meet up with her fellow bandmates Emily and Lucy. Together they are Three Rivers. They sing gorgeous acapella pieces together. We are gathered together to rehearse “Brave Bold Woman” from “Hymns” as a four piece acapella movement. We discuss various coordinations and end up coming together with something very lovely. We eat dinner together and Lauren drives me back to the hotel where Dylan has already crashed out.  

The next night we walk down to the venue which is only a few blocks away. Salt Cafe. The owner Alan, is very accommodating and helpful and he feeds us a complimentary meal and drink. The setup is very basic and someone has kindly provided a keyboard for me but alas no sustain pedal! Not to be discouraged, we soldier on with soundcheck and acquaint ourselves with each other and the other artist on the bill that night, the enigmatic Daria Kulesh.  

Three Rivers opened up the night and performed some very beautiful harmonies which had everyone entranced. They also had a very accomplished guitarist Brad who accompanied them, and even Dylan got up to jam with them on “Wagon Wheel” which is something of a trademark song of his.  

We took the next spot and I managed to persevere with the pedal-less keyboard. Dylan played well and the collaboration with Three Rivers on “Brave Bold Woman” was well met. Daria finished the night with her hypnotic folk ballads. Her voice was clear and strong and I was especially admiring of her confidence chatting with the audience between songs. 

All in all, the “Goddessfest” certainly channeled a very powerful female vibe and we all went away feeling charmed and energised. 

Dylan and I had officially finished “working” so to speak and we were able to spend the next few days exploring the quaint countryside of Glastonbury (or Avalon, depending on who’s asking). We listened to the bells of the old church in the centre of town, passed by the myriad of New Age stores and quaffed the cider in a 16th century inn. We visited King Arthur’s tomb at Glastonbury Abbey, wandered around the old ruins and imagined what it might have been 1000 years ago back when the land was allegedly the Holy Isle of Avalon, where Priestesses of the Goddess dwelled and trained in the mystical arts.  

We climbed the nearby Tor and watched the sunset over Somerset. In spite of the clear skies it was chilly and we ventured over the lee side of the Tor down to the Avalon Apple Orchard. There were so many trees that had ribbons and bells attached to their limbs. The dying rays of the sun were like fire in the sky as we wandered through the hedgerows, the Gloaming descending upon us. Yes, I felt the magic. I felt truly blessed.

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