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DL13

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 #51 
June 17th 
 
What an absolutely lousy day! 
They said it was gonna piss down today but, lately, you do get used to wondering if they're right and hoping they're not.
Well, they were right on the money today.
Yuck!
I was looking forward to making my way to the venue tonight, but I may have to have Adrian collect my sorry (but dry) ass later.
Wishing everyone coming to the Worthing gig a safe trip.
I'll have friends and 'family' there tonight.
Always a daunting experience.
Strange to know this show is just a stop along the way.
OK, as Amy Winehouse once almost wrote, I'm going 'back to pack'. 

So, yeah, what exactly is Amy gonna do now that her niece is doing such a good impression of her (with a touch of Duffy thrown in) all over the radio?
Hmmmmmmm... ~ 

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 #52 
June 17th    The Pavilion, Worthing
 
 
A very nice bunch of folks braved the absolutely disgusting weather to come out to see my show last night.
Once they were in the building I'm sure they were not in a hurry to go back out in the wind and rain.
A few folks I 'know' from seeing them around town, as well as people who I consider to be my 'family' these day were there.
Had some woman bitching at me for what I didn't play, telling me I will lose followers if I don't play certain songs.
I said 'Well, I guess I won't be seeing you again...' and she barked 'No, you won't!'.
So, I said 'Bye. Thanks for coming'.
I was told she then trundled over about 3 feet away with her friend and stood, taking my picture, commenting 'Oh, this is a nice one. Take another.'
Guess she wanted a souvenir and reminder of just how disappointed she was. 
The truth is I don't think I've ever gotten such positive comments about my setlist as I have on this tour.
And not just from diehard fans but also from people who have never seen me or maybe not in the last couple of decades.
I must be doing something right.
The folks who came to see a Dr Hook 'tribute' act - and I don't know how anyone can make that mistake about what I do anymore - will have to go see one of the groups out there who will pander to the lowest common denominator and by that I mean anyone who doesn't care who sings 'em as long as they hear 'em.
That's fine with me.
You can't expect to be everyone's cup of tea and you usually lose your focus and whatever creative edge you have when you try to be.
We leave in an hour for a couple of weeks on the road.
Last night was the second of 7 shows in 8 nights.

Yoiks!
Deep breaths.
 
Next stop - Wimborne.
Later, friends. ~



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 #53 
June 18th   Backstage at The Tivoli
 
Ah, wooden chairs, mirrors, rimmed with bright what I call 'Judy Garland lights', a window that may or may not open and not much else.
I must admit it feels more like a shownight from back here than it did when I woke up at home yesterday and made my way to the gig from there.
I guess it's just not a real combat maneuver unless you're sitting in a trench or a canvas tent.

Been here for two and half hours and have two more before I play.
Patience is a virtue.
Waiting is a borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre.
Had some really lovely email about last night's show.
One couple had not seen me since the Hook days and had no idea what to expect this many years on but said they thoroughly enjoyed themselves and would be back.
That's what I like to hear all around.
Was just looking at the setlist.
There are lots of Hook songs in the show.
Maybe not all the ones that folks expect to hear, but I have not forsaken my past.
I've simply mined it to unearth some hidden riches.
And there are many still to be had.
To be excavated on future tours.
I'm gonna take a walk and read a little.
This is silly now. ~

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 #54 
June 18th      The Tivoli, Wimborne
 
 
I'm gonna make this entry brief because we're leaving rather early tomorrow, especially for a day off.
We have a good long drive to the next hotel and we're gonna try and get there in time to have a nice dinner.
We reckon a good meal couldn't hurt before we begin 4 consecutive show nights on Monday.

I like playing The Tivoli.

It's a nice venue and Charlie (the boss) and his staff are always great to us.
The audience was on my side as soon as I stepped out onto the stage.
It certainly doesn't make me want to coast when I'm welcomed like that.
I don't know how many shows I've done in my life.
No idea at all.
But I do know I have never taken any show for granted just because the last one went well.
Every performance is back to square one, with just as much to prove as last night.
It's the only way I know to do it.
OK, dear friends.
Forgive me for flaking out so quickly tonight.
All is well and rolling forward.
More from the next destination. ~

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 #55 

June 20th    Backstage, pondering...
 
The term 'has been' is generally used to mean one who used to be something but who is no longer that.
It all cases it has a negative connotation - the sure mark of a failure.
But, what if everyone is more taken with what that person has been than he is and he's pleased and quite relieved not to be that anymore?

Is it still a derogatory remark?
And, more importantly, can it be deemed it a failure?


Just asking...

 
P.S. No, no one has called me a 'has been'.
Not today anyway.
Teehee.  ~


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 #56 
June 20th    Darlington Civic
 
One of the things I really like, prefer even, about solo tours as opposed to band ones is the freedom I have to play things a bit differently every night.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not doing jazz improvisations on Top Ten hits.

It's all very recognizable.
But the way I approach the guitar or the dynamic of a song on can change in subtle ways from night to night.
That keeps me on my toes - I hate the thought of anyone being on automatic pilot when they're doing something as expressive as this gig (Jeez, how could anyone go onstage and mime everynight?) - and connected to the material for a much longer time.

I've been getting some really nice compliments about my guitar playing.
I tell everyone the same thing - my best nights are the ones when I don't think much about what I'm playing.

I just accompany the singer. 
Make sure he's got something inspirational to sing over.
And, at the same time, the singer inspires the guitar player to do some pretty cool things.
I know I must sound schizophrenic, but it's a feel thing more than a studied one.
Playing alone gives me that running room. 
As well as actual 'running' room.
With no fear of crashing into a monitor or amplifier or cymbal,
Some stages are really tight with a whole band up there.
When that element changes from night to night, as it certainly does, I never really get a sense of my playing field.

Imagine, if in sport, the field or court was a different length, width and shape every game.
Certain moves would be rendered impossible so you'd have to maake up another one on the spot.

Rock and Roll!!!
The audience at Darlington Civic was wonderful.
One of those crowds that seems to appreciate you're there as soon as they see you.
Just a nice vibe, as the hippies used to say.

Perhaps they still do.
You know I do.
Just used it, didn't I?
Anyway, thanks to everyone for making it a great night.
Some lovely folks in the queue at the after show m&g.
A sweet girl, maybe 10 (Damn! I wish I could remember her name. It will come to me.) was there with her mum and dad.
Dressed like a little princess, she was.
Kind of had her nose scrunched up when she first saw me, like she just knew it was going to be the worst experience of her young life.
I insisted on seeing her laugh tho and I usually get my way in that.

That was indeed the case I'm pleased to report.
She said she'd see me again.

See?
 
Sorry this entry was a little overdue.
We got back to the hotel late and left early.
Wanna do the blog but gotta get some rest when I can.
It's hard enough in f8cking hotels.
Ooops, sorry.
Hope the little princess isn't reading this!
But, if she or her folks are, please email me and remind me of your/her name.
 
OK.
Soundcheck time at Shrewsbury.
Wow! This was late. ~


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 #57 
June 21st    Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury
 
We're doing alot of miles on this lap of the tour.
300 miles to Truro tomorrow to play The Hall For Cornwall.
By the time we get home for a quick breath on July 4th we will have done 13 shows in 18 days with some pretty heavy travel on every off day.
Good thing I'm an old road dog from waaaaay back.

Nice show tonight.
An easy crowd to engage with right away.

Very nice response at the end.
There was another cool kid in the m&g queue again tonight.

A boy this time.
I'm guessing also about 10-11 years old.
I must be tired because I can't call his name to mind either.
Trilby hat, sharp waistcoat, red Converse sneakers.
I had a hunch and asked if he played guitar and he said 'a little', so I gave him the pick I used tonight.
We took a photo.
I hope the ones with him and 'the little princess' make it on to the photo page so you can see them.
Me, I'm just gonna remember them both.


Another early day tomorrow.

We'll get to the next hotel in just enough time to have about an hour and then on to the venue, which is another couple of hours away.
It's clever the way Adrian routes us because after the show traveling a couple of hours back to the hotel doesn't phase me at all.
I'm still winding down whether it's in the car or in the room.
And the couple of hours back is always that many hours towards the next destination.
If you have to do it to this degree that's the best way.

Well, forgive me friends but I'm gonna try and get my head down.
See you in Truro.

I usually have a good time there. ~
  


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 #58 
June 22nd   Hall for Cornwall, Truro
 
Capsule description of today - a long, tiring road with a lovely audience at the end of it.
What it is about this particular part of the country?
I said in the last entry that I usually have a good time here and tonight was no exception.
Very, very warm feeling coming from down where they were to up where I was.

Nice to see so many smiling faces.
Lengthy queue after the show to say Hi.

One more show tomorrow night. 
We're in Morecambe.
Then, two more days off, but, again, used to travel quite a distance to play Abergavenny.
It's wearing out here but so far not too bad.

Another short one tonight, I'm afraid.
Gotta keep myself together.

I know you understand, folks.
'Night. ~
 
 
 
 


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 #59 
June 23rd    The Anvil, Basingstoke (and beyond)
 
The last couple of days have been like a foggy dream.
I finished the show at The Anvil, 4th in a row, only to return back to my hotel room after midnight, switch on the laptop and find a rather totally unexpected and rather stressful email, that I felt required an immediate reply.

That took until nearly 6am.
At that point I fell into bed and switched off the light, hoping to get a few hours sleep before we left at noon.
About 6:30 the people in the next room started talking, laughing and generally behaving like it was 2 in the afternoon and they were at a party at home.
I called hotel reception, said I work nights and had just gotten into bed and told the woman who had answered about my dilemma.
She says 'Well, it's almost 7am and most people are getting up now, sir.'
I said, 'But I just got to bed. Can't you tell them to quiet down a bit?'
She says 'I can ring them but I don't think it will do any good'.
I hung up.
Their phone never rang - believe me, I would have heard it - and they just got louder.
Not sure when they finally left their room, but I nodded out for just a few minutes and the housekeeping force showed up.
Making their way down the hallway - (knock, knock), 'Housekeeping!', (SLAM!), (knock, knock), 'Housekeeping!', (SLAM!)...
Every single door but mine.
Then the banging and vacuuming started.
I gave up trying to sleep at that point.

Nothing wears me out more than desperately attempting to get some rest.
I had a 'live' phone interview with BRMB radio coming in at 11am anyway.
Drank some tea so I'd sound alert.
On the phone until about 11:20.
Took a quick shower and we left on schedule.
I took the opportunity to tell them at the front desk how appallled I was at being treated like the hours I keep were not considered valid enough to warrant getting any sleep. 
I recv'd an apology.
Yeah, that really helped.
Sigh.

Mercifully, it was a day off.
We spent most of it on the motorway, in bumper to bumper traffic.
Arrived at the next place, tired, but knowing if I fell asleep then I'd be awake at 3am.
So, as you do with jetlag, I pushed it until later.
Tried to go for a little walk around the grounds at about 9:30 but it was pissing down.
The only covered area was full of wedding revellers, smoking.
A bunch of cackling women in too tight, tacky long dresses, with rolls of fat every few inches down their torsos.
Even the bride was out there in her cheap looking flowing white gown with a ciggy hanging out of her tiarra laden head.
What a lovely sight.
The men were all in the bar area, being drunken men at a function.
It looked like someone would be 'throwing hands' sooner or later.
Might have even ended up being the bride.
Came back to my room and ordered an omelette which took over and hour to be delivered but had probably been ready in the 20 minutes they'd said it would take to arrive because it was cold.
The chips I said I didn't want were soggy.
Had a few bites of the eggs, which tasted like curry (?) and gave up.
Too stressed to sleep but to tired to read I lay on the bed until I probably fainted dead away about 12.
Still tired today.
Nothing on the hotel menu in the afternoon here but pizza, burgers, chilli, nachos and curry.
Oh, or another omelette.
PASS!
We leave for the Morecambe show about 3pm.
It's half 1 now.
Sigh.
 
Oh yeah...the show at The Anvil was fun.
Great crowd.
Very up, appreciative and warm.
Thank goodness.
The rest of the last almost 40 hours or so have completely SUCKED!
 
See you later if you're attending.
I'll try and be in a better mood. ~



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 #60 
June 25th    The Platform, Morecambe
 
Well, it's 2:30am.
Back in my room.
A nice show at The Platform tonight.
A bit strange because the whole roof of the place is a skylight so, even tho I didn't go on until 9 o'clock, it was still daylight outside and in.
No stage lights could be used until very near the end of my show.
For most of it was just me and a room full of faces!
It was a little weird for me and, I'll bet, really cringy for everyone sitting out there.
Believe me, an audience likes the lights to be out as much as I do.
Tonight I could see every movement anybody made, whether it was to fidget in their seats or get up and go to the toilet.
One woman clomped like a pony all the way to the loo and back a few minutes later.
I didn't manage to look over at her but, boy, could I ever hear her.
All in all it was a good night tho.
We have two days off now.
Travel tomorrow and lay it all down somewhere until the show in Newport on Tuesday.

To be honest, I can use the rest.
By the way, I recv'd a few email concerned that the stressful email I recv'd on Thursday night might have been from someone who was bitching about the show because I didn't play blahblahblah.
It wasn't.
I wish it had been, honestly.

But, if that had been the case, I would not have spent more than a few minutes replying.
It certainly would not have taken all night.
Actually, I've only recv'd one email this tour from someone who was 'disappointed' in my setlist.
And tons from happy, satisfied customers who said they absolutely loved the show.
I can live with that.
Feeling much, much better tonight.
Found some good stuff to take back to the room to eat after the show.
Last meal was that semi-cold omelette on Friday evening.
Will read now for a bit (Fab: An Intimate Life Of Paul McCartney - an interesting, well researched biography that includes more post-Beatle information than any other I've read) and hope I don't have the goofy kind of dreams I did last time I thought I was asleep.
I'll try to explain one to you but it's one that you really had to 'see'.
Let's see -
It included Kris Kristofferson and Bob Dylan, who were about to do a concert together.
When I got there they were both scolding another musician, sitting on a sofa with his head down, for being late to the gig.
Seems they weren't going to let him play with them now, as punishment.
When they left the dressing room I realized that the fella on the couch was the young Dylan, who I had just seen be dressed down by Kris K and the older Dylan. 
The last thing I recall was me asking him (the young Bob) if he'd mind if I put a melody to his poem, Anymore, which, of course, is in reality my poem from Whatever's Burning Now.

He said he didn't mind at all and I asked him where I could send it when it was finished.
He wrote down an address in Goshen, NY, which is the town where I had a house in the late 80s.

See?
Nonsense.
But, somehow, disturbing. 
The brain, huh?
 
More from the land of daffodils and sheep.
Hope I see some gamboling lambies on the way.
There is nothing sweeter on this planet.
'Night.~



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 #61 
June 27th      The second of two days off
 
It's interesting how you can just keep going until you finally have some time to rest and then, and only then, do you realize just how f8cking beat you are.
We arrived at the hotel late afternoon yesterday.
I had a bite to eat - chinese noodles, chicken and vegetables that was actually really good. Probably on the cards again for tonight since everything else on the menu is the usual bill of fare - and relaxed on the bed to flip thru the limited selection of TV channels.
I swear I didn't have the energy to get up again.
The Simpsons seemed to be on for hours.
They were everytime I woke back up anyway.
It wasn't until about half 9 that I finally put my feet on the floor, made a cup of tea and checked my email.
I then watched an episode and part of another of Funland on DVD.

It's a TV series I missed last year whern I was on the road.
Very bizarre.
A seedy, twisted little series that takes place in Blackpool.
They seem to use that particular town as the setting of a lot of odd productions.
I believe there was one simply titled 'Blackpool' a few years ago.
It was dark and really strange.
I can see how the idea of a place known for it's amusements and confectionaries but that can also harbor unspeakable truths would be attractive to a writer.
Anyway, if you like your suspense a bit off the wall try Funland.
I'll be going back there later tonight.

 
I had an interview with the Nottingham Post at noon today to talk about my slot at the Americana Festival in a couple of weeks.
Ironic to be 'headlining' at an event so predominantly motor vehicle oriented when I've never driven.
Perhaps a few Beach Boys car songs would be...
Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!
After the phone chat I called a cab and went into Newport, which is the closest town to the hotel.
More to get out of the room than anything else.
I no sooner got to Newport than it started raining.
Not hard, but not briefly either.
It drizzled down the whole time I was there.
I spent a few hours looking around, .
When I'd exhausted all my possibilities twice I found a cab stand and started on the 20 minute journey back to the hotel.
Of course, the farther I got away from Newport the sunnier it became.
By the time we pulled up at the hotel it was a lovely day again.
Sigh.
So, I'm in for the evening now.
I'm definitely getting some rest.
I have no choice.

As much as I dislike too much downtime when I'm on the road I must admit I needed these couple of days to recharge my battery.

We play Abergavenny on Tuesday night, another day off  to travel and then 4 more nights in a row, from Pocklington, up to Glasgow, down a bit to Newcastle and down further to Stafford Castle.

By the way, wish us all good luck on that show.
I hear the audience grandstand is covered in case of rain and/or wind, but the stage is not!
???????????????????????????????????????!
They say they're confident that we will have 2 solid weeks of clear skies.

Six days of a Shakespeare play with Elkie Brookes on the Sunday and then, another week of a different play by the bard, concluding with sets by Emily and me.
All on an open, unprotected stage.
OHHHHHH...KAAAAAAY!
We're home on July 4th until the 8th.
Two more shows after that - Ilfracombe and The Americana Festival.
Vrrrrooooom! Vrrrrooooom!
Tho we mustn't forget the late addition show a couple of weeks later, on July 31st, at Maryport Blues Festival.
I'm still up in the air about what I'll play for that crowd.
As I've said, I suppose I'll need the appropriate level of misery to be affective.

I'll cross that bridge (of tears) when I get to it.
See you in Abergavenny if you're going. ~
 


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 #62 

June 28  
 
Randy Newman was a guest on Terry Wogan's Sunday show on Radio 2 this past weekend.
He sang his song Losing You.
It's a very moving song about someone who has lost big and won big in his life but the thing that he never got over was losing this one person.
Wogan asked Randy where he got the idea.
He said his brother was an oncologist who had lost his share of patients and was well exerienced in consoling family members.
He had a patient, a 23 year old athlete, with brain cancer.
The boy died.
He spoke to the parents and offered them his 'time will heal' talk.
The father said 'You don't understand. When my wife and I were children we both lost our whole families in the holocaust.
We thought we'd never get over the terrible grief, but we were 11, and we eventually did.
But, now, we've lost our wonderful young son and we're in our 60s.
We don't have the time left to get over this'.
Absolutely stunning and poignantly sobering.

Tick, tick, tick... ~


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 #63 
June 28th   Borough Theatre, Abergavenny
 
I have played this town before, but never this venue.
I tried to explain where I've played before to a few of the stagehands here but they didn't seem to recognize it.
Not by my description anyway.
This was a nice little theatre tonight.
A good venue for what I do.
Nice audience.
A nice mix of folks I've seen before and some I hadn't.
It's cool to know that the ones who attend the shows these days come to see what I'll do this time.
I love that.
It keeps me on my toes.
And it doesn't feel like we're all the way back to square one each time.
We have another day off tomorrow, but with a 200 mile trip to the next hotel.

Beginning Thursday we have 4 consecutive show nights.
We will have covered over a thousand miles this week by the time we get home on Monday.

I just sit and read, mind you.
My ass get carried over every one of those miles, but the stress and chore of actually commandeering tons of fiberglass and metal (is that what cars are even made of?) down the motorway is left to Adrian. 
Somehow tho, sitting in the vehicle for that long can wear you out too.
 
Hey, speaking of  being worn out, did you hear that Hugh Hefner has another girlfriend already 
It's only been 2 weeks since the last one dumped him just days before their proposed wedding.
The new one is 27 and is scheduled to be Miss November 2011.
He obviously learned a hard lesson with that fickle young 24 year old and decided to search the mansion for an older, more mature Playmate.
It's laughably pathetic now.

Does he not see that?
Actually, no.

I've read that a couple of his exes have recently said that Hef has taken so much Viagra he's all but lost his eyesight.
I'll be the girls wish they could take something to make them lose theirs too.

 
Early-ish leave time tomorrow, so I'm gonna end here and try and watch the second half of the last episode of Funland.
It's pretty compelling stuff.
 
See you at the Arts Centre on Thursday. ~
 
 


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June 29th   Hotel dwelling
 
Another night off, but the last one until I get home next Monday.
I've been enjoying this tour, but I must admit I'll be glad to be able to wind completely down for a little while.
Even back in the early months when we had a patchy schedule I found myself idling pretty high during my time at home.

When I'm not doing it, I'm thinking about doing it.
 
Some of you may have noticed that I've been doing a bit of my thinking in rhyme again lately.
Anything I write has a direct connection to where I am in my life at any particular time, but I usually don't come up with a whole piece until I find a way to take it past myself.
 
I didn't stay awake long enough to finish watching Funland last night, so I guess it's back to weird ol' Blackpool tonight.
There's a second disc of extras, which include a 'making of' featurette and lots of deleted scenes, etc.
That's my night sorted.
That and back to Macca's Fab life.
More if I think you'd be interested. ~




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 #65 
June 30th   Still at the hotel
 
A wet day where we are.
There's been a lot of that sort of thing lately.
I hear the Shakespeare Fest actors have been doing their stuff, rain or shine.
Guess it's lucky that musical instruments, like the lute, weren't electrified yet, huh?
I wonder how EB's show went last Sunday.
 
I found out last night that I was not one episode from the end of Funland.
There are 6 more episodes on the other disc, as well as extras.
I was wondering how they were gonna tie up all the loose ends in one go.
Got thru the 5th episode last night and had a latenight call from my oldest friend, McCloskey.

(He's exactly 6 weeks younger than I am, actually. I thought I should point that out to you before he does to me...again).
McC is in California, so the time change is pretty extreme.
Always good to hear from him.
He's a real solid source of comfort and perspective to me.
We've known each other since we were about 7 years old.
Perspective is easy to lose, especially out here where it's all long days and nights in places where I mostly feel disconnected until I hit the stage.
Whenever we speak I think 'Well, he's still him, so I must still be me.'
Funny how I was left with very few friends from the Hook days, but that our relationship has survived the miles and years, no matter where we've been or what we've done.
That's been one of the coolest things about my life.
Of course, the night guy at the front desk took over a half hour and three long distance international calls to work out how to connect him to the phone in my room.
Must be all the mobile phones.

Modern technology is brilliant but it's given alot of us a great excuse to be stupid.
Why bother storing anything in your head when it's all out there?
Hotel tip:
If there's anything you think you're going to need from recepetion be sure and get it taken care of during the day.

The people on the desk at night have no clue.
They're there to check in late arrivals and bring drinks and sandwiches up to the rooms.
They know where nothing is, i.e. extra pillows or laundry bags, or how anything works, i.e., the phone system, television or internet.
 
I'd better go find some food-like substances to consume this afternoon because I will be trying to get to bed a bit sooner tonight and every other night this week.
Lots of early leaves and travel to gigs coming up. 
 
Off to the Pocklington Art Centre in a few hours.
That's where I'll be for the rest of the day into the evening if anyone needs me. ~
 
 
 

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 #66 
June 30th    A 'thank you' and a disclaimer...

I recv'd a lovely email from someone saying how 'wise' they think I am.
The wisest thing about me these days is that I'm finally beginning to understand what a fool I've been in the past. ~

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June 30th    Pocklington Arts Centre
 
This is gonna have to be quick.
We leave in 30 minutes for the mighty Glasgow.

Last night's show was fun.
Well, the audience was anyway.
The stage was a little platform type thingy that bounced and made so much noise when I moved around.
I've don't recall ever having been so self conscious of what my feet were doing before.
Small stage made it impossible not to keep treading on my guitar leads.
Made me feel clumsy as well as fearful of stomping them into not working.
A few tuning problems in the early part of the show, but I managed to reason with my guitar eventually.
I'm pleased to say that I never lose my cool these days no matter what happens.
Comes with doing it for so very long.
Several folks told me how 'relaxed' I looked up there.

I was probably less relaxed for alot of that show than any other one this tour.
So far.
All went well tho.
Nice people to play for.
 
Seems they've broken down and put a marquee cover over the stage at Stafford Castle.
Good idea.
Neither Emily or I could/would have played in the rain.
Too dangerous and would definitely ruin our guitars and Emily's piano.
 
Wonder why some people ask if I'm going to play in the US, Canada or elsewhere and offer to let me stay at their homes?
Don't they know how awkward that would be?
Friendly gesture, I suppose, but totally unrealistic.
 
OK, time to head down (or up) the road.
See you at the RCH later tonight. ~

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July 1st   Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
 
Well, what do can I say???
I've had such a long history with this city and it's people.
Since the Hook days at The Apollo to now, I have never felt let down by a Glasgow audience and I can only hope that's because they feel I've never let them down either.
A lovely, warm, and, I might add, thunderous reception from the second I strolled out onto that giant stage.

A woman yelled 'We love you, Dennis!' to which I replied 'You know when the evening starts with 'I love you' it can only go f8cking downhill from here!'.
I was kidding and it didn't.
It never feels like back to square one here.

Always a hearty 'hello' and we move forward.
Loooooooonnnnng queue after the show and lots of smiles and 'photies' taken.
Thanks so much again, Glasgow.
I can't begin to tell you what being here has meant to me all these years.
But I hope I always show you...

Another early-ish leave time and on to Newcastle.
Pardon me while I try and wind it down.
It won't be easy. ~



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July 2nd   Leaving Glasgow
 
Soooooooo many lovely email and posts about last night's show.
You know I'll see you all again! xxx~

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July 2nd   Backstage, Newcastle
 
We came in the front way when we arrived for some reason.
I decided to talk a walk after my soundcheck and stuck my head out the stage door to see what it looked like.
It didn't seem like an area you'd want to spend alot of time in at night.
Not that it looked any safer in the sunlight, but, at least you'd know you wouldn't have to wait til morning for someone to find your body.
There was a pub on the corner with several unsavory types, loud and stumbling with shaved heads hanging about out front.
But, the stage door is on a deadend street so that was the only way forward.
I no soooer passed the pub and peered round the corner when I spotted, well, I say spotted, but, there it was in plain view, a SUSHI BAR!
I forgot all about the p[otential peril and ambled across and in and asked to see a menu for some takeaway.
I'm telling you they had every kind of fish you could want to find, especially at the end of that street.
I ordered a bunch of stuff, mostly sashimi, which is just slices of raw fish - salmon, tuna, yellowtail, clam, snapper - no rice, but I also got a few nigiri thingies, meaning slices of fish - scallop, squid, seabass - on shaped balls orice.

What an unexpected surprise!
John Taylor said he saw a nightclub in full swing, with drunken blokes and staggering half clad, uh, ladies pouring in and out and it was only 5pm.
This must be one of the most accomodating cities in the world.
They have sushi in a part of town where you'd expect to have your own raw flesh eaten and a meatmarket disco for those who can't wait until a decent hour to be indecent.
Anyway, I'm safely back in my uncomfortable dressing room with harsh lighting, more than happy to have taken on the mean streets and come back with a bounty from the sea. ~
 

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July 2nd   Journal Tyne Theatre, Newcastle
 
It was sea of near naked girls, all probably 18-25 but looking 35-40.
With rolling waves of goofy guys who seemed more interested in each other than they were the females or than the females were in them.
Oh, and small clusters of those stripey POLICE vehicles and vans every few yards.
That's what we navigated our way thru on the way back to the hotel.

Saturday night in Meat City.
It happens everywhere.
I guess it always has.
I've just never been a clubber.
And I'm finally old enough to see and say that young women give it away too easily.
I'm not talking about sex.
I'm talking about their mystery.
It's all on display and like anything else that's right in your face it makes you wanna look away.
Maybe it's me.
 
I'd never played this venue before.
Nice old theatre.
Looked like it could have a resident ghost, tho I saw or felt no evidence of he, she or it (in case it was a dog or cat).
The audiences have been really cool this tour.
Encouraging.
Lifting.
Those are nourishing things to get from an audience.
Most of whom might have come to the show for a little inspiration or lift themselves.
I hate to over analyze anything, but when I feel something shifting like I do now I can't help but want to examine why that is.
I'd like to think it's because I have never felt more like myself on a stage than I have grown to over the past several years.

The UK audiences have given me opportunity to see that it's possible to encorporate everything I've done or do or, in some cases, may do in the future (as when I debut a new song) into how I present myself to them today.
I've had very few negative comments on what I didn't play and the folks that did make the few I've heard may or may not come back in the future.

The thing is I may very well play the song they wanted to hear this time on my next visit.
I have no choice but to view my life and work as an ongoing process.

I've read some great reviews of Paul Simon's latest show that he's taking all over the UK and into the rest of Europe in the next several weeks.

Siiiiiiiighhhhh.
How I wish I could have caught him and his band this time.
 
I hear his setlist travels thru his entire catalog, from a solo acoustic version of The Sounds of Silence, the first big Simon and Garfunkel hit, and sampling bits of all his wonderful solo albums, including a couple from his latest album, which is absolutely KILLER.
The man is one of the very few literary genuises in the field of songwriting.
I find myself actually pausing a song to contemplate a lyric that's just gone by like you would look up from a book after reading a particularly affecting passage.
If I had catalog like that I would never have a second thought about playing lots of it in each show, adding some new stuff along the way.
Paul Simon wrote every word and note of his catalog.
I have a dfifferent story.
I sang alot of other people's songs.
Some, I was lucky to have gotten, most significantly, Shel's glorious work.
But, some others the band and producer were fortunate that I was team player enough to agree to sing them.
Sure, a few of them were big 'hits' and for the good of the band (and producer) as a whole.
But, had I been a solo artist , without the pressure of everyone else's welfare, as I'm sure we all felt to some degree, I would have never swung away from the quality writing to the pop twaddle I ended up singing.
From Carry Me, Carrie to Sexy Eyes?!?
Please...
Does that sound like a decision made for artistic reasons to you?
As it stands these days I don't hope to ever have an large internationally acclaimed body of work as a songwriter but I have an audience of intelligent, feeling people who I can present my wares to and grow from their responses, reactions and comments.
I know it's true.
I've done it for the last decade and it's made me feel good about what I do again.
Now, you could say that Paul Simon is affluent and influential enough to do what he wants to do, but I think the guy has always shown inspirational levels of integrity.
Can anyone say with a straight face 'I'm sorry, but I just don't have enough money or clout to show much integrity yet'?
As I saw written somewhere:

Rich or poor
Whatever the score
Don't be a whore!


Another early leave and a long day until showtime at the castle.
We're (unbelievably) 3 shows from the end of the tour, not counting the mighty blues festivale at the very end of July.
It's been a lengthy and winding old road since February, but I've learned quite a few things along the way.
How can that be bad at my age, huh? ~
 



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July 3rd 
 
Off to the castle in a few minutes.
Checked into the hotel, hoping to get a little nap in - after all we had a couple of hours - but they put me right next to some women who are attending a wedding party here tonight, who spent the entire time slamming in and out of their rooms and shouting to each other in the halls about how nice they look.
I opened the door at one point to see who was making all the racket.
They didn't look all that wonderful to me.
I'm sure they'll be cackling and scratching back in their pens about the time we arrive back later.
Hey, what the hell?
I'm going home tomorrow.
 
See you at the castle?
I'll be very interested in seeing who's decided to come to this gig. ~

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July 3rd      Change of plan (phew!)
 
Well, my soundcheck was over and it was still just 5:30.
I could not see myself sitting in the open front tent on a hard plastic chair for 4 and a half hours until my 9pm start time.
The very same tent where they store the actors' costumes, by the way.
No privacy.
No 'facilities' except a couple of portable toilets and a lot of paint cans and backstage debris.
So, Adrian and I came back to the hotel.
It's a 30 minute trip each way but so much better than what I was looking at having to do back at the castle site.
We'll leave in about 45 minutes to head back there.
Seemed a little overcast on the journey back here, but everyone is covered now, so (sigh) we'll see. ~

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July 3rd   Stafford Castle
 
Let me tell ylou straight off that the hotel crap and dressing tent had me a little tightly wound but the show itself was another thing altogether.
I had a really good time.
The weather was perfect for leaping about.
The sound was terrific.
I told him as much after the show and he (jokingly, I hope) said 'Does that mean it's sounded shit every other night?'
He knows better than that.
The thing about tonight was that I knew what I was hearing was , pure and simple, Simon's gear with him at the helm.
Not his system as applies to a particular theatre and however low or high the ceilings are or if the sound is bouncing off the back wall or if it's a dry room or a lively room, or...or...or.
Tonight it was just being pumped directly out to nature and it sounded f8cking great!
(That's what I attempted to say back at the gig, Simon, old pal.)
I also enjoyed the Shakespearean stage set.
Verona, I believe.
As I said onstage, it felt as tho I was playing at some retired Italian millionaire's villa.
Good 'up for it' crowd.
Couldn't do a meet and greet afterwards because they said they had no facility for it.
Anyway, it's very cool to end this long run with a breath of fresh air and a fun show.
We leave early enough in the a.m. to miss some traffic - can you even call that anymore? - and head for home until next Friday.
Two more shows, only one with Emily and Chris.
Until the fall, that is.
And let's not forget zee blooooze fessssssssteeebal at the end of the month.

Forget it?
I'm losing sleep.
You know me, I'll probably have something to say long before the end of the week.
If not, see you back on the road to Ilfracombe.
Wasn't that the very last of the Bing Crosby/Bob Hope 'road' movies?
Guess they ran out of places to go after that.
 
Byeeeeeeeeeeeee! ~


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 #75 
THE FOURTH OF JULY!!!
 
Happy holiday to my US friends!
Hope you have perfect cookout weather and that you all get to blow something (or lots of things)up.
It never was one of my favorite US holidays, but, to be fair, the UK's Guy Fawkes Day and the weeks of leftover explosives afterwards is just as annoying.
On that note - KAAAAA-BOOOOOOOM!!! ~


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 #76 
July 8th     Hotel dwelling again
 
Lots of accidents out there on the road today.
Fortunately, Adrian missed them all coming to get me and we somehow avoided them on the way to where we're staying.

Last we heard there were folks stuck on the M6 and had been there for 6 hours already.
We passed miles and miles and maybe even more miles of bumper to bumper traffic going the other way.

This is why I'm sitting in another hotel the night before I have to play.
You just can't risk that kind of interference on a show day.

Well, coincidentally, we will do the latest and the earliest shows on the entire tour, back to back on Saturday and Sunday.

On stage at 9:15pm tomorrow night, which means it will be near midnight by the time we leave the venue.
We then have a 3 hour drive to the next hotel, where I will have to try and wind down sooner than I ever have before because I'm on stage again at 2:45 in the afternoon the next day.
May as well go out with a bang, huh?
UGH! 

Not sure what triggered it - maybe it was all the wreckage we passed - but I was thinking earlier today about something my last ex-wife said to me during one of our many heated exchanges near the end of our marriage.

She sarcastically said that she hoped my audience and I would be 'very happy together', adding that the 'only reason' they like me (as opposed to her who, at this point, didn't) is 'because they don't really know' me ('Anyone who likes me is a loser...').
I just thought I'd take the opportunity to say that I believe she was right about one thing - my audience and I are very happy together.

As far as why, well, that's open for speculation and discussion (No! I'm not looking for a list here!).
I guess no one could know me as well as someone who's lived with me, but I don't believe that our artist/audience relationship is based on b*llshit.
There will always be aspects of my personal life that I will choose not to share on a public level.
But, in the context of what I do, how I do it and what I try to communicate to people, I think I've been pretty open and will continue to be in the future.

I brought some turkey sandwiches with me from home today.
I know this room service menu all too well.
I've ordered some soup to go with them.
That's dinner.
And that's now.
Later, friends. ~

 


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 #77 
July 9th    The Landmark, Ilfracombe
 
This is just silly now!
It's almost 3 am.
We just checked into another hotel and we leave in less than 8 hours.
I'm onstage only a short while after that.
My show will be over by the time I'd be arriving at any other venue.
Typical.
The last month has been harder than all the other months combined and this weekend is tougher than any of that.
 
Tonight's show was a good one.
Lovely, good spirited people.
Nice venue carved in the cliffs and a great craggy view.
A nice way to officially end the tour.

Of course, there is the small matter of tomorrow's festival, but that and the blues fest are extracurricular, as far as I'm concerned.
The tour shows were my audience.
The festivals are an audience - folks who are there for lots of reasons besides to see me - and need to be approached a bit more generally.
Whatever that means.
Well, I know what it means.
I just don't want to think about it now or I will not wind down for thinking about it.
 
This may be the briefest entry of all of them, but I'm sure you understand.
See you outdoors later? ~


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 #78 
July 10th     The Americana Festival, Newark
 
What a day!
It began at 3:30am.
There has been no shortage of loud, cackling female hotel dwellers on this tour.
At about half 3 this morning a few of them came back from wherever they had been carrying on and decided to take the party to room 303.
I was in 305.
I told you that Adrian had asked if it was going to be quiet in the morning and the night cleark said it was usually quiet.
He said that most people get late checkouts and the housekeeping staff doesn't even begin cleaning rooms until between 11 and noon.
Well, they started early enough this morning that they were finished by 11.
Even the party girls, who I assumed would have a headache-y lie in were up and noisily out bright and early.
I had them cleaning rooms 303 and 307, on both sides of me, and 304, right across from me, starting at about 8:45.
We left the hotel before we'd planned to because neither of us could get any more rest.
Another hour and 45 minutes to the festival site.
I went on at 2:45, just like was scheduled and did a 90 minute set.
I did basically the tour set but, because of the type of audience it was, I thru in a few more Hook classics, like More Like The Movies, Freaker's ball and ended with, yes, Sylvia's Mother.
I figured the old bat could stand to make an appearance for one in 44 shows.
I think they enjoyed themselves.
There was a long queue afterwards for photos and to have me sign stuff even tho there was no facility to actually sell merchandise.
I hope you get to see the pics of me with Nadine and Isabella.
Two unbelievably sweet little girls.
They weren't together, but they were both sooooooooooo cuuuuuuuuuute!
 
So, I'm home now.
Traffic was horrrrrrrrrrrrible coming back.
We hit every delay possible.
What should have been a 3 hour trip took almost 6.
And that was only to drop me off.
Adrian had another few hours before he'd be home.
Long couple of days for me and my traveling buddy.
 
Thanks to Adrian and Simon for making this silly way of life as easy as it can be.
To Emily and Chris for being the perfect guests on the tour.
Talented and such nice people.
And thanks always to John Taylor for more thngs than I can list here.
 
Deep breaths now.
It will take some time before I realize I don't have to pack and leave.
Of course, there are the 3 days it's gonna take to do the Maryport show at the end of the month.
But, all in all, for the most part, I'm done for a while.
If I saw you on this tour, I can't thank you enough for your audience and support.
Maybe I'll see you in September, as the old song says.
OK then.
Later ~
 
P.S. Oh yeah, I had a notice thru my door that said they will be doing some 'work' right outside my door in the morning.
Maybe 8 or 9-ish.
Sound familiar?!?
Sigh... ~

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 #79 
July 11th
 
Thought I would comment on the 'poor Dennis' posts on the guestbook.
I only tell you about the crap that goes on in hotels, dressing rooms and motorways because it is part of the daily fabric of touring.
I, by no means, expect anyone's sympathy or 'extra' credit for doing my job.
I've been doing this for decades.
The hotel horror stories were the same when I was on the road with Hook.
I always figured back then that going on TV or radio and complaining about what were, at that point, merely the negative bits of being successful, was ludicrous, perhaps even rude.
No one wants to hear a 'famous' person bitching about the perils of room service or how crowded it was up in Business Class, when they probably work three times as hard at a thankless job for a lot less reward. 
These days I'm just a journeyman singer/musician, on the road to earn a living and to try to make the whole experience as aesthetically pleasing and interesting for myself as for my audience.
My rantings about this inconvenience or that are posted to give you a look at what it's like out there.
Not for someone else, but for me and how I respond to them on any given day.
If there are entries that make me appear to be a crybaby then, due to whatever the circumstances were and my ability to cope on that day I guess I was a crybaby.
To be honest, there are things that come up while on I'm on tour - personal, business, etc -
that have absolutely nothing to do with the tour except they occur during the same time period.
Life does not freeze while I'm working.
The traveling and the shows just happen around it.
I might not choose to expound on these things.

For many reasons.
I won't, for one small example, bring up if I'm feeling a cold coming on or point out the nights I would have rather been annnnnywhere else but in the wings with Adrian, waiting to go on. 
Both of which occurred during this tour.
It can only serve to make someone pre-judge my performance or worse, give me pity points for doing the best I could, given the situation.

(There's too much of that going on today with the older acts. Even tho an artist may be nowhere near what they used to be folks will still say 'Oh, bless him! He's sooooo old but he's still up there on that stage!'. Yeah, well, maybe he shouldn't be anymore, huh?)
No thanks!
It was what it was and it is what it is.

 
I will tell you, now that I'm allowing myself to concentate on how I actually feel, that my poor old body feels like I've been playing f8cking football.
Sleeping in dozens of different beds, hours sitting in the car or on hard chairs backstage and then leaping about the stage like a man who just woke out of a coma and doesn't know how old he is eventually take their, so far, temporary toll ('Oh, bless him!').
I'm guessing an absence of all of the above will help sort me out.
Only to do all of the above again in a couple of months.
 
There are CDs, books and DVDs awaiting my attention.
You know I'll check back in soon(er or later). ~
 
(No, I haven't forgotten about my upcoming foray into the blooooooooooooze at the end of the month...)
 
 



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July 13th     Home
 
I just saw a headline on MSN that read 'HEFNER DENIES DEATH CLAIM'.
It was a hoax that was born and died on Twitter, but it still made me laugh out loud, that it appears he had to deny the rumor himself???
How old must the guy look when even seeing and talking to him doesn't convince anyone???
'Hey, Hef! Are you dead? How can you prove the story is not true???' ~

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 #81 
July 28th  
 
I was standing outside the ee shop, holding my takeaway cup of tea (much prefer it that way), waiting for someone to vacate their seat so I could settle in and read for awhile.
A couple, maybe about my age - who can tell anymore? - started to get up and the woman made eye contact with me, as if to say 'You can have this table'.

Cool.
I walked over and hovered for a few seconds while they collected their belongings.
Standing, the gentleman says to me 'So, what are your friends doing these days?'
Seeing as these two people were total strangers to me and this question had come totally out of the blue I assumed he meant my friends of many moons ago.
I said 'Well, 3 of them are no longer with us and the rest are in America.'
My comment drew a completely blank stare from both the man and his wife.
Maybe they had mistaken me for someone else.
I don't know what other 'friends' of mine they would have been interested in.

Oh well.
Got a seat anyway.
 
We leave Saturday for the blues festival.
I go on at 3:15 on Sunday.
A 90 minute set, like the Americana Festival.
I still have no idea what I'm going to play.
After 3 days of 'the miseries' maybe the audience will need a little cheering up.
Or, perhaps I should just carry on the theme and make sure we all go away with Da Blooooze.
I won't know until I am confronted with the task at hand.
It will take 3 days to do this one hour and a half set.
A fitting way to cap off the spring/summer gigs. ~



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 #82 
July 30th     The last hotel this tour
 
OK.
Here I am.
Another night in a borrowed bedroom.
Early leave for the show tomorrow.
We're about 2-3 hours from Maryport.
Also 2-3 hours closer to home when we come back to this hotel tomorrow night.
I still have no idea what I'm going to play at this gig.
I've been told that these days, festivals do not strictly stick to their monicker when it comes to booking acts.
I think Status Quo headlining Cropredy, which has been known mostly as a folkfest thru the years, is the example I've been given the most, but I've witnessed it myself - Beyonce at Cashtonbury? - and I get it.

All well and good.
But, as far as I'm concerned, I'm still playing the Maryport BLUES Festival.
There has to be some thread.
Some relevance to the event, no matter how loose.
I'm not going to know what that important element is until I'm there.
Maybe not until I'm on the stage.
Until then I will not rest easy.
I already see myself waking up several times during the night with flashes of this and that having to do with the show.

By 5pm tomorrow afternoon it will be the show I just did.
 
Feeling a bit allergic to something since last night.
Hard to pinpoint.
Just something cruddy and crawly back there behind my eyes, in my nose and on the roof of my mouth.
Doesn't feel like a cold.
Won't matter after the show tomorrow.
I'll have plenty of time to get over 'it', if 'it' doesn't give up on me and leave during the show.
Maladies have been known to do that, y'know.
Tho, sometimes, they will extend you the professional courtesy of waiting until you're thru and then go 'OK TO KILL YOU NOW???'
 
I brought a nice turkey sandwich from home and ordered the leek and potato soup from room circus to go with it.
(I know this menu all too well.)
I'm gonna eat, followed by as little as possible until it's time to do everything I do.
 
Hang in with me, folks.
Three more days on the road and we can wind it down for a month or so. ~
 


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July 31st   Still at the hotel
 
My, how things can change at a moment's notice!
I was just about to get in the shower when John Taylor called me and said that the lineup of the festival had suddenly changed and they want me on around 8pm, rather than 3:15, as was scheduled.

I'm now the next to last act of the whole festival.
This gets stranger and stranger and my role gets more and more surreal.
I'd set my alarm for 8:45am, so I could wake up and clear my stuffed up head before we left at what was supposed to be 11.

I tossed and turned all night (as I predicted I would) with song choices, lyrics and other middle of the night ponderances running thru my brain.
All for nothing really.
I actually had all day to think about this stuff.
Now I'm wide awake and will sit here in this room until about 4pm.
Show biz.

Sigh...
Sorry to anyone who planned to leave early to come see my set.
I am playing.

Guess they just wanted to make sure I had a proper case of 'the blues' before I do.
In truth, it really could have been worse - see how I've learn to extrapolate droplets of positivity? - and we could have showed up between 1-2 pm as planned and found out about the altered schedule then.
That would have meant a 2-3 hour drive and 6-7 hours on the festival site before my show.
UGH!
No thanks.
Makes this hotel room feel like 'home' by comparison. 
Anyway...did I say siiiigghhh? ~
 


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 #84 

July 31st     Maryport Blues Festival
 
Well, just like life can be this gig turned out to be quite a surprise.
Nice upbeat audience for a crowd that had spent 3 days and nights listening to the blues.

When I got out there I asked them if they were all sufficiently miserable and wondered out loud if I should carry on with that theme or try to do something to cheer them up.
I more or less felt my way thru the show.
I had one hour just like everyone else.
I actually did an hour and three minutes which I heard pissed the stage manager off, but I reckon that since we didn't bitch about being moved to 6 hours later they could live with the extra 180 seconds I accidentally took.
Let's see if I can remember the set.
 
Unchain My Heart
Freaker's Ball (I decided that cheering them up was the right thing to do!)
Right To Walk Away
Lazy Day
Penicillin Penny
Yesterday's Blues
Couple More Years
(Here's where I told them I was just guessing what they wanted to hear so maybe they should tell me.)
Lucy Jordan (a shouted out request)
Shine Son (another request)
Queen of The Silver Dollar
Back for an encore of Cover Of Rolling Stone and Sylvia's Mother.
 
And, believe it or not, it was all done under the umbrella of the blues.

This will be the last tour blog entry for a  while.
Home tomorrow with view to staying put.

Of course if anything of interest happens you'll hear from me.
But you knew that, didn'tcha?

Thanks to everyone who inspires me to keep doing what I do.
It would all be pretty pointless without you.

Later folks. ~
 
 
 


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Dennis Locorriere Dennis Locorriere