So our bags were picked up at 11am, and Rose Lane and I slept a little past that. We had our “wake up” period, and then Rose Lane went to pick up my new jeans (the length had to be altered and they promised us to have them this morning…) and to settle our hotel bill. We had a little stash of food left in the fridge of our room and shared a sandwich before we did the final zip up of our bags and went down to meet everyone. We had a bus to take us to Nijmegen, Holland for our second show. The drive there was beautiful…lovely countryside, a few quaint little villages to view along the way. There was also a very large plant nursery that we passed…must have been at least a couple of miles…that had all kinds of trees and shrubs of varying ages growing on both sides of the highway, which also made for pleasant scenery.
Arriving at the gig, the place was already abuzz with activity and excitement. Lots of fans already there, and our faithful crew had everything setup backstage. We settled in to our dressing rooms. Rose Lane was going to help Caroline and Isobel and went to check with them. I had a set list ready for whenever Mick was prepared to meet with me, so I had some down time and went to the Rattlesnake for a bit to eat and hang some. So far it was a nice day, but there were some looming clouds drifting around that looked a little worrisome. I met with Mick for the set list, and with that done went to check out the stage. Rose Lane went with me, and we said hi to all the stage crew guys, giving them a heads up on the songs for the evening. I had changed the second number from Shattered to You Got Me Rocking, had changed Heartbreaker to She Was Hot and had taken out one song from the set. We also traded Waiting on A Friend in the ballad slot to Sweet Virginia. We kept Only Rock and Roll for the rollout to the B stage, but put Sympathy back in it’s usual place…just after we get back to the main stage from the B stage.
Then we went back to our dressing rooms until Keith summoned us to play in his room…we went over Happy, which he had chosen to do in his section. About the time that Van Morrison (he was opening up for us again) started his set, the skies darkened and let loose a big downpour….I don’t think Van was even into his second or third song when it happened…and man, did it pour! Van’s keyboard player uses a real piano and a Hammond B-3, and as they are positioned up near the front of the stage for their set, the instruments were literally flooded. I felt so bad for them…and for the instruments! They had to abandon their set because the rain got so bad. And it continued to rain, and rain. Finally, it was time for us to go up, and while we had waited as long as we could, it was still drizzling some when we hit. But we were very lucky….that was about the end of it and we didn’t really get much wet stuff after the first song or two. Of course the crowd was totally soaked….but they seemed to have accepted it and were a great audience right from the start.
This was a much better show than our opener in Werchter. Everyone was more focused and comfortable, and the show flowed well from beginning to end.
After the final note we were hustled out as usual…and would be driving to an airport in a small town in Germany, about an hour away to fly to Bournemouth, England where we would drive another hour to a little town called Brockenhurst where we would stay to do the Isle of Wight festival. This made for four countries in one day for us…starting out in Belgium, playing in Holland, driving to Germany for the outbound flight to England. It also made for a very, very long day! We finally got to Carey’s Manor where about half of us were staying at about 3:30am….we were split up into two hotels for this situation, as there just wasn’t enough rooms for everyone in one hotel. The principals and their security and families along with a few staff were at another place, the ?? a few miles away. All the other musicians and staff members were with us at Carey’s Manor. This is a very quaint and comfortable place….except that there is no air conditioning and we had to rely on opening the windows in our room for ventilation. Nothing very wrong with that…except that our room overlooked the front of the hotel where you could hear all the cars coming in, workers doing their thing, folks walking around and talking and so forth. Rose Lane had done well to get us a stash of ear plugs from our backstage folks, which helped out immensely. We settled in and got to bed some time after 4.
Next day was off, and after getting up and ordering some coffee, we took in our surroundings. But before going out, we had a look at some of the written material that was in the room about our locality. Spin (who has for several tours handled our luggage but has now been put in charge of our Tour Office) had told me that we were staying near what is known as the New Forest. There was a nice pamphlet in the room that told what the New Forest was all about. King William I, after conquering England back in ?? had used this area as his new hunting grounds. At that time, new grounds were called “new forests”. Since that time through the centuries, other Kings used it for the same purpose, adding other surrounding areas to expand. Eventually in modern times it was sort of “set aside” as a National Forest and is managed by the UK Forest Service. Today the New Forest consists of some 26,000 hectares (about 64,000 acres). Within it there are all sorts of wildlife…including wild horses.
After our coffee and wake up time, we went out to explore a bit. The folks at the front desk told us of a pub that was just a few blocks away towards the village, and we decided to head there. We ate lunch at the Rose and Crown…enjoying the typical pub fare and reading one of the English newspapers. After that we walked into the village of Brockenhurst to look around. It’s a charming village….with several little antique shops and other such merchant offerings in a fairly close area. One thing that makes the village unique (and this apparently applies to much of the New Forest) is that they have “cattle barriers” spread all around that keep the local horses and cows contained without so many fences and gates to contend with. These are more or less pits that are dug out wherever there are street intersections or exits…and over the pits are built some lengths of thick and strong steel tubes or square rods spaced out so that the livestock can’t walk across. These are sometimes typical on farms in the US to contain livestock…but here they keep the animals within the confines of the village, allowing the to roam around in various paddocks and fields, but not allowing them to get out into the main roads. It makes for a quaint and fun scene to see them throughout the village. We ran in to William Gilchrist (fashion consultant) and Lisa Fischer during our walk…they were sitting in a little outdoor cafe. We joined them for a bit, enjoying the nice weather and each other’s company. They had rented bikes, and after our short encounter, pedaled away for their adventure.
Rosie and I walked back to the hotel…she wanted to go paint, and I was interested in seeing about a massage. Back in the room she packed up here easel and headed to the New Forest and I worked on my computer for a while and arranged for a Thai massage (the Spa at the Manor was advertised as a Thai Spa). This turned out to be a very good decision…wow, what a great massage! I guess I’ve never had a real Thai massage before, but it totally ROCKED. In the massage room was a pad on the floor, about 4 inches thick. The petite Thai therapist instructed me on the procedure…that she would start with me face down. It was somewhat like doing yoga positions with someone assisting you in the stretching. She used her feet sometimes with her hands, gently but firmly pulling, kneading and stretching my limbs and muscles. She also used pressure points in the process…and the result was really amazing. I’ve never had such a massage before, and will certainly be looking for that kind of therapy again. I felt so relaxed and all the “assisted stretching” made my body feel loose and flexible.
Rose Lane made it back to the room after a couple of hours…she had started a scene in oil of a creek in the New Forest, with some nice trees, some cows in a pasture….very nice. She is preparing for a special trip she is taking soon….on June 16th when we are in Paris to fly to Italy….a small village called Valioliiga, Italy. She had searched out a place where she could go and paint along with some other artists…and had found this particular situation which looks fantastic. The company that runs it is called Il Chiostro (out of New York), and they have been doing this for many years. (www.ilchiostro.com). She has it all lined up and is very excited about the experience, which lasts for a week. She has been preparing her canvases, and has her paints, brushes and other gear all set.
We talked to the front desk about dinner options and decided on a place that was right next door to the Manor called ??. It was fine for our situation….the decor and atmosphere was like a French bistro or cafe. Nice food, and we shared a couple of glasses of Chablis. I think we were both more tired than we realized, and it didn’t take us long to fade out when we got back to our room.
6/10 ISLE OF WIGHT
This would be a very special opportunity for the band…to play the Isle of Wight festival. The history of the festival goes back a long way…Jimi Hendrix played his last show at the IOW in 1970, and so many other iconic bands and artists have played there in years past. The festival stopped for many years, but was revived several years ago and has grown ever since, and is now bigger than ever. It’s a three day affair, and many of the fans come for the whole thing, camping out in the surrounding area. These days the acts are in the contemporary rock category…names like Amy Winehouse, Keene and others topping the bill. The Stones had been invited to close out the festival, and had taken on the challenge. Darryl and I were especially excited about it…having known the historic nature of the festival and we really wanted this to be a good gig. Mick had told me that we needed to shorten our set…to about 90 minutes. So we had worked on the set list for a few days…kicking around ideas. For one thing, we decided on a 3 song B Stage set instead of the usual 4, and tightened up the rest of the presentation to make it as he said….“short, sweet and sugary”.
Isle of Wight is a fairly large island off the southern coast of England….we were to take a ferry from Lymington over to the island about 4pm. We all met and loaded up into a bus to get us to the port, and there we all gathered. There were quite a lot of family members coming…the Richards girls, Wood family, and some of the Jagger clan amongst them. The ferry ride over was pleasant…and gave us all an opportunity to socialize and have some fun together. It was relatively short….about 40 minutes…and there we were on the island. Another bus picked us up and took us about 20 miles or so to the site of the festival. On the way out we enjoyed the scenery…mostly nice rolling hills with little farms sprinkled around. I was told that the population of IOW is about 250,000….which was a surprise to me. I would have thought it was much less than that. It certainly doesn’t seem like a crowded place.
Arriving at the festival site, we found our respective dressing rooms (which had been set up in a motel located on the grounds). Mick had told me that he’d like to invite a couple of guests to perform with us…Paulo Nutini, a Scottish artist; and Amy Winehouse. After getting settled, I went to discuss the final details of the set with him…and he had arranged for Nutini and Winehouse to come do a little rehearsal in his dressing room with he and I. For Nutini, we decided on “Love In Vain”, and for Winehouse, “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”. Amy came in first…with her husband Blake with her. We ran over the tune…she was obviously not all that familiar with it, but after two or three times through seemed to find a comfort zone. She was kind enough to agree to a couple of photos with her, and then she went off to hang out in Keith’s dressing room. Paulo came in next, and he was quite prepared for “…Vain”. We went through it a couple of times….and it sounded fine.
With the initial rehearsal with them done, I had some down time which I spent relaxing in our dressing room for a while. I did go out to the stage once and caught part of Keene’s set…which was going down extremely well with the crowd. We had arranged a full rehearsal for Paulo and Amy in Keith’s room….and soon got to that. It was a very small room, but we all crowded in and went through the two songs, all sounding good.
Finally our time came and we made our way to the stage. There was a huge crowd….must have been 60,000 or more. From the first song it seemed we had all cylinders working…the band was grooving and the audience were grooving with us. We brought Paulo on for the fourth song of the set, and he was very well received. Amy came on two or three songs later, and also was well received…although it seemed to me that she wasn’t quite remembering the correct lyrics and was more or less just improvising her way through. She proved to be an exciting performer to watch…falling down to her knees to Mick at one point, and working well with him visually.
The rest of the set was smooth and fun….with everything going right. Good sound, pleasant weather, strong grooves and good playing all around. Darryl and I celebrated in our dressing room after the show….we usually do a “runner” with all of us being hustled into vans and driven away quickly….but in this case we were to stay after the gig. We had filmed part of it, and Mick wanted to stay and have a look at the footage…and do any necessary editing on the spot, as the songs would be played on BBC Channel 4 the next day.
We finally departed to go catch our ferry back to the mainland…which left about 12:45. From Lymington we drove in a bus back to Carey’s Manor….having to do our packing to have the bags ready for the next day’s departure to Frankfurt. It made for a very long day…but certainly a great day for all of us.