TOUR DIARY: The End Of The Road

After Belfast came a morning ferry ride to back to Scotland and a beautiful drive up the coast. In Glasgow, I dropped off my gear at the venue and went to meet up with local promoter Kevin Morris for a pint at The State Bar. Kevin put on the first show I ever played in Glasgow (opening for Israel Nash at Stereo in 2012), and he's been a great supporter ever since. I've played glasgow more than any other city and Europe, so it was fun to see friendly and familiar faces in the crowd and to catch up with folks at the merch table after the show. Glaswegians can be difficult to understand when they speak (the accent is so thick it's practically another language), but they like to drink and they like to have fun, and one of my favorite Glasgow activities is people watching on a Friday night.

The next day I got up early for a walk around the neighborhood, poking my head into shops that sell kilts and knits and even paying a quick visit to the Scottish National Piping Center, where I got a look at some historical bagpipes and tried my hand at playing a practice chanter (it mostly just sounded like a shitty duck call). In the afternoon, we headed south to Gateshead for our second-to-last-show, and arrived early enough that we could check into our hotel before the gig. When we arrived, I discovered that we were staying at a small inn just down the road from The Angel Of The North. Standing at 66 feet tall with a wingspan of 177 feet, this massive sculpture turns creepy as hell at night, looming in the dark with arms outstretched like the grim reaper waiting to scoop you up. After the show, I naturally wandered out to the foot of the statue with my camera to experiment with some long exposure shots. It turned bitterly cold and windy, though, and I realized I was standing the spot where they would totally find the body if LAW & ORDER: GATESHEAD existed, so I headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.

The tour wrapped up the next night in front of a small sunday night crowd at The Tunnels in Bristol. I'd played this venue in 2012 with Israel Nash, and I was happy to be back. It's a great sounding arched room underneath the Temple Meads railway station, which looks like a storybook castle. Sadly, there wasn't any time to explore the rest of Bristol, because after the gig, we had to head straight back to London to crash at an airport hotel so The Mastersons could catch their morning flight home to LA. My flight to NYC wasn't scheduled until 8pm, so I took the tube back into London for one last day of sightseeing. I visited the Grant Zoological Museum, a bizarre and historic little spot full of 68,000 rare animal specimens, preserved human brains, and even a jar full of moles. From there I walked over the British Museum where highlights included Egyptian mummies, the Elgin Marbles, and the Rosetta Stone, and I wrapped it all up with a walk around Big Ben and Parliament.

All in all, I played 21 shows in 26 days in 6 different countries with The Mastersons. Some tours last 7 days and feel like a month, but this month flew by in what felt like a week. I can't thank Chris and Eleanor enough for their kindness and generosity, and I won't get too mushy because I'm sure I'll be seeing them both again real soon out there on the road. For now, I get some days off at home and some much needed sleep!

Anthony D'Amato