News Archives: May 2019

Compiled by Terry Kilburn

Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: 26th May 2019 – Glasgow

Cars and vans collect us and drop us off at venues, hotels and planes throughout the tour and our 2 wonderful teams of German drivers cover extraordinary mileage to accommodate this. When things go wrong, the tour management have to think fast and a simple yet distressing van break-in overnight meant we lost a vehicle this morning. My views on what should be done with the perpetrators of such abhorrent crimes should probably not be shared here.

Logistics fascinate me, which is partly why I write these pages. Seeing the production in full swing can be remarkable enough but to realise it is completely stripped down, packed, transported and set up again within a 24-hour period is bewildering. To Dave Hall and Kevin Hopgood, our Stage and Production managers, it’s all in a day’s work. Sometimes distances are too great to reliably get the gear to the next location in time, hence the days off.

Yesterday’s travel itinerary is a good example of the logistics of moving 6 trucks and 3 buses from one arena in Dublin to another in Glasgow, 391 kilometres away. Naturally there are bigger shows out there, many in fact, but the organisation is essentially the same. After show in Dublin, the load-out begins. (There are some more time-lapse videos on their way). The trucks are packed, in VERY specific order. All flight cases are numbered and must be loaded in sequence. Local crew are used to do the majority of the heavy lifting and one of our boys will direct each load in each truck. Laurence, our Keyboard tech is particularly experienced in this department and I often see him in the back of a truck if we leave the venue an hour after the show ends. The trucks leave the venue around 2am and in this case headed for the port in Dublin to catch a 6am ferry for a 7-hour crossing to Liverpool. They then drove to the Glasgow Hydro whilst, in this case, the crew take a commercial flight and arrive in Glasgow late in the afternoon of the day off. On show day, the routine is re-established and load in begins at around 7am with the floor being marked out. The catering, rigging and production is ‘tipped’ at 8am and the rigging starts at 8:30am whilst the lights are unloaded. At 10am the audio and tech risers are tipped and at 11am, the backline. Backline is another word for all the gear that goes behind the band…guitars, keyboards, amplifiers etc. At 3pm, the crew do what is called a line check. This ensures every audio ‘line’ (there are many) works perfectly before the band show up for sound check at 5pm. Dinner is served at 5:30pm and auditorium doors open at 6:30pm. We take to the stage at 8pm and the cycle begins again.

During sound check, one of Glenn’s basses underwent a little surgery. Kevin Rowe and Glen Saggers took the neck off the bass to straighten the neck, which was showing signs of a warp. In the pics, Kevin tweaks the action whilst Glenn Worf confirms she’s good to go.

Every show is unique, from the way the band play, the on stage dynamic, to the audience. Tonight in Glasgow was another exclusive example. The only thing that doesn’t seem to change is the appreciation we get back from each audience at the end of the show. Glasgow being no different. A great show.

Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.


Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: 24th May 2019 – Dublin

Leaving London at 1pm on what promised to be the busiest day ‘ever’ in the skies over the UK, we headed for Farnborough. Along with our 5-star review in the Times yesterday, in which Danny Cummings was so eloquently described as ‘Exuberant’, I read that all air traffic records would be broken today with a notable increase in private flights, it being a Bank Holiday weekend and the Monaco Grand Prix weekend. Farnborough was heaving. 190 flights were scheduled for the day. A lot for a small airfield. We crawled our way West and eventually arrived and boarded the jet I now affectionately call the ‘White Asparagus’. At the table by my seat, was my birthday cake. Thank you Daniella.

I always wondered where the word Dublin came from. A couple of taps on a keyboard reveal it derives from the Irish word Dubhlinn which has many different spellings but means ‘black, dark’. This is in reference to a tidal pool that was located where the River Poddle entered the Liffey, on the site of the castle gardens at the rear of Dublin Castle. Maybe this is why Guinness and Murphy’s are so distinctively dark. As always when playing a show in Dublin, glasses were lined up for the encores, filled with fresh, delicious local brew courtesy of St. Peter (Mackay). Pete is always at the foot of the stage steps when we come off stage, always with an armful of towels. Mostly for Ianto and the ‘exuberant’ Danny.

For more than 20 years, Mike McGoldrick has known and worked with Seán Keane. Seán was at the show tonight and managed to drop in to the dressing room. He recently recorded a gorgeous version of ‘Piper To The End’. Such a beautiful, distinctive sean-nós (traditional style) singer, it was lovely to meet him. His descriptions of his recent work with an orchestra were fascinating.

For anyone who has ever wondered what it’s like standing at Mark’s vocal mic all night and virtually playing ‘blind’, here’s an indication (below). A shot from that viewpoint with both follow spots on. Tellson James, our LD (lighting designer) has recently implemented a new truss extension which houses two remote controlled spotlights. These are operated by one of the lighting boys from an ingenious device known as a ‘RoboSpot’. Looking more like a Harley Davidson than a lighting controller, the operator can fully control the spot positions and focus and view on a remote screen.

Everywhere I went today, I kept hearing the word ‘exuberant’, the review in the Times has clearly left an impression. Suddenly, Danny has his own dressing room and extensive dinner menu!

Yesterday’s day off meant we were well rested and recovered from the stresses of playing the RAH. Even though it’s nothing other than a priviledge to play there, it is nonetheless stressfull, home town, families, friends, reviews! Dublin was the perfect place to play next. Historically an amazing audience and they certainly didn’t let us down tonight. An incredible reception. All in all quite a day. Thank you to all who have sent me Birthday wishes. You are all too kind.

Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.


Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: 21st 22nd May 2019 – London Royal Albert Hall

Absolutely one of the UK’s most iconic and prestigious buildings, the Royal Albert Hall is without doubt the venue we enjoy performing at the most. The atmosphere there is special. As I’ve said many times, you can feel the history of the building every time you step out onto that stage. The events of the past of course aren’t just limited to music. The Hall has hosted everything from political Rallies, Suffragette meetings, State receptions, costume balls, exhibitions, sporting events and even an indoor Marathon in 1909. This was a competition between the Italian Dorando Pietri and the Londoner C W Gardiner. The two competitors had to run 524 laps of auditorium which was covered in coconut matting for a £100 prize. Another remarkable event was the Titanic Memorial Concert on May 24th, 1912. The event, which took place 40 days after Titanic sank, was arranged to raise money for the families of the bandsmen who famously continued playing as the ship went down.

Lovingly referred to as ‘The Voice of Jupiter’ is the second largest organ in the United Kingdom with 9,997 pipes and 147 stops. It makes my little Hammond XK3-C and mini Leslie cabinet look a little pathetic. Nonetheless, we can make a pretty big sound with the help of a few other band mates and an extraordinary PA system.

Backstage at the Albert Hall hasn’t changed much in all the years we’ve been coming here yet every time we do, we have a different room for the band dressing room. When the renovations were made to the underground section of the building in 2011, catering was moved down to the lower level where there is now a full kitchen and dining area. It used to be a bit of a squeeze upstairs, especially when catering for the larger than usual family guest numbers. We found ourselves in one of the many backstage bars this time where John is pictured preparing the pre-show Ginger, Honey and Lemon tea drinks for all those who require.

Ear-man Gavin Tempany is the person with arguably the toughest gig in the room. Gavin gives the band their individual in-ear monitor mixes. Everyone has a unique mix which can change for every scene change. Some songs have multiple scene changes. Gavin also ‘rides’ levels in real time for band members should they need it. With eleven band members this is no easy task and we are always tweaking and improving things at every sound check. Gavin agreed to step in to replace our long-serving monitor guy, Kerry Lewis who is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment. We all wish Kerry the best and a speedy recovery.

Rarely seen anywhere else, never during a show, Dave Dixon is pictured at the helm of the FOH desk by my brother Dan who was at the show on the first night. Dan bought down a few more Orbitsound E30 Docks for the band and watched the show from there. He was mightily impressed as I suspected he would be.

Topping off both evenings, we enjoyed after-show drinks both nights with a multitude of guests, friends and families. It’s always quite a scene as there are just so many folks who want to say hi and chat, especially for Mark. It was lovely to see Hal Lindes and John Illsley the second night. Fun was had by all and with a day off to follow, some of the band actually had a few drinks!

Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.


Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: 19th May 2019 – Newcastle

Wherever we play, we meet lovely people and enjoy wonderful audiences but tonight, Newcastle was special. Mark began his musical journey not far from the Metro Radio Arena and every return visit in the past has been emotional but this evening was different. From the minute we walked out onto the stage, we all felt genuine warmth from the audience, even more so during the farewells. Many of the fans in the crowd have enjoyed the shows in the past, sometimes on multiple occasions but I’d like to think this show was the most special, so far.

How lucky are we? Here to do a job to the best of our abilities, but also to have fun and perform Mark’s songs in the best possible way. With the combined talent on the stage, this amazing crew and the technology available to us now, we have everything we need. There are no excuses.

Years of trial, error, failure, success and bloody-mindedness seem to be culminating in the music we play now. From the ethos behind Mark’s British Grove Studios to the touring team that have stuck with us for 30 years or more, I feel we might be onto something. That, combined with the many ‘character-building moments’ up there (nobody is perfect), make every performance a night to cherish. There is a tremendous energy… for a bunch of old ‘dudes’. Horn section not included!

As we left the ‘puzzling’ Vermont hotel to go to the venue, I wondered about the meaning of the word ‘unrivalled’ as quoted on the hotel website. As I write this in London, it is clear there is a giant chasm between Vermont and our London experience. Extreme ends of a galactic scale. There is however, one thing about Newcastle, the people are wonderful. So friendly, accommodating and warm. It’s hard to be negative about anything in such a wonderful toon.

Years of touring mean our crew is tough and experienced but it certainly hasn’t  dampened their spirits. There is a real camaraderie and when we arrive at the venue, there are many smiles and laughs, particularly from Kevin Rowe, Stage Right guitar tech…and Ben Byford (pictured behind him). Gazing out of the dressing room window across the car park at the rear of the Arena, I spot Dan, from lights, perfecting a one-legged technique on his ‘Segway Ninebot’. I make myself some Peppermint Tea. There’s a tour joke. It goes like this…”what are the three things you don’t want on the road?…headache, stomach ache and Greg Lake”. Well today I had the stomach ache, three days of German indulgence, so I was looking for some simple White Rice to settle it. Dave, in catering, had a huge tray of exactly that, bloody amazing. Combined with the Tea, it did the trick. I was fine for the show.

Everyone had a great gig. Mark was playing some beautiful stuff and sang well no doubt buoyed by the welcome-home atmosphere. It was all too soon when we left the building, piled into the cars and headed to Newcastle International Airport for our short flight to Luton and a day off at the hotel of all hotels in London. Daniella served an amazing looking Curry. I of course could only eat the Rice. It was not long before we were in our beds, resting up for our next show. One of the shows we all look forward to. Thanks to Aidan Williamson for sending couple of shots.

Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.


Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: 18th May 2019 – Leeds

‘On a day of cultural adjustment, we breakfasted in Berlin after a relaxing day off there. After 3 weeks of intensive gigging on the continent, we were suddenly back on British soil once again. Yesterday, our 6 trucks and 3 buses made their steady way from Hannover to Leeds via Calais whilst the band base-camped out of the luxurious Hotel de Rome overlooking the Bebelplatz, a hotel that really knows how to be a hotel. It was a bike ride for Laurie and I and lunch in the Teirgarden then dinner at the Augustiner restaurant to be joined by Mark, Danny, Ianto and Tim. A nightcap on the chilly rooftop bar for all those who insist that Summer is really here and the day was done.

Weekend traffic was light heading out of the city and we soon found ourselves at our favourite ghost airport for the fourth time in three days. Surreal is the word that springs to mind as we turned onto the deserted section of autobahn leading to the Brandenberg terminals. Once through immigration with a short pause for the officer to recognise that we’d been in Europe for 3 weeks, we boarded the Joyjet, had a light lunch and a brief nap for our 1 hour 50 minute flight into Leeds/Bradford airport.

Disco naps, catnaps, power naps, whatever you want to call them, they are common for touring musicians and older folks in general. Combine the two and it’s like a communal deep sleep workshop. It’s actually essential as our working day never starts until 8pm. Later in Spain and Italy. It probably sounds a bit daft but timing your energy levels to match show time is not easy. Nutrition, rest and luxuriation control, if you know what I mean, are all determining factors and we won’t pretend that we’re anywhere near its mastery. Yet as the tour progresses and we get shows under our belts, we get better at it. Dinner, a minimum of 2 hours before the show and a nap straight after doesn’t always work. Over-napping can be disastrous. The mind can wander on stage and that’s how mistakes occur. No they don’t. I was just kidding. I think. Anyway, it was lovely to be welcomed into the First Direct Arena by another group of very happy, loyal ‘lifers’ (as I heard some of them call themselves). Mark signed autographs willingly and some even made it round to the other side of the car to ask for mine. Our creative geniuses in the kitchens have started modelling the evening salad bars on nutritional content and most of the band tuck in to incredible combinations of super-foods after sound check. This is where supreme self control is required. The dinner choices are so tempting, it would be so easy to fill up and…well you know. Today, it was a double salad and an infinitesimally small portion of Dave’s famous chocolate fondant. Those who have my cook book from the last tour will know the one I mean.

On to the show. British audiences can be reserved, a shock after being on the continent but the only shock this evening was that they were amazing. Such an incredible welcome back to Leeds for Mark after 26 years. The last time we played here was 1993 with the Notting Hillbillies and before that it was 1980 as DS. The joy was heard by the band throughout the show and the thanks and appreciation given at the end was quite overwhelming. Mark, Glenn and I talked in the car about the fact that everyone, literally everyone was on their feet waving and applauding as we waved our goodbyes from the stage. I suppose we must be doing something right. We ‘ran’ the the jet once again only to find a couple of guys fiddling with the makeshift security scanner set up in an aircraft hanger. We had to wait a few minutes while they sorted it out but we were back on board soon and Daniella had layed out Pulled Pork Burgers for the ravenous horde. They were inevitably devoured. It always amazes us that no matter what you eat before a show, you could eat a horse afterwards. Newcastle Upon Tyne on a Saturday night is quite a sight as we rolled into the city at midnight for our ‘quiet’ one-night stay at the ‘Elegant, Timeless, Unrivalled, Vermont hotel. The night club outside was only just revving up at midnight. 20 years ago I might have said to myself, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. Ahh well, it’s comforting to learn that Engelbert Humperdinck and Geordie duo Ant and Dec have stayed here. Eeh by gum.

Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.


Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: 16th May 2019 – Hannover

Memories of Hannover on tour go back a long way and we all recall a particular show here in 1996 in the 1940’s U-Boat hall which at that time was used as a venue for concerts. It was particularly uncomfortable for our crew who had to battle with extreme heat and residual oil on the floor which seemed to get everywhere and left all our cabling covered. Thankfully, things have moved on and it has since been reconverted into a ‘Yellow’ furniture outlet and our subsequent shows in this city have been in one of the largest trade fair venues in the world, the Hannover Messe. The TUI hall is located at its heart and is another beautifully designed, modern venue, resulting in a happy crew.

Everything about today’s weather was grey, the rain fell in Berlin as we left the city centre for our day-trip via the Willy Brandt ghost airport to Hannover. It’s hard to comprehend the plight of this airport. I know I mentioned it yesterday but we get to see what so few can, its ghoulish emptiness as private charter aircraft can use its runways and infrastructure, not of course the terminal, which seems to be terminally crippled. They actually run empty ghost trains through the airport subways stations to keep them ventilated.

Sunlight is guaranteed above the cloud and we were soon cruising at 28,000 ft. Danielle was back on board serving up a light Middle Eastern Mezze lunch accompanied by another birthday cake, this time for Mark’s manager Paul Crockford. Backstage at the venue, Paul was serenaded several times by band members.

Sound check at the venue was unremarkable yet efficient. Everything sounded great as we made a few minor alterations. What was remarkable was catering, once more. Dave, Chris, Steve and Scott enjoyed perfect kitchen facilities and rustled up some devilishly stunning dinner choices amongst which were Seared Tuna Steaks and a Penang Beef Curry to die for.

Every day, this production, in its entirety, moves from city to city and the band rarely get to see how it gets taken down and rebuilt. Lighting tech Dan Oswald has recently been shooting some time lapse scenes. Below is a real insight into how it all happens. From Milan on May 10th, notice how the backline is assembled on the stage, out of position, and then rolled in once the lights and PA are up. The band left the stage after another glorious show courtesy of a lovely Hannover audience and we headed back through some unearthly fog to Berlin for our day off. The crew meanwhile had a bit of a trip… to Calais, a ferry crossing and a journey to Leeds, no doubt through some UK daytime traffic.

Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.


Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: 13th May 2019 – Cologne

Kölsch and Himmel und Erde. Cologne has many wonderful things to offer visitors and the local beer, Kölsch, is soft, refreshing and gentle the morning after. Flying in as we did, from Strasbourg the previous night, the familiar Hyatt view across the Rhine at the Deutzer Brücke, or Deutz Suspension Bridge, is as spectacular as it is comforting. Simply because it is highly likely that we have stayed in this hotel more times than any other in the world. It is the go-to Cologne hub and its location is unbeatable. Tw minutes from the Lanxess Arena and a short walk across the bridge to the old town with its numerous bars and restaurants. In accordance with enviable German competence, every time we come, the hotel interior has had a facelift. Everything works. Sadly the bar was closed when we arrived. Probably just as well.

Ön the day of the show, everyone was relaxed and rested at the venue. The crew were ready for band sound check at 4:30pm and we ran through a few things in the now familiar Lanxess hall. Many people have commented or asked about what we are using for amplifiers for the guitars since the stage is devoid of such things, largely to accommodate the huge band. Some have guessed correctly, we are using Kemper profiling amps. Mark’s long-serving guitar tech, Glenn Saggers along with Mark (when he wasn’t in Edinburgh with me preparing the Local Hero musical) has devoted much of his time in the past 6 months to recreating Mark’s unique sounds has done an amazing job. This switch from ‘real’ amps to digital devices is not for the feint-hearted and it wasn’t without its doubters. Now we are up and running and more than two weeks into the tour, we are all on board with them. They certainly allow for incredible separation in both in-ear monitors and front of house system. The sounds are amazingly responsive and malleable.

Lovely cities tend to be accompanied by lovely audiences and the Cologne crowd continued with the tour trend of waiting until each songs’ final note finishes before they burst into applause. Typically at the end of the set, there is a joyous rush to the front of the stage and when we return for our encores, we can see the hundreds of smiling faces. As we waved our goodbyes, we could see the people at the very far reaches of the upper tiers in the hall were every bit as excited as those lucky enough to be down the front. Wonderful.

No concert in Cologne with a day off to follow would be complete without an apres-bar in room session with DJ’s Fletch and McGoldrick. The hotel received our five star Rock’n’Roll stamp of approval when I ordered a bucket of ice and what was delivered was almost large enough to bathe in. I said to the waiter “we’ll try not to make too much noise” to which he replied “oh, don’t worry about that sir”. At 4:30am, I reluctantly turfed the boys out as I had a morning dental appointment to fix a chipped tooth a few days earlier. Had I not, we could easily have watched the sunrise across the Rhine.

Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.


DTRW Tour – New Date Added

Mark, along with special guest Bonnie Raitt, is adding a performance at New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden on September 25.

Tickets are available for presale to fans on Wednesday, May 15 at 10:00 am Eastern Time (3 pm BST) at both and, as well as via Live Nation on Thursday, May 16 at 10:00 am Eastern Time (3 pm BST).

The general public can purchase tickets beginning Friday, May 17 at 10:00 am Eastern Time (1 pm BST). Each ticket comes with a copy of Down the Road Wherever.

The best way to buy tickets is from where you will also find details of safe fan-to-fan resale sites. You are urged not to purchase tickets from resellers whose authenticity of tickets/prices cannot be guaranteed.


Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: 12th May 2019 – Strasbourg

After a beautiful Milano show, the band stayed put whilst the trucks and buses drove back across the Alps to Strasbourg. I had lunch with a dear friend of ours, Alessandro Ragni, who always looked after us whenever we visited Italy for promos. Alessandro is Mister food and wine. A trained Sommelier and a portal into everything beautiful about Italian food. Then a brief shopping spree amongst the thousands of ‘Alpinis’. Milan, this weekend, is the backdrop for the colourful parade and rally marking the centenary of the National Alpini Association, the famous Mountain Warfare Infantry Corps. of the Italian army.

Later in the afternoon, the predicted weather system loomed on the North West horizon. The ensuing thunderstorm lasted over an hour and did not disappoint. By the time we were ready for dinner, it had passed leaving the air crisp and clear. This was our third visit to a family restaurant just around the corner called Rovello 18.

Sunday morning and the cars and vans negotiated their way out of central Milan with its many blocked streets ready for the day’s Alpini marches. We were at the GAT at Linate and on board the Joy bird in no time. A short, bumpy hop over the Alps and we landed in the beautiful Alsace. Cars and vans ready and waiting, we transferred and were at the venue in 15 minutes where Mark once again stopped and signed a few things for the hard-core.

A cleansing, healing bowl of Minestrone soup and we were ready for another Zenith sound check. A small but significant set list change and we were done, leaving the stage once more for Juke Ross, our support in France…and the U.K.

Computer screens by the side of the stage were showing live streams of the top two Premiership football matches on what is the final day of the season. Simon, Laurence, Dave and other crew boys were getting excited as Man. City were 1-0 down to Brighton. Not for long though.

Evening approached and for us it was a 9pm show time. We enjoyed a beautiful, listening audience that went quite wild once we got into the encores. Once again, it seemed like we could have stood there and waved goodbye forever but we had a plane to catch and another short hop up to Cologne. Again, much toasting and clinking of glasses as we reflected on yet another special day in this band.

Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.


Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: 10th May 2019 – Milano

Milan. Well, it seems there’s hardly time to draw breath before we are on the move again. With this incredible touring machine now in full swing, we find ourselves in Italy once more and in front of the fabulous Milanese crowd. The evening concert at the Mediolanum Forum was another night to remember. We don’t often applaud each other in the intervals between encores but tonight we did. There is an emotional thread running through the band these days, for obvious reasons.

Incredible as it seems, this team of people (band and crew) is the largest we’ve had since the heady Straits days and in view of what this tour means, we are frequently reminded of those early tours, nearly 40 years ago. Of course Mark started touring before I did and I’m sure he lost count of the numbers a long time ago. I know I did.

Late breakfasts are now a regular theme and the morning Dolder treats were delivered to my room. Having had my ‘breakfast club’ membership revoked (for under-use), I breakfast alone every morning. Mark, Glenn Worf, Paul Crockford, Tim Hook and St. Peter Mackay are the core of the morning club. I did once venture down to their combined shock, funnily enough, in Milan, in 2013.

At 2:45pm the band met the drivers and we left the Dolder, only for a couple of months though as we’ll be back in July (hooray). At the airport, Peter alerted us to the fact that every suitcase had been searched by security. Unsure as to why. Maybe they were bored. It didn’t delay our departure and we were soon in the air again, heading over the snow-capped Lepontine Alps towards Milan where the weather was a balmy 73°F.  We ‘deplaned’ and headed for the venue in some quite heavy traffic.

No time to waste, a horde of soup dragons were crowded around the pot for our customary pre-sound check, pre-dinner treat. Today it was Cauliflower, Caraway and Shallot. Dear God! Nothing to report from sound check, just another boomy hall from which we are mercifully protected by our in ear monitors. It was an after show runner for all this evening and the van dropped us off at the hotel whereupon most in the entourage gravitated to my room for an evening of beautiful Portobello Gin, courtesy of Mark, music, celebration and laughter.

Out on my hotel balcony, Mike and I embraced the Milanese evening air and raised our glasses to this moment in time. This tour is a celebration of so many things and we all cherish every waking moment… as my morning headache will doubtless testify!

Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.