Compiled by Terry Kilburn
Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: 31st August 2019 – Milwaukee WI
Boldly striding to the elevators, heading for the gym and the addiction that is Peloton, I ignore the usually unknown hunger sensation, preferring to wait until after the workout to eat. Danny is already on one of the bikes having been seduced by the charms of Ally Love and co. With bluetooth headsets we pedal and sweat towards our own virtual goals. The in-room bowl of Granola, Yoghurt, Honey and fresh Kiwi fruit is inhaled so quickly, I prepare a second. The ‘meet’ for the ‘leave’ was set for 2:45pm, it’s only a 20 minute magic carpet ride up along the Lake coast to Milwaukee, home to Beer, Brats and much German ancestry and brewing knowledge. Natalie had ordered a round of Beef and Cheddar Croissants. “It’s a Chicago thing” she explains. Who knew? I picked at mine tentatively and succumbed to its meaty greasiness. Bad but good.
Riverside Theatre. A well known, regular touring venue, our crew never look forward to its load-in with too much glee. It’s VERY tight in there and with the narrow alleyway being the only way in, the truck drivers earn their money today. The most notable thing about the backstage area is that there isn’t one. It’s tight and the dressing rooms are up a narrow flight of stairs. 8 floors in all. The top floor is designated for catering and when I walked in (I stupidly climbed all 8 flights) I caught my breath and remembered that these guys are good. They freshly cook all the food in the kitchen up here, the staff are lovely, the food is wonderful and there is a lovely Barista on hand to make the best Flat White of the tour so far. Actually the ‘only’ Flat White. We have a Nespresso machine in the dressing room at all times which most of the band use regularly, 20 minutes before show time, we have what has become known as ‘tactical’ coffee.
Along the river bank outside, the crew stacked the flight cases as there is simply no space inside. This can be an issue in bad weather, or even snow but there is simply no other option. Across on the other side of the river, there is the ‘Bronze Fonz’ statue, depicting Henry Winkler from ‘Happy Days’ which was filmed here. I would have walked across for a shot but sound check was upon us. I also wanted to visit the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center a 20 minute walk from the theatre, not least as the building is featured in the artwork for my last solo album ‘High Roads’. It was designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen and built in 1956. Saarinen also designed the control tower at Washington Dulles airport which I also featured, yet I was unaware of that connection until today.
The show was upon us once again and we all squeezed into the wings in preparation, along with a rather surly police officer at whom I smiled. There was no response. Charming, I thought. He was there all night, I’m not sure why. I avoided eye contact throughout the show. Guess what? It was another amazing audience and when Mark went through the now quite lengthy band introductions, he paused slightly before announcing “from Madison, Wisconsin, Glenn Worf”. Huge cheers. Biggest of the night until the encores of course. They definitely didn’t want us to leave.
Side of stage, Peter had prepared cups of Draught Leinenkugel beers, at Mark’s suggestion, before the final encore…the idea being to see if it tastes even better out of the tap. The answer is yes. We fell back onto the stage, belching, for the last song then waved our goodbyes to Milwaukee and headed to the jet, Natalie, Brats with pickled onions and more Leinenkugels. 20 minutes later we were coming into Midway once again and 20 minutes after that we were at the hotel for a speedy turnaround for those who needed yet more to this day. Pippins is an Irish bar one block away that we’ve been to many times before. It was as loud in there as I remember but the beer was great and the company even better. Happy Days indeed.
Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.