Compiled by Terry Kilburn
Tour Diary of Guy Fletcher: 3rd September 2019 – AUSTIN TX
Austin is a great city, it’s a simple fact. Apart from the musical influences, it is one of America’s fastest growing cities where prospects and standard of living are good. Austin is known as a ‘clean-air city’ for its stringent no-smoking ordinances that apply to all public places and buildings, including restaurants and bars. That includes vaping devices now so popular across the States.
Under cloudless skies in the extreme heat (high 90’s) of the afternoon, we left the hotel Emma for our short trip, but not before Laurie and I took a short Riverside walk. We didn’t get that far as the heat was just so oppressive, energy conservation being in mind, the show for me and an afternoon of art museums for Laurie. There is some fabulous art on display here in San Antonio both in public spaces and galleries.
Since we are presently hubbing from San Antonio, today’s flight was awkwardly short, Austin being only just over an hour drive away. Literally up and down, less than 20 minutes in the air. when we arrived into Austin, the number of private jets parked up was astonishing. Easily over 100. Our driver said he had never seen so many. The reason was the huge College ball game played out this evening. The Texas Longhorns hosting LSU. The end result was a 45-38 win for LSU. The traffic on the way into town was gnarly so our experienced team of drivers who have been looking after us in San Antonio, took the back routes and got us to the venue with little delay.
The 1970’s saw Austin’s emergence in the national music scene, with local artists such as Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Over time, the long-running television program Austin City Limits, its namesake Austin City Limits Festival, and the South by Southwest music festival solidified the city’s place in the music industry. My son Max, played the South By Southwest festival earlier this year, his first ‘working’ trip to the States.
It’s always fabulous to come to Austin and play since the fans here are extremely knowledgable, musically speaking. It’s not hard to see why. Having played this theatre before, our crew were well aware of the difficulties that lay ahead for them as our production is about 10% too big for this stage. Gavin, our monitor guy and Tim, Richard’s guitar tech had to set up off the side of stage. This was offset by the fact we were able to use our own ‘L-Acoustics’ PA tonight. It all lends itself to a club-like gig as the actual room is quite small and most people are on the balconies.
Night descended quickly and we said goodbye to ‘Willie’s’ balcony outside the dressing room and took to the stage. Great show, great crowd, all the usual. We nearly killed two electric scooterists as we left the venue who whizzed in front of our departing car without a care, something that is all too common in cities where they charge unrestricted. Luckily, our driver was being extremely cautious. At the jet within 25 minutes for the super-quick hop back to San An. Tacos and a beer and we were home. Saturday night at the Hotel Emma is clearly a scene but Tim had reserved us a private table in the amazing Emma bar and we stayed until close of play at 2am.
Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.