Roger Waters European Tour 2018

I will be touring with Roger Waters playing saxophone on his 'Us + Them' tour during 2018. This blog follows my day to day activities on the road.

My blogs from previous tours during 2006 - 2008, the Sandy Relief Concert in 2012, Desert Trip / Mexico City 2016, the US and Canada tour 2017 and Australasia 2018 can be found here along with additional tour pics on flickr.


Tuesday, 22nd May 2018 : Madrid : Since we got in so late last night I slept very late. I still managed to do an Insanity workout with Dave though. I don't know Madrid, having never been here before, so wandered around a bit to get the lie of the land. By the evening I was knackered again, so got some noodles from a nearby Japanese place and had an early night.

Monday, 21st May 2018 : Lisbon / Madrid : Our second show in Lisbon. A quick spin around town then off to the venue around 4pm. It is a blast to play to the great Portugese crowd one more time. I took a few shots from my backstage perspective. After the show it is straight to the airport. Security had some kind of problem and held us up in Lisbon for almost an hour. We eventually got away and on to Madrid. Bed by 5.

Sunday, 20th May 2018 : Lisbon : Show one in Lisbon. Earlier in the day I wandered about for a bit, then at 3 headed to the Altice arena. Karol Guaitolini came to the show and we met up in hospitality. The show started at 9.20pm rather than the more usual 8.20. The Portugese audience were amazing and it was hugely enjoyalble performing for them.

Saturday, 19th May 2018 : Lisbon : Day two in Lisbon. Insanity in gym. Pick up some muesli and yogurt. Go to park for a practise. Where did the day go? Dinner. Evening constitutional. Bed.

Friday, 18th May 2018 : Lisbon : Our first of two days off in Lisbon. After last nights late one, I decided to take it easy today. ( Apart from kicking off Insanity once again ). I did find a place in the open air to do a bit of practise. A park above our hotel with a bunch of disused houses was ideal. Later in the day I headed to the docks for an excellent piece of tuna and some local wine. Movie and bed.

Thursday, 17th May 2018 : Vienna / Lisbon : We travel from Vienna to Lisbon today. The trip was easy, although at 3 hours, was a little longer than most. We got in to the hotel around 7pm. I met up with the amazing Brazilian singer Karol Guaitolini and after dinner headed to a late night jam at Fabrica Braço de Prataon on the other side of town. Some excellent players got up and jammed. I played 'Softly As In A Morning Sunrise' with a great, responsive rhythm section. The jam was over before I had a chance to play some more, so I headed back to the hotel around 2am.

Wednesday, 16th May 2018 : Hamburg / Vienna : A show in Vienna later today. First we must fly from Hamburg. Unlike the US segment of the tour, we must go through security in the airport terminal before boarding. I miss driving straight on to the tarmac and getting on the plane. It is still much quicker flying on a commercial flight however. The Austrian audience were not the most animated, but seemed to enjoy themselves. We stayed in Vienna after and will travel to Lisbon tomorrow.

Tuesday, 15th May 2018 : Hamburg : We have a free day in Hamburg today. I took advantage of the simple to use StadtRAD bicycle hire system and cycled round the Alster Lakes. Later I went down to the docks and along to the fishmarket. Here I came across a U-boat docked on the Elbe. It is incredible that an 80 man crew was able to survive in such cramped conditions. This particular submarine was in fact a Russian example, but I still came away with a strong impression of how terrifying it must have been to be engaged in actual combat. In the evening I had a hamburger and beer on the Reeperbahn, before riding back to the hotel.

Monday, 14th May 2018 : Hamburg : We play the Barclaycard Arena today. Killer and I gave the Insanity a miss, to give him some time to recover. There was a mix up with the vans to take us to the venue, so we hung around in front of the hotel for a bit. Then a 4 taxis were called and we got to the arena in the end. Killer played splendidly during the show, in spite of not feeling 100%. The audience were appreciative. Roger took the opportunity to make his views about Palestine very clear. He took pains to seperate his criticism of Israels treatment of the Palestinians; which he is, from antisemitism; which he is not. Back to the hotel for German beer and sausages.

Sunday, 13th May 2018 : Brussels / Hamburg : Unusually, we are travelling the day after a show in Antwerp and a day before the show in Hamburg. Usually we fly out after a show or fly in for a show. There was a bit of drama on the plane when Killer turned white as a sheet and looked very ill. On arrival an ambulance was waiting at the tarmac and he was whisked away to a local hospital. A number of tests were run, but apart from being sick as a parrot and dehydrated he seemed fine. After being on a drip to get him hydrated, he was sent back to the hotel with a bad head, but not much the worse for wear. Phew! The rest of us spent a quiet night in.

Saturday, 12th May 2018 : Brussels / Antwerp / Brussels : The day of our second show in Antwerp. There is some kind of street festival going on in Brussels, so we had to wend our way through the throng to get to our vans. We still arrived in plenty of time for soundcheck without losing any band members along the way. Roger refined the theatrics during 'Pigs' before routining the kids as usual. Another fun show with an attentive Belgian audience. Back to our Brussels hotel for the last time. Off to Hamburg tomorrow.

Friday, 11th May 2018 : Brussels / Antwerp / Brussels : We have the first of two shows in Antwerp today. It takes about 50 minutes on the bus. The audience are all seated in this venue, so our expectation was for a less vociferous reception than the last couple of shows. The band played excellently however. The follow spot on me during my solos seems to make me more visible to the crowd. I am always happy to be the centre of attention on stage. The trip back to Brussels took slightly longer than expected due to a diversion around the airport. A pleasant nightcap in the hotel bar with Roger and a few of the band after the show.

Thursday, 10th May 2018 : Brussels : A day off in Brussels. I suspect it is unlikely to be as eventful as either of the two days in Zagreb. It started with an insanity workout with Killer. The rest of the day was spent sightseeing and catching up with some computer related paperwork. Steak and frites with some great Belgian beer for dinner. I watched the excellent Churchill biopic 'Darkest Hour' after, then time for bed.

Wednesday, 9th May 2018 : Zagreb / Lyon / Brussels : We fly straight to Lyon and on to the venue. The Halle Tony Garnier is a very large and unusually shaped room. The show was fun. Straight back on the plane and on to Brussels before 1am. I was knackered, so headed straight to bed.

Tuesday, 8th May 2018 : Zagreb : The day kicked off with meeting Darlinka and Vlado at the town hall. Armed with one of Vlado's bicycles I set off to climb Sljeme. I have uploaded pics from the ascent on Flickr ( see link below ). At 1,033 meters, this is the loftiest climb I have attempted on a bicycle. I made it in about 90 minutes from the town centre. The descent was exceedingly hairy, with my brakes getting very hot. It didn't help that my phone ran out of charge at the top, so I had no satnav. This made the round trip a little over 40Km. In the evening, by way of thankyou to Darlinka for sorting out a bike, I took her to dinner. She rejected Jon Lemon's gourmet restaurant suggestions. Instead we went to a hidden restaurant in a tenement. This was just a normal flat with three tables in the sitting room for customers. We were served whatever the cook had come up with for that day. Some excellent chicken liver pate and home made bread followed by beef and vegetable stew with gnocchi. Excellent. In addition, one of the other customers was a rather drunk Jurica Novosel. He was persuaded to get out his violin and played a selection of passionate and flamboyant Gypsy tunes. What a day!

Monday, 7th May 2018 : Zagreb : I started the day by wandering around Zagreb. I was looking for a place to hire a bicycle, but didn't come across anywhere suitable. Later in the day I decided to take my sax with me and find a place to practise. I found a park close to a main road where I thought no one would hear me. It was actually quite close to the town hall. After about an hour, a gentleman called Martin appeared and gave me 20 Kruna. He was the assistant of Darlinka Jug, who was in charge of cycling infrastructure in Zagreb and liked sax playing. I mistook Martin to say that his boss played sax, so I went with him to meet her in her office across the road. There, I was given a beer and met Emile who, as well as working for Darlinka, was a singer with musical connections in Zagreb. Darlinka's area of interest in the local goverment is cycling infrastructure. Later we went to the local velodrome where I met cycling legend Vlado Fumić. After a pizza with Darlinka and her daughter Taminika, we headed to the Harmika jazz pub where I was able to sit in with the band. I had a splendid evening with highlights being playing 'Moondance' and 'Sunny' with Emile. Many excellent musicians were in attendance.

Sunday, 6th May 2018 : Sophia / Zagreb : I was woken up at 10am by three MiG-29's flying, what sounded like, a couple of feet above the roof of the hotel. When I popped my head out of the window I was treated to a full on display of might by the Bulgarian army. This was celebrating the Day of Valour. It wasn't long before we boarded the bus for our flight to Zagreb. I had no idea what to expect from the Croatian crowd. They were tremendous. The loudest, most enthusiastic so far. I have been given a radio controlled device which allows the lights to follow me around the stage automatically. It was a little disconcerting at first, but seems to be quite effective. I will reserve judgement till I have worn it for a few more shows.

Saturday, 5th May 2018 : Sophia : A day off in Sophia. It is a public holiday, so there are plenty of people around. I went to the park to see some communist period sculptures that are regularly repainted by the locals in fanciful ways. American supeheroes was one on the most popular. Unfortunately, they are cleaned up by the local government just as regularly. On this occasion they were with embelishments. As I headed out to dinner fireworks erupted over the city. Quite noisy and spectacular.

Friday, 4th May 2018 : Budapest / Sophia : Wake up in Budapest. Shower. Pack bags. Check out of the hotel by noon. Bus to the airport. Fly to Sophia. Bus to the venue. Soundcheck. Eat dinner. Change into stage clothes. Show starts at 8.20. I don't have to be on stage till 'Brick', so generally get to warm up and practise a bit before going on. The kids from Sophia were particularly well drilled and didn't put a foot wrong. Interval. Second half, where I go behind the stage for 'Dogs' and can play along with the band, without being heard out front. This lets me check my in ear monitors and get comfortable. Onstage for 'Money' and 'Us and Them'. Offstage till 'Eclipse'. Roger introduces the band. Off stage till the end of 'Numb'. Onstage for bow. Onto bus. Change back into civies at the hotel, so that stage clothes can be returned to Sonja, who does wardrobe. Go to bar for a drink with Roger and the band. Hit the hay in Sophia around 2am.

Thursday, 3rd May 2018 : Budapest : Our last day off in Budapest. Another beautiful, sunny day. Ideal for climbing up to the castle on the Buda side of the river. I had fun wandering around for most of the day. Later I got on a bike and headed back to the City park; this time with my saxophone. I had spotted a place to play on my previous visit, where I thought I could practise without being disturbed, or disturbing anyone. I was correct apart from being offered a Euro from a passing music student. A quiet night in with a beer and a movie in the evening.

Wednesday, 2nd May 2018 : Budapest : In the morning I went a little way along the Danube to visit the shoes by the riverbank. This is a sculpture in memory of the atrocities committed by the Arrow Cross party between 1944-45. Our soundcheck was at 5 as usual. Roger has decided to feature himself soloing on guitar at the end of 'Picture That'. It was great to catch up with Tony and Mary Satchell once again. A fab show with a great Hungarian audience. Back to the hotel for a nightcap with the band.

Tuesday, 1st May 2018 : Budapest : The May Day celebrations were well underway by the time I woke up. The tone of the event is very much a street party. Very different from the more politically orientated happenings of yesteryear. Everything was closed, apart from bars and restaurants. I rented a bike and headed for the City Park. Street food stalls, carnival rides, a music stage; all the fun of the fair. In the evening I met my friends Tony and Mary, who had flown in earlier. We ate at the Karoly restaurant which served good local food and some excellent Villany wine. I wobbled back to the hotel on my bicycle after a glass of pear brandy.

Monday, 30th April 2018 : Budapest : Insanity work out with Dave in the late morning as usual. There are preparations going on for May day all over town. The area around the Chain bridge is going to be cordoned off to enable motorcar racing. Some of the participants had their machines on display in one of the main streets. I had a Goulash and some local red wine for dinner. The wine was good but I have had better Goulashes in the Czech Republic. I can only say that, as I am am writing this blog entry from Bulgaria. lol

Sunday, 29th April 2018 : Budapest : We have three days off in Budapest. I am looking forward to exploring, as this is the first time I have visited the city. On this first day I decided to walk around rather than cycle. The sun is out, the sky is blue .....

Friday, 27th April 2018 : Bologna / Prague : Our visit to Prague this time will be a flying one. Straight to the venue having just flown in from Bologna. Soundcheck. Show. Hotel. A quick wander by the river to get some air before bed. We have another show tomorrow and fly directly to Budapest afterward.

Thursday, 26th April 2018 : Bologna : We have a day off before we travel to Prague for a couple of shows. I booked online to visit the Asinelli tower at 2pm. The only way to the top is climbing on foot. Surprisingly, the feeling of vertigo was more inside the tower than out. The views from the top were worth the effort of the climb however. Afterwards I headed into the hills for a different perspective on the area. Once back at the hotel I picked up my horn and headed to the John Lennon / Charlie Parker park for 90 minutes of practise ( and a bit of playing for inquisitive kids ). Considering Insanity in the morning, the tower, the hill climb and then the walk to and from the park, I got plenty of exercise. In the evening it was Tagliatelle Bolognese and a glass of wine with Simon and Dave. A good way to cap off our trip to Italy.

Wednesday, 25th April 2018 : Bologna : Aother beautiful day in beautiful Bologna. We bussed to the venue for the last time this tour. The seats have been removed, so we are back to a standing audience. A terrific show. We had a nice, relaxed aftershow get together back at the hotel.

Tuesday, 24th April 2018 : Bologna : I went exploring after the morning workout. I happened along Via Piella which has a small window opening on Bologna's hidden canal system. The 12th century canal system has been systematically hidden underground, unlike Venice. Latedr I came across the John Lennon and Charlie Parker park. A couple of alto players were doing some practising there, I decided to come back on our first day off to get some playing in. The audience was seated at the Unipol Arena on tonights penultimate show in Bologna. This usually translates into a more reserved crowd, but that doesn't seem to apply here! Great fun. One more to do tomorrow.

Monday, 23rd April 2018 : Bologna : Our first day off in Bolonga. It is a beautiful day, so I headed out on foot to explore the town. Almost immediately I came across Sian, San, Simon and Daren in a cafe. It was great to catch up. Some time and a couple of capucinos later I carried on my exploration of Bologna. There are a lot of churches in this city. It is a very beautiful Medievil town. In the evening I was suposed to get together with Jon Carin, Brie and a few other band members. One by one they dropped out, so I ended up in a restaurant close to the hotel eating excellent Tagliatelli Bolognese; a tradition in these parts. After another few miles walking around I was ready for bed.

Sunday, 22nd April 2018 : Bologna : The second of the 4 shows in Bologna today. We bussed to the venue; soundchecked and had a nice al fresco dinner. I snapped a few pics of the audience rushing in to grab a good spot on the floor. Another terrific show.

Saturday, 21st April 2018 : Milan / Bologna : We set of in the morning on a bus bound for Milan station. It is only an hour on the train to Bologna, so rail travel makes much more sense than air. The train ran on time and we arrived in Bologna in plenty of time for the soundcheck. The show was great, with a boisterous Bologna audience making plenty of noise. The floor part of the arena was without seats and we often find that standing crowds are more engaged with the performance than seated ones. Back to the hotel by midnight to check in and have a nightcap at the bar.

Friday, 20th April 2018 : Milan : Our last day off in Milan. I risked life and limb and cycled across town to the Foundazione Prada. The galleries are spread across various buildings in a disused distillery. I particularly enjoyed the main building which housed an excellent Jeff Koons, along with some Damien Hirst installations that I first saw in the London Saatchi gallery back in the 90's. Another highlight was Italian art and architecture between the World Wars. I did consider studying architecture before deciding on Chemistry back in 1970. The symmetrical Italian style was what I had in mind designing. I am so glad I didn't go that route. Later in the day I visited the Prada Observatory, which is located near the Doumo. I was hoping for a view of Milan from above but the rooftop is below the surrounding buildings. The gallery featured photographs. Pasta and wine for dinner.

Thursday, 19th April 2018 : Milan : We have 2 days off in Milan before heading for Bologna. Dave told me about a canal area that looked cool so I hopped on a bike ( after workout ) and set off. Cycling in Milan is challenging. Many of the roads are stone paving, which is very bumpy to cycle over. Also, the tram lines make changing direction quite hazardous. With the fairly erratic Italian driving in the mix, I am happy to say I survived the day. I had a nice panini and glass of wine by the water before heading back. An hour practise in the park before before going to dinner in the evening.

Wednesday, 18th April 2018 : Milan : The day of the second show in Milan. Needless to say I slept late after last nights shenanigans. Got up in time to get to the show however! The usual routine; arrive at the venue. Hang in the dressing room. On stage for soundcheck at 5. Eat in catering around 6.15. ( on this occasion al fresco ). Hang in the dressing room. Get dressed around 8.30. Ready to rock by 9.00. It is good to have a regular routine on these big occasions. It keeps everyone settled and centred for the performance ahead. Another great one with a responsive crowd. A short aftershow get together this time. Phew!

Tuesday, 17th April 2018 : Milan : The day of the first show in Milan. It is another beautiful day, so I took the opportunity to cycle round the city some more, before heading to the venue around 4. The Milan audience was excellent in spite of being banned from standing up. I stayed up too late after the show and rolled into bed around 3.30.

Monday, 16th April 2018 : Milan : Our second day off in Milan. The weather is beautiful, so I hired a bicycle and explored the town without a particular plan in mind. I happened past the 'Biscione' on the way to the Duomo. I had heard of the 'dog dragon' and wanted to get a picture of it in good light. The Sforza castle was next, before getting to the Sempione park. I walked around for a bit; bought a postcard, then headed back to the hotel. It was a nice day to get in a couple of hours practise in the park. My room was still being serviced when I arrived back, so I had a glass of Ripasso on the rooftop bar and watched the sunset Ibiza style. In the evening it was easy to find a good bowl of pasta before retiring.

Sunday, 15th April 2018 : Milan : My blog entry for Milan on the 2007 Dark Side Of The Moon tour indicates that I thought then that Milan was all about shopping. Particularly clothes shopping. Nothing seems to have changed! As I walked into the town centre from our hotel I passed store after store selling designer goods of all the name brands. Not really my style, so I headed to La Scala, the famous opera house then on to the amazing Duomo. The queue was too long to get onto the roof, but I will come back another day. After a good practise in a local park I had a nice pizza and a glass of Barbera before heading back to the hotel.

Saturday, 14th April 2018 : Barcelona / Milan : A bit of a rainy day, so good timing for leaving Barcelona. I worked out in the gym with Dave then updated this blog, before packing ready for the trip to Milan after the show. It was great to catch up with Susie Llewelyn-Jones and Tanya Chantler, who came to town from London for the show. The Barcelona audience were even more enthusiastic than Friday night. I had a great time onstage. Right after the concert we bussed to the airport and changed back into civies before boarding. We have 2 small jets to accomodate band and management. In no time we were in Milan and checked into our hotel. This is definitely the way to travel.

Friday, 13th April 2018 : Barcelona: The day started with an Insanity workout in the gym. Killer was the only taker. We got down to the venue around 4.30 for a 5pm soundcheck. As the show doesn't start till 9.20 there is quite a lot of hanging around. I got to see Michael and Kas before curtain up. It was great to be doing the show again and the Spanish crowd were excellent. Back to the hotel for a well earned drink at the bar afterwards.

Thursday, 12th April 2018 : Barcelona: I rented a bicycle and spent a few hours exploring Barcelona. It was mostly sunny and warm, so I had an excellent time. In the evening I hooked up with Michael and Kas and we had great tapas at a restaurant in the Gothic Quarter. Afterwards a pleasant walk round town then back to my hotel. The first show of the tour is tomorrow!

Wednesday, 11th April 2018 : Barcelona: Day two of rehearsal. The run through had a few technical hiccups but nothing serious. The band is back in the groove. I walked back to the hotel with Dave again then met up with friends Michael and Kas to see some jazz at Jamboree. The Joe Sanders Quartet featuring Seamus Blake on saxophone, Joe Sanders on bass, Eric Harland on drums, and Aaron Parks on piano were the band. A packed house with Aaron and Seamus sounding particularly good. Interesting compoisition by the bass player Joe Sanders. After the show we had a cocktail at a nearby speakeasy with Richard and his dad Michael Lovett before a relatively early night.

Tuesday, 10th April 2018 : Barcelona: Day one of rehearsal. In the van at 11.30 and off to the Palau St. Jordi. We have three days in the venue before the first show on the 13th. Everyone reaquainted themselves with each other and the run through went well. All are excited to be back 'in harness'. Dave and I hung out for a bite to eat around 6 and decided to walk back to the hotel. Barcelona is a beautiful city and it was nice to walk through parts we would otherwise have missed out on. I had a bath and an early night. Hoping to see some jazz tomorrow evening.

Monday, 9th April 2018 : London / Barcelona: I got to the airport ridiculously early as usual. This gives me plenty of time to get my blog underway. Dave Kilminster and I are travelling together, but I don't expect to see him before boarding! ...... He did actually arrive in the lounge minus his guitar which British Airways made him check in the hold. I refused to let my sax be similarly treated and was able to carry it on after a short argument with the check in attendant.......... Arrived in Barcelona to a medical checkup at the hotel. Something to do with tour insurance. Apparently I passed as I am still in the band. Yay!

Sunday, 8th April 2018 : London : Packing. The adventure begins again tomorrow!

Monday, 19th March 2018 : London : In about three weeks from now I will be heading to Barcelona for some production rehearsals, followed by the first shows of the European tour. It will be nice to leave wintery London behind! I am looking forward to seeing Roger and the gang and getting back on the road!