We’re back in London for a week of shows and a few days off as well. Staying in a splendid art deco inspired hotel that’s a big hit all around… my favourite hotel since first coming to London 1971. Luxurious, quiet and comfortable without a hint of attitude sometimes associated with this kind of quality. Tucked away in Mayfair it’s a short walk to Grosvenor Square, Oxford Street, Hyde Park and Soho. The hotel has a wonderfully inviting bar just off the lobby. With low lighting, panelled in dark mahogany and a softly lit, mirrored wall full of bottles behind the bar that shine like jewels…. it’s a welcome spot to while away an hour. We’re in great digs for this week.
Thursday the 21st was a day off and I took the opportunity to do some shopping along Oxford Street. It’s really the first chance as we were staying outside the city during rehearsals. I’ve been a little under the weather the past week and arranged an appointment with a doc in the afternoon as well. I was delivered to his doorstep courtesy of the hotel’s car… an old Bentley that belonged to the Queen Mother. Talk about leg room. I could have run a few laps in the back of that beauty. After filling a prescription I made my way back to the hotel, gathered Glenn and Jim and we took up residency at a table in the mahogany bar which also offers a menu of burgers, eggs, salads, etc. The decision was a simple one, we were already there having a drink, we’ll just stay for dinner as well. It was a gruyere filled omelette with salad and a martini for me. Top stuff.
Friday the 22nd started a little earlier than I’d hoped for. 4 a.m. After puttering around for a couple of hours I managed to get back down to sleep until 8. A block from the hotel is a small European deli-coffee shoppe with outdoor seating. I stopped there and had a simple breakfast of scrambled eggs on toast and a large strong latte then walked to the Bond Street tube station and took it to the Kensington area where I spent the morning walking and gawking. I spent a whopping 99 pence in a charity shoppe for an old Lonnie Donegan 45 then back to Mayfair.
It was wisely decided that rather than sitting in mid-afternoon London traffic for an hour and a half to get to our gig at O2 Arena, we’d simply get on the tube to North Greenwich which delivers you directly to the Arena. The underground transport in London is a miracle and generally an efficient alternate to the staggering road congestion.
This is the first time we’ve played the O2 in London, a large gig of 12,000 plus. We’ll have the best of both world’s with this London run, the big gig as well as a couple of intimates next week at Albert Hall. A short soundcheck, meet and greet, dinner and before you know it we’re all standing up there on stage in front of thousands of people. A wonderful gig and the audience was fantastic.
Following the show was a reception of friends and guests in a large and very noisy room in O2. It was far louder than anything we could have conjured up on stage. While it was great seeing old friends, it was also a relief to get back to the quiet of the dressing room after it was over. Everyone’s ears were shattered.
We all eventually piled in to cars and made our way back to central London and the dark, quiet warmth of these lovely digs.