December, 2003

Today is like many of the gigs of a normal band, and reminds me of the Steve Morse Band, or the Dregs tours. We leave early, drive 7 or 8 hours, play the gig, then travel 4 or 5 more hours, get to our hotel rooms and then depart 3 to 4 hours later. The big difference is that our trip has been from Serbia to Hungary. The gig last night was massive in every way. In fact, the entire tour through Europe has been just great. Naturally, I think it's too long, but everybody's heard that one enough from me...........

Yesterday in Serbia, I did a clinic after driving overnight to get there. The clinic actually took twice as long as a usual one since this was more like a concert in a venue that was oversold. The admission was free, as usual, which I like, since people that can't get to the actual concert that night can come and hear some music and talking about the guitar, technique, etc. It was just a huge amount of people, and it literally became impossible to sign something for every single person that attended, which is the first time I can remember that being the case.

On the way to the clinic, they showed me the remains of the buildings that had been hit by the precision guided bombs in 1999, during Milosivic's transition. These people have been through a lot. I can only imagine what life in Iraq or Afghanistan must be like on both sides of the fence.

Anyway, the audience, like at the Croatian clinic, had an amazing understanding of English words. This meant no translator, and therefore, more information in less time. I thought having two huge bodyguards was a bit much, but saw the wisdom during the signing when the table kept being pushed into my lower torso. The security duo silently pushed it back an inch or two without making any violence at all. The two big guys earned their keep when a slightly injured man fell to the floor right in front of us and was getting squashed. They quickly lifted him in the air and to safety.

Speaking of security, we were all amazed at how the Security team in Poland did such a fantastic job. There was a nice, small gap in front of the stage, which we prefer to the large, typical gaps. The security guys just stayed out of the way on either side of the stage until they saw someone needing help, or being crowd surfed to the front. They ran up, caught every one of them before they landed on their heads, guided them to the sideline and returned. No threatening vibe, just helpful when needed, and out of sight when not needed. Ian G and I both couldn't help but comment on it before the encores at the end.

We played 6 songs from "Bananas", our newest DP album, and that may be a record (I don't even know if that's a pun) for number of new tunes in a DP set. Anyway, we enjoyed this tour especially from the standpoint of audience energy. If there is anybody reading this who attended any of our shows, thanks for supporting live music, and we really do want our best effort every night for you. 2003