Tuesday, June 21, 2011 – The LONGEST Day of the Year – Zurich to LAX

Well, wouldn’t you know, our 12 hour flight would take place on the longest day of the year , how appropriate is this, The Summer Solstice.  Of course, “down undah,” it’s the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice, what a wonderful world we live in.

John and Sumi were off for an early morning walk.

 

The Path

 

 Mari and I repacked our bags for the fourth time, trying to get the weights of our 4 big bags even and under 23kg.   I had collected nearly a dozen bottles of different premium German beers for our son-in-law.  I was really looking forward to surprising him, but alas, the beer was just too heavy so we gave it all to a friend here in Switzerland.

Jean-Daniel showed up a few minutes early but we were all ready and waiting to load up and head for the airport where Jean-Daniel took this last shot of us.

 

Goodbye Europe

JD walked us to the ticket counter and showed us how things work at the Zurich Air Terminal. Then it was hugs and hand shakes with the guys with hugs and triple Swiss cheek kisses with the girls.  And not a few tears……

Ten hours later we were back in L.A.  Some things never seem to change.

Honey We’re Home

Zombie man picked up the keys to our ride.

 

Uh, Where Am I And Who Am I ?

You Guys Wait Here, I’ll Get It

We were so tired, we were sleep walking in the parking lot.

 

Dangerous

By the time we drove out to John And Sumi’s House in Laverne, it was dark.

Back Where It All Started

Unloading In The Dark

I Can’t See The Key Hole

Mari and I spent the night at a San Dimas Motel and got an early start the next morning.

Five Fifty Five AM

Sierra Nevada Skyline

Almost Home

Can you believe we’re already looking forward to a 2013 tour.  Yikes, I’ll be 77 that Spring, and 78 in the Fall!!!  Ooooeeeee it really is a “Happy Road.”

And I’m A Happy Guy


 

Monday, 20th June 2011 – Travel Day to Zurich

9 a.m. while JD was running all over town trying to find a bank, we got together with John and Sumi in the breakfast room where we met with Chris and Masumi.

Breakfast With Chris And Masumi

Chris is doing a docu-bio on John Phillips and just wanted to spend some time with John and me asking of our memories.  They had come all the way from Berlin on a train and saw the show the night before, so we were able to get right into the interview.

Interview With Chris

Then it was back up to our rooms to get everything stuffed in our suitcases and loading up for the five-hour trip to Zurich.

Homeward Bound

We’re Out ‘a Here

The last mile of our journey was our first mile heading home.

The Road Home

Coming Into Town

Zurich City

Jean-Daniel had us booked into a premier five star vacation hotel/restaurant, Halbinsel Au, www.halbinselau.ch overlooking Lake Zurichsee.

Lake Zurichsee

Volker had given us this “loverly” bottle of Wine for a special occasion.

How Loverly

 We only had about an hour before Jean-Daniel returned with Angela, his wife, and his Profile Production team.  So we used it wisely by stepping out onto our balcony and shared a few “Loverly” moments together.

Almost Home

Life Is Good

Life is Very Good

We met Jean-Daniel’s Profile Production Team on the terrace.

Meeting The Profile Team

 Where he had a table reserved for us.  And you guessed it,  It was time to eat……….!

Yes My Friends, Life Is Good

As the daylight was fading and we were just about to say goodbye, we asked our waiter if he would take one last photo of us all together.

Taking The Shot

What a wonderful Crew

Talk about saving the best till last – that’s exactly what Jean-Daniel did.

Sweet Dreams My Friends, Sweet Dreams

 


Sunday, 19th June 2011 – Burg Eppstein, Germany

Burg Eppstein, the last show of the tour.

The drive to Burg Eppstein was a nice easy ride.

Easy Riders

As usual the weather started rolling in on us from the west.

Here comes the weather

After a few hours we stopped for our morning coffee break.

A.M. Coffee break

Then it was back on the road and following the signs.

Yep, Were On The Right Road

Almost There

Every building in this entire town is older then our US Constitution.

We’re Definitely Not In Kansas Anymore

Driving into town we spotted the castle where we were scheduled to do the last show of our tour.

And There It Is

Bring in a H&G team from the States, a little paint, some wallpaper, A new roof, a bit of plumbing and I’ll bet we could flip this castle for a healthy profit.

A Real Fixer-Upper

Another hotel check in. Didn’t we just do this?

Another Check In

After dropping our stuff off in our rooms we were off to the venue. We’d been scheduled to perform our last show in the outdoor courtyard of the castle ruins. But the weather had packed in on us so heavy with wind, rain, and coooldnes, our sponsors wisely chose to move us to an indoor facility right in the shadow of the castle walls.

Our host Manfred had everything ready for us including cake and coffee in our dressing room.

Uhh… I’m Gonna Need Some Help Here

This last week has been the cake and coffee segment of our tour!  I can’t seem to find my belt buckle anymore.  Mari, where’s my belt buckle?  LOL!

Our Last Business Meeting

Sound and lights were all set up for us so while John got his monitors dialed in, I found a new friend.

Hmmmm, Check, Check, La La La…

Is This A Dog Or A Rodent?

After setting up our sound, we walked down around the bottom of the castle.

This Way My Friends

Off We Go To Dinner

 

JD and Sumi couldn’t stop taking pictures. It was click, click, click, all the way to the restaurant.

Click, Click, Click

Now That’s A Castle

We found a sign with all the facts about the castle; lucky for us, they were written in three different languages.

The Castle Facts

Along the way we met a castle keeper in full regalia.

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It’s Off To Work I Go

Of Course Mari made us pose with him so she could click us.

John, Me, Castle Keeper and Manfred

Dinner was in an Italian restaurant.

Italian Food In Germany? Why Not!

 

Mari and I split a bowl of tomato soup then I had the mushroom risotto and she had the salmon.

Our Tomato Soup

Barry’s Mushroom Risotto

Mari’s Salmon

John and Sumi had onion soup and pepper salmon.

John And Sumi’s Pepper Salmon

It was yummy stuffing time!  I really don’t like eating that close to a show, but it’s all about energy in = energy out.

Can’t Eat Another Bite

On our walk back to the venue John and I spotted a bit of a playground.

You Go First

Easy Does It

Eeee Ha, Ride That Totter

In front of the venue we met Volker and his wife Ulrike along with Gaetano and Uschi.

Manfred, Ulrike, Volker, John York And Jean-Daniel

Barry, Gaetano And Uschi

Manfred didn’t know what kind of numbers to expect for our audience that night as The Eagles were doing a show less than 12 miles away and Chicago was doing a show just a few miles in the other direction, and Super Tramp was also doing a show in the area.  So when the room filled up, and we had to put out some extra chairs, we were totally blown away.

All The Leaves Are Brown

JD Translating My Stories

We Are Stardust

After the show we all congregated in the dressing room for an end of the tour cup of coffee and one last piece of cake.

So many friends came from all over Europe – East Germany, Switzerland, Holland and Norway.

After The Show With Friends

Hugs and tears all around with promises to be back in 2013 for another trip around the European block.

See You Next Year?

Manfred And John, New Friends

Girl Stuff, Mari And Ute

Good Bye My Friend

Back at the hotel, it was like a bomb had exploded in our room, as we had to repack everything and get ready for our long ride home.

Fresno Or Bust

What do you think?


 

Saturday, 18th June 2011 – Zoetermeer

We started off by walking through the garden to the Restaurant.

The Hotel Garden

Food doesn’t get much fresher than this. They actually pick it fresh for every meal.

Harvesting breakfast

The Breakfast Bar

We met Morten and Solveig in the dining room.  Talk about old world charm.  This building was once a factory, and it has been completely restored and redecorated to a most interesting place to meet and eat.

Sumi, John, Morten & Solveig

After breakfast, we headed on back up to our rooms.

Did I Do That?

John and I stepped out onto the balcony for a breath of fresh air, and while we were looking around, we spotted something off in the distance that looked really different.

 

What’s That Over there?

So while Mari and I worked on our incoming emails and our blogs, the rest of the gang went off to discover what it was we had seen.

Let’s Go Check It Out

Evidently, the Bible story of Noah and his boat’s landing point on Mount Ararat were a little bit amiss, for lo and behold, the ark has been found in Dordrecht, Holland!  And after a little repair work on the bow it looked ready to sail. What with the reported rising sea levels, this old Ark may come into play once again.

Ready To Go

Sure Looks Like Rain

They were all back by 11.30 a.m. It was time for morning coffee up in Morten and Solveig’s penthouse apartment.

Morten & Solveig’s Penthouse Apartment

The elevator took us all up to their floor but we had to climb the spiral stairs to reach the nest.

Mari, Coming Up

Solveig & Sumi

A High Level Board Meeting

Then it was time to pack up and say goodbye to the Villa Augustus and roll onto our new digs in Zoetermeer, The Tulip Inn, where we had stayed last time we did a show here.

We played the Boerderij the last time we were here in Holland, and it was great to be back on their wall.

The Wall

 Waiting for us in the Parking lot were some facebook friends who asked me to sign their book “Peace”, written by 

FaceBook Friends

And it really did feel like, just a bunch of old friends getting back together.

The Crew

After a quick sound check,

           

Tune Dot Ting Mon…

The kitchen served up our dinner.



Dining For Five

Tonight we had an opening act.  They were heavy into the Beatles music, and did a great show.

 

Levy Joe

We didn’t get on until 9.30 p.m. and I must say it was a killer show.  Levy Joe had the audience primed and ready for us, so by the time we hit the stage it was a barnburner.

 

Green Green, It’s Green They Say

Bankin, Off Of A Northeast Wind

John And Michie Were Gettin’ Kinda’ Itchy

Do You Believe In Magic?

Is This Fun Or What?

John Just Blows Me Away

There Are Places I Remember…

Just before we said goodnight, Sumi got this shot of our audience.


Wildlife   

The show was over. It was midnight but still a lot of people hung around just to say hello and ask us if we would sign their CDs.

The Signing Table

Tonight was Morten and Solveig’s last night to hang with us; tomorrow they will be heading back to Norway.  Jean-Daniel got this last shot of us just as we were leaving the Boerderij.

The Gang, Morten, Solveig, Sumi, John, Mari and me.

After hugs and handshakes all around we headed off into the A.M. darkness looking for our Van.

Five Tired Teddies Off To Find Their Van.

By the time we got back to our rooms, I was a walking zombie and crashed while Mari tidied up our incoming emails.

Wow What A Day!!!

 

 

Friday, 17th June 2011 -  Dordrecht

During breakfast, a lady who glowed with pure joy, came into the dining room.  JD spent some time talking with her and found out she’s a tour director for private parties.  Later in the parking lot while we were loading up, I saw her in her van reading a road map, so while John was chasing Sumi across the parking lot, I walked over to her van and tapped on her window asking her if she spoke English.  She said, “Oh yes, I speak five languages.”

Hello Lady

I told her what my wife had once told me, “A compliment unpaid is no compliment at all.”  That’s when I told her that when she walked into our dining room that morning, she absolutely lit up the whole room.  She had the warmest smile I’ve ever seen.

The Lady

One thing about our little team, we are always on time and ready to go.

JD Programming The GPS
Checking My Ear Drops

Here Comes Sumi

Load ‘Em Up

 

And away we go off across Dutch-Land. I could never figure out why people who are born in "Deutschland” are called Germans, And People from Holland are called Dutch. Seems to me like people from Deutschland should be called “Deutchlanders” and people from Holland Should be called “Hollanders”, but hey what do I know.

Were Off To Dordrecht

The Flatlands of Holland

Asphalt, Land And Sky

Now That’s Holland

Rollin’ On The River

Coming Into The City


Our Hotel was totally beyond all expectations. Who could imagine anything like this?  Except maybe some Dutch Guy.
The Villa Augustus Hotel

The Diggs

Jean-Daniel Checking Us In

Mari And I Going Up

Out Our Window

The Augustus dining room was just across the garden from our hotel

The Augustus

The Kitchen

The Kitchen

 We met with some very dear friends, Leen and Ria, who were celebrating their 65th birthdays.

Leen And Ria’s 65th Birthday Lunch

What A Meal

Then it was back to our rooms for two hours of answering emails and napping – Mari answered emails and I napped.

The weather here in Dordrecht has been very volatile – strong heavy winds, clouds flying through the sky, a patch of blue every now and then.  Our window looks right out over the harbor, and we could see as we were leaving for the auditorium, it was starting to rain.

Here Comes The Rain

Another Hans, our host and sponsor for the evening, had the room all prepared for us when we arrived.  We took our time getting the sound in our wireless ear monitors just perfect.

The Benevia Hall

Setting Up

Taking Our Time To Get It Right

That Sounds Good To Me

Mari got her store together while Jean-Daniel was taking care of business.

Talking Business

Mari’s Store

After sound check, Hans and his co-sponsor, Ace took us to a restaurant that had been constructed in a water tower.

Hans And Ace

Our Restaurant?

We Can’t Read Dutch

But We Did OK

Back at the venue, Morten and his wife, Solveig, showed up.

Morten, Solveig And Jean-Daniel

They had just flown over from Norway to see the show and wonder of wonders, Solveig, a Norwegian, was born in Japan and spent the first 21 years of her life in that country so she speaks perfect Japanese.  Not only that, but she grew up in the same town where Sumi lived, so she speaks Japanese with an Osaka accent.

 

Sumi And Solveig


When these two girls started talking, the rest of us just stood in dumbfounded amazement.  It was wonderful for all of us to experience this cultural reunion.

The show was another barnburner.

Hey Ho, Hey Ho

Smile For Sumi’s Camera

Thank You Very Much

After the show, it was autographs, a beer for John and a glass of wine for me.

How Do You Spell McGuire?

By the time we got back to our hotel I barely made it into the elevator.

A Tired Tedd



Thursday, 16th June, 2011 – School in Dedemsvaart

Today was kind of a day off.  We had been invited to Hans and Yvonne’s home for coffee and pastries, so we all had a light breakfast knowing that when a Dutch person invites you for coffee and pastries, they’re going to have a table full of yummies waiting for you.


Breakfast

Gerrit, Hans’ brother, joined us for morning coffee.

We had a real easy morning off, but we did have a high school date at 2:PM. So about one o’clock we loaded into the van. It was raining.


It’s Raining

Let’s Roll


But It’s Raining

By the time we got to the school the rain had let up a bit.


Van Der Capellen

We’re Goin’ In

One of the first things we noticed was there were no locks on any of the bikes. We’re definitely not in California.

No Locks

Gerrit And Hans were waiting there along with their schoolteacher friend who arranged the assembly.

Gerrit, Hans And their Teacher Friend Michael

Before we could even get set up the kids started pouring into the room.

Here Come The Kids

Still Setting Up

John and I sang Blowin’ In The Wind, then we opened it up for questions.

How Many Ears Must One Man Have

Answering Questions

Then one of the young students sang a song for us. Wow, so young, so small, and so good.

The Next Generation

That Was Great

Over the last couple of days I had developed an ear infection so Yvonne, Hans’ wife, made an 4:P.M. appointment for me with her Doctor.

Waiting

Looking

She prescribed some antibiotic eardrops for me that instantly did the trick. Then we were off to Hans’ house for afternoon tea.

Hans Our Host

Outside it started raining again but we were all kicked back and lazying around inside.

A Lazy Lunch

Hans asked us why we didn’t sing Fred Neil’s “Dolphin” song the night before. He said he really missed it and asked us if we would sing it for him. John and I both love the song so we whipped out our guitars to do the tune but I discovered I had broken a string at the school assembly.

I’ll Fix It

Woof, Woof

Do You Ever Think Of Me

Then it was just a long easy afternoon with some long time Teddy Bear friends that we weren’t going to see again for at least a year.

Picnic Time For Teddy Bears

Something Funny?

Yes, That Was Funny

Of John and Sumi had time for a bit of a cuddle.

Isn’t This Nice

Family Photos

John

Barry

At 5 p.m. Mari and I invited John, Sumi and Jean-Daniel to our room to watch a movie.

At 7 p.m. it was dinner in the dining room, then off we went to our rooms and to bed.

We consider any day that doesn’t end with a show, a day off.


 

Wednesday, 15 June, 2011 – Dedemsvaart

 

Our breakfast was a bit different this morning as our waitress didn’t speak any English and it wasn’t a buffet.

I Don’t Speak English

Together Again

I got a bit of a chuckle when we ordered our coffee and they brought out five tiny little cups that were only two thirds full, so I politely asked for two more cups of coffee.

More Coffee Please

Then when we finished breakfast all five of us asked for another cup of coffee.  By the time we were through, our table was filled with empty coffee cups, but it was freshly ground and absolutely delicious coffee, as was the breakfast. What a great breakfast.

Now That Was A Great Breakfast

After breakfast we all went for a walk. John, Sumi and Jean-Daniel went off in one direction.

Off They Go

While Mari and I made a right turn and found a trail that led us through the pristine Dutch woods.

Let’s Go This Way

 We came upon a lovely backyard with everything from swings and trampolines, to ponies, horses, chickens and sheep.

A backyard For Kids

With Chickens

And Ponies

And Horses

And Sheep

Walking back to the hotel I had to do a bit of trail clearing.

I’ll Get It Nell

Back in our room I did a bit of reading while Mari played with her camera.

Laid Back

Instrument Of Battle

Loaded up and rolled out to the venue at 4 p.m.  When we got there, we just couldn’t believe our eyes.  We thought this had to be a joke – it was a big commercial gas storage tank in the middle of a huge open field.

Our Venue

The Gashouder

Then a little door opened and out stepped two guys in work clothes to help us load in.

Yes? May I Help You?

Here, Let Me Get That

 It is an unbelievable facility – way bigger on the inside than it is on the out.

Loading In

Can You Believe This?

We met our sound guys, and our two long time friends, Gerrit and Hans who were sponsoring the whole show.

Our Tech Guys

Setting Up The Stage

Setting Up Extra Chairs

Gerrit, Hans, John And Barry

 After a quick sound check, we went across the street to a “six star” restaurant, if there is such a thing.  We barely made it back in time for the show.

Off To Eat, “Again”?

Our Waiter

Der Asparagus Soup

Egg Plant?

Pork Medallions

Sweet Stuff

More Sweet Stuff

Then it was back to our dressing rooms where John and I spent some time running through the show.

Running The Songs

The venue reception area kept filling up more and more until it reached a point where the people started spilling over into the theater.

Here They Come

Filling Up The Room

We wound up having more people in The Gashouder than they’d ever had in it before.

Let The Show Begin

 

And begin we did.

And Away We Go

Are You Ready For A Brand New Beat?

Thank You So Very Much

After the show, it was all signing autographs, while Mari worked her magic.

The Signing Table

Mari Working Her Magic

Happy Campers

 Sumi and JD packed everything up and loaded it in the van.  John and I were visiting with Bart Hof, a friend we had made on our last tour in Holland.

“BIG” Bart Hof

Then it was farewell to all as we rolled out to the gate, which was locked. 

Who Locked The Damn Gate

So JD left us in the van and went looking for someone to unlock the gate.  However, they couldn’t unlock it for some reason, and by the time the locksmith showed up we were all just standing around in the dark.  It was actually quite fun, but I don’t think Jean-Daniel was having all that much fun.

This Has Never Happened Before

It Won’t Be Long Now

Come On You Guys, This IS Fun

The locksmith found that the key was actually broken off in the lock, so there we thought we were stuck for the night.  And just as we were getting used to the idea, voila, the gate was open, and we were on our way driving out into a foggy, foggy night. It was eerie, scary and spooky…. but a bit romantic.

Oooooohhheeee, How Spooky

All of this happened in just one day. And tomorrow we get to sing for a few hundred high school kids. The beat goes on.

 

May 22nd, 2011 – Winterthur, Switzerland Show

 

Mari woke up about 4 a.m., couldn’t go back to sleep, so without waking me, she got up at 5 a.m., showered, dressed and went down to the lobby where there was fresh, crunchy Swiss apples and a free internet connection.  She answered email until 7 a.m. and then woke me up with a hot cup of coffee – what a wonderful way to start our tour.

We went down to meet the gang for breakfast, and who should we meet in the dining room but Ashley and his Mum, Ornella.  We’ve been emailing Ashley for over a year.  He’s a 19 year-old student and just loves sixties music and the Mamas and Papas especially, so I invited him to sing a couple of Ms & Ps songs with us.  Out of all the hotels they could have chosen to stay at in Winterthur, they chose the very hotel that we were staying in. 

Breakfast with Ashley & his Mom

We were so totally jetlagged  (flying East is a killer, especially a nine hour difference in time zones) and after our 11-hour flight the day before with no sleep on the plane.. ugg, (well, Mari slept) but she doesn’t count…lol!!!  I spent the entire afternoon zonked out asleep until JD picked us up for our load in and sound check.

Sound check

JD had a couple of surprises waiting for us, a long time friend Carlos Martinez and his wife Jenny, along with Reto and Barbara, two other friends we met on our first tour three years ago.

03 – Sharing an Old Poster

The Gang with Carlos

Barry & Mari with Jenny & Carlos

06 – Mari, Reto, Barbara and her daughter

The biggest surprise of all was when John’s niece, Lilly, walked through the door.

       

Sumi & Lilly

After sound check we were off to Sophie’s for a home cooked meal. Sophie is a long time friend of Angela, JD’s wife.

Walking to Sophie’s

How good can it get?

Sophie our Hostess

Back at the venue John had a chance to spend some time with Raffaele Galli, an old friend who had come all the way from Italy to see him.

 

John with Raffaele Galli

Then it was Show Time. Some things never change – one minute, you feel like the walking dead, and then the lights go on, and you walk out on stage instantly coming alive.  The first half of the show was a barnburner.

Show Time

After about four songs we invited Ashley up for an Ms & Ps medley

On stage with Ashley


California Dreamin’ with Ashley

After a 15-minute half time interval we walked back out on stage and wouldn’t you know, the darned barn had burned down to the ground.  Both John and I had hit the time-zone wall during intermission – it was a brain freeze for both of us. 

We couldn’t remember who we were or where we were.  We couldn’t remember the words to the songs or which order we were supposed to sing them in.  I couldn’t even remember my stories that I tell to set the songs up…..  Mari was totally concerned that “Sometimers” disease had, overnight, descended in full force on both John and me.

Where are we now?

So we invited Sumi up on stage to get a picture of the Winterthur Wild Life.

          

  Winterthur Wild Life

That night after the show, Mari didn’t get any sleep at all – but it serves her right for sleeping on the airplane while John, Sumi and I had suffered all the discomforts of air travel.

Truth be told, we had some great laughs, especially now that it’s over, and while Mari spent much of the night, worrying about my mental health, I was off to dreamland.

Night, night.


MAY 20TH /21st   -   ANOTHER LONG DAY

This day started the day before it began as I picked up our van at Fresno Air Terminal (FAT) the night before we left. 

We wanted to leave by 8 a.m. but we were so excited, we got up a half hour before the alarm went off.  Mari made up some egg salad sandwiches, and we had our normal coffee and one piece of toast each and we were on the road by 7.45 a.m.


Set the cruise control on the posted speed limit 70 mph, and four hours later, we arrived at John and Sumi’s.  Sumi had some wonderful little sandwiches made up for lunch – we call them Sumi Sams – tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, New Zealand cheese and yummy savory mustard spread on fresh crunchy French bread.  Then a quick load up and we were off to LAX.

The Load Up

The flight!  It was just the way we liked it – long, uneventful, boring, 11 hours of trying to get comfortable in an economy seat.  But we must say Swiss Air is a great airline.  The food and wine was good.  The flight attendants were extra special polite and helpful, and before we knew it, our 11 hours of torture came to an end.  (Mari was the only one who slept the whole way – that’s cause she took a pain pill for her tooth…not fair!!!) 

Before we landed, we were served a typical continental breakfast – one roll, one croissant, a slab of cheese, a patty of butter, a cup of yogurt and a drop of cream in a little plastic container that I thought was butter, so when I ripped the top off of it, I slathered myself in cream.  Well, like Mari says, you can dress me up but you can’t take me anywhere….once a pirate, always a pirate.

Customs was a breeze – we didn’t fill out any papers, we were the first ones to the passport counter, John’s guitar was the first piece of baggage on the belt, so with two trolleys loaded with six suitcases and two guitars, and four pieces of carry on luggage, we walked into the open arms of Jean-Daniel, our long-time friend, booking agent and tour manager. 

Arrived At Zurich


What a beautiful sunny day it was – 80 F or 25C.

This is our third tour with JD so he knows the way we like to travel.  It was straight to our hotel where we checked in, www.sorellhotels.com  had a couple of hours to freshen up, and a bit of a walk about hunting for that perfect restaurant. 

03 Looking for the Perfect Restaurant

Ristorante Platino, Steinberggasse 54, 8400 Winterthur.  The menu was a bit difficult to navigate…lol….as it was all in Swiss Italian, however the food was delicious, fresh green salads, with huge sliced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar mingled with virgin olive oil and big  flat slices of fresh parmesan cheese, and don’t forget the bread…yum, yummy…. Happy diners we be, one and all! 

The Perfect Meal

It took us a while to find our hotel,

Walking Home

but we didn’t mind.  There were lots of things to see along the way.

No Coins in the Fountain

Hair Cut???

Yeah… our hotel!

Our Home for the Night

Goodnight All

A beautiful ending to a very long day.

 


April 1st, 2011, FINALLY a show in Fresno!!!!

It’s funny, in Germany, people will drive 200 miles to hear us sing, but in my own hometown, they won’t even walk across the street to catch a show.  But ha! Finally on April 1st  we fooled ‘em all.

John is a vegetarian and Sumi will eat just about anything that’s put on a plate in front of her, and since they were staying for three nights, Mari spent about four days previous to their arrival, on the internet putting together a menu that would meet everyone’s approval.  And did it ever!  

First night Mari served up soba noodle tofu salad – yummy, a delicious shrimp dish with plump, fat shrimpies, double yummy, along with spinach salad with a zesty balsamic dressing and stuffed grape leaves.  Who could ask for anything more… ok, maybe stuffed mushrooms….

Stuffed Mushrooms

Come & Get Your Taco

John and I hadn’t sung together in more than three months so we thought rather than just sit in my living room and sing songs for Mari and Sumi, it would be more fun for all of us if we had an audience. 

Our friend, Debbie Ruud has just opened up a small Voice Shop on Wishon in the Tower District of Fresno, so we invited about 50 people to come and share in our rehearsal.

Rehearsing at the Voice Shop

Girls in Rapt Attention

Fresno Wildlife

Terrific Trippin’ Team

Next morning John and I started working on a John Denver tune that we want to put in the show.


Lotsa Rehearsing

We arrived at Fresno Pacific University around 3 p.m.  Quick sound check and then the old boys grabbed a nap in our dressing room.

Backstage

Mari and our son, Brennon had the cd table set up and ready to go.

Mother & Son Running the Store

My friend, Mark Royce was running sound for us as we kicked our show off with Green Green, a song that Randy Sparks and I wrote back in 1963.  Our first New Christy Minstrel gold record.

Almost Ready to Go

First Song of the Evening

As the show came to a close a friend in the audience caught this incredible blue evening sky behind us and emailed it to us.  What a shot!  What a show!  And what an incredible San Joaquin Valley evening!

Blue Sky at Night

NORWAY
Sunday, November 15, 2009

If I were to chronicle this tour by sharing all of the incredible moments we experienced, this blog would be a book, so I’m just going to hit some highlights to give you a bit of a flavor of our Norwegian experience.

Tonight is our last show – we will have done nine shows in ten days and traveled every day all along the West Coast.  We started in the North and we’re finishing up in the South. 

After a 26 hour journey from Fresno to Bergen, (including lay overs in Dallas and Frankfurt) we were met at the airport by our host, Leon Bo

who took us straight to a local radio station where we spent a couple of hours doing two different radio shows – one live, one recorded.  Then we drove an hour up to Leon’s house where Leon and I got to know each other a bit better by singing some old familiar songs.

Once the tour started, the dates came so fast and furious, it all seems to have blended into just one long show.  One of the high points was getting to meet a young classical guitar player who lives just up the road from Leon.  He was such a terrific young man that we invited him to come along on the tour, so he and Todd worked out an arrangement of “Green Sleeves.”

Also it was really great after 25 years of hearing her name, to finally meet Solveig and her husband, Jim. How strange it is that you can hear all about somebody, have many of the same friends, and never actually have met.

Another treat was getting to know Ingvild, a beautiful young Norwegian girl that I was surprised to learn has been married for 19 years and has three teenage sons.  And what a talented lady she is

The whole tour was quite a circus.  We still don’t know how many of us there were on the road traveling every day – four or five cars filled with people and an equipment truck carrying all the instruments and sound gear.  Kind of like herding cats…..  Not speaking Norwegian, a lot of vital information always seemed to pass right around us, so everything was a surprise….

”Oh, we’re leaving now

 Oh, it’s time for dinner?

 Oh, is this the place? 

Oh, is it time for the sound check?” 

Oh, is it time for the show

And what a great band we had.  Three guys from Houston and two from Norway.



And our magnificent sound guy, also from Norway

This whole tour was the brain child of Leon Bo, but Leon’s a lot like me.  If it weren’t for Mari, I would just be a dreamer, and if it weren’t for Bjorg, Ruth and Rolf, Leon would be sitting on his couch dreaming about a tour that never happened.

These three people were the bone and muscle that put it all together and kept it moving EVERY day!!

It’s really hard to say which part of the show was the most powerful.  Maybe it’s just because I’m a California guy, who grew up in the Rock ‘n Roll Sixties, but when Todd Smallwood and Belva Haney took center stage, the roof literally came off of every auditorium.

The shows themselves were magnificent, each one better than the one before.  Norway is such a small country that people would call ahead to their family and friends telling them they must come and see the show we would be doing the next night.

Norway is a land of ferries and tunnels, farmhouses, mountains, fjords and there’s ancient mystery everywhere you look.

FARMHOUSE


SCENERY


NORWEGIAN TOWN IN THE VALLEY


MISTY


FERRY


GOIN IN


COMIN OUT


MIDDLE TUNNEL

Even though we were bone tired, we had some wonderful moments on our traveling days.

INGVILD AND BAND


ROLF & BIORG & LEON


GROUP ON DOCK


BARRY & BOAT ON DOCK

Finishing a tour is always bitter sweet.  You spend such intense time together and become so joined at the heart in such a short time and then poof….the last day, the last night, the last show.  You pack up, exchange email addresses with hugs and kisses all around, and then everyone heads off back into their own little worlds, carrying within us an indestructible memory that will live forever.

HEADING HOME

P.S.

As my Facebook friends all know, I had a tooth implant the day before we left Fresno, and about eight days into the tour, I could feel the temporary cap coming loose, so I went to a local Norwegian dentist from India to have it checked out.  After an x-ray, he said the implant was doing fine, but he didn’t want to touch the tooth for fear he might move the stud.  What fun we’ve had talking about my tooth on Facebook and what wonderfully funny comments have come back at us.  The laughter we’ve experienced has really helped us get through this tour.  “The tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth, oh help me God!” was one of the comments that came our way.

NORWEGIAN DENTIST

P.P.S.  The implant had moved and had to come out – pain, pain, pain….. tooth story to be continued.

IMPLANT MOVED


DR KURT WILL MAKE IT BETTER


HAUGESUND


THE HALLOWEEN WEEKEND

October 30, 31, 2009
Coffee Gallery Backstage, Altadena, CA

Perfect weather all the way from Fresno to Pasadena.  We checked in at the Saga Motel and about two hours later, our friend Mark who was traveling from Boston to Adelaide, Australia checked in just in time to catch a ride with us up to the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena.  It turned out to be a special weekend as they were celebrating Bob Stane’s 75th Birthday.  I can’t believe he’s actually older than I am….yuk, yuk…..

We thought we’d try something new so John invited his friend, Chad Watson to come play bass with us.

Then it was time to open the doors and the folks filled up the room – both nights sold out, which is not a big deal because the Coffee Gallery only holds 52 people.

Right from the first song we knew Chad was the right person to add that little extra powerhouse rhythm that only a great bass player can provide.

Darrell Mansfield, a long-time friend of mine happened to come by so we invited him to finish off the evening with “All Along The Watchtower”, a Bob Dylan tune that Darrell absolutely shreds with his Blues Harp and vocal emotion.

He took us all to a place of Blues Harp ecstasy – totally “blue” the room away!

Sumi came up and caught a couple of shots of the Altadena wildlife for our Rogues’ Gallery collection.  The room is long and thin so she had to do it in three shots.

After the show it was hard to say goodbye.  New friends and old – we just love performing at Bob Stane’s Coffee Gallery Backstage.

The picture says it all.

 


Saturday, 17th October, 2009

Zoetermeer

The Boederij in Zoetermeer was special in many ways.

1. The building was designed specifically for the purpose it was being used – restaurant, bar, showroom, great sound, great lights. 

2.  John’s niece, Lily, who lives in Paris, caught a train all the way up to Holland to catch our show.

3.  Mari and I had two dear friends that we hadn’t seen for over thirty years, Conny & Roel who also came along to catch the show and catch up with us in general.

4.  We had another chef, Jolanda, who blew us away with her killer burritos. 
The best burritos I’ve ever tasted in my life. 

The only photo we have of her is kind of taken from over her shoulder.  Sorry Jolanda – maybe next time we’ll get the camer

5.  We had a chance to meet the owner and manager of the club, Arie, who booked us not having a clue what kind of a show he was booking into his room.  So thanks Arie for betting on us.

6.  We got to meet some long time fans who brought along some ancient photos and articles for us to sign.

7.  It was our last show of the tour.  All of our rehearsal shows were behind us, and I felt like this one was the real deal, this was “opening night” at the Boederij..

If you look closely at the last photo, you’ll see Sumi standing between John and me taking this wildlife photo of Zoetermeer.

8.  After the show, no-one wanted to go home and it was really great meeting some facebook friends who’d come to see the show.

I don’t know if it was because it was our last show of the tour, or if it was because of all the reasons I’ve just listed, but the Zoetermeer show was the most fun of all the fourteen shows of this tour.

Back in our room, we had our final farewell toast to Jean-Daniel as he took this photo.

Well, if the creek don’t rise, the bombs don’t fall, the economy don’t crash, the battery in my pacemaker doesn’t go flat, my knees don’t give out on me, we don’t get hit by a meteorite, etc etc etc (you get the drift), we’re talking about a return tour to Europe in Spring of 2011.

Thanks for coming along with Mari and me on this Trippin’ The Sixties ride.

Keep an eye on our Schedule page for up and coming shows and tours.

Barry & Mari

 


Friday, 16th October, 2009

Hilversum

We only had about an hour to drive to Hilversum, so it was a late check out for us. 

We had a lunch date with Leen and Ria La Riviere.  They had been in charge of the De Bron Conferences all those years ago, and now Leen is a “Sir.”  A busy, busy man, but he  and his wife wanted to take a couple of hours out just to have lunch with us.  I kept wanting to call him Sir Rivi, but I wasn’t too sure how his Dutch sense of humor would handle it.

After lunch I crashed while Mari answered email, and started repacking for our trip home.  Then it was a lovely walk “just around the corner,” across town to Carel and Ingrid’s home.

I first met Carel nearly thirty years ago at a music festival in Holland.  He was and still is an incredible keyboard player.  We spent a few hours just catching up on all the years.

Of course, Carel had to take us down to his music studio that he had actually dug out under the house one shovel at a time to create his own man cave.  Did I mention he also builds sailboats?

The aroma that was wafting out of Ingrid’s kitchen was more than Dick and John could stand.  So she bribed them with wine and cheese to keep the hungry boys at bay.

Ingrid, put on a meal for us that was pure five star delight.

Then came the big surprise – a real birthday cake and this time I actually got to have a bite of it.  Yes, if you must know, Mari and I shared but nobody else did!

After four or five hours of food, fun and laughter, Ingrid could see we were all fading and let us know it was time for us to go back to our rooms and get some sleep – once a mother, always a mother.

Just as I was putting my jacket on, Carel slid onto his piano bench and we did a little “Saturday Night Fish Fry” jam..

Some things never change… ain’t it grand!

 


Thursday, 15th October, 2009

Zwolle

To tell you the truth, I didn’t even remember that the day was your birthday, so when Mari and I showed up for breakfast and no-one was there but us, I just thought to myself, “Oh, we’re early.”  So Mari and I were over helping ourselves to the breakfast buffet, and we heard voices singing “Happy Birthday to you…”  We’re looking around the room to see, “What’s going on?”  I still didn’t remember it was my birthday.  Two dutch guys were sitting there having breakfast and they were looking around too.  Then they both looked at us, shrugged their shoulders and said, “It’s not our birthday,” in a dutch accent.  Then I remembered, “Oh, it’s MY birthday.”  From behind the curtain walked, John, Sumi and Jean-Daniel singing the final words to my birthday song.  What a nice way to start a new year.

Leaving Assen, at first it was just normal city driving,

but then JD called Bart and got the directions to the old De Bron Conference Center and the roads started getting back into that one lane Dutch country thing again.

Finally, the GPS guided us right into the front gate. They changed the name of the place to Mooirivier www.mooirivier.nl

As we walked around the Center, where we had all met together back in the seventies, we couldn’t believe it had been thirty years – WOW!

It was like walking through a barely remembered dream – all the people…. All the faces, all the laughter and conversations ….

The main lounge had been totally redecorated, so we went in for a nice cup of hot coffee and some homemade apple cake.



Jean-Daniel, our illustrious tour guide/driver/and concert co-ordinator was overjoyed to be back at De Bron after twenty years.  Actually, it was a great treat for all of us.

After my third cup of birthday coffee and apple cake, I started getting a terrible headache, and I figured I better get out of here, quick, because I could feel my old Viking dna starting to kick in.

It was all thick plastered walls and thatched roofs and big wheeled bicycles.  Felt like we were on a Hollywood movie set, but this was the real deal.



Almost everything had been updated and refurbished except the old amphitheater which had fallen into a bit of disrepair.

Then it was back on the road with windmills, happy ponies and lazy cows.  What a country!

With a heart full of memories we headed on the next leg of our drive to Zwolle.

Edo, our chef, joined us for my birthday dinner

He cooked us a roast pork that absolutely blew us away, in fact, we ate so much, I didn’t have any room left for my birthday cake, so Edo just gave me the candle…too funny!

The theater itself was a high tech dream.

And the show was its normal avalanche of sound and singing along.

Sumi caught a quick couple of shots of the Wildlife in Zwolle.

All in all, it was a 74th Birthday I’ll never forget.

 


Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
“A Day of Remembrance”

Bart met us right after breakfast and took us to Radio Noord in Groningen.

It was an early morning drive from our hotel in Assen.

They weren’t quite ready for us so I took the opportunity…….to snooze a bit

I didn’t wake up until we were half way through our first song.



By the time we finished our second song, Eric, our interviewer, seemed to really be enjoying the music we were singing, and I was feeling pretty perky myself. 

If you want to hear a live stream of Radio Noord, you can click on this link, and maybe, just maybe it’ll be there – in Dutch of course……
RTV Noord

We thought we’d been waiting a long time to do our interview, but man, this guy’s been there for so long that he’s turned to solid stone.

As we were leaving the building, John and I spotted an old merchant ship tied up next to where our cars were parked.  Being an old sailor myself, I couldn’t resist having a snoop around.  Our luck was that there was a fellow on board, Bert, who invited us to have a look around the ship. www.mvourworld.com  

It was built in 1952, originally used as a freighter between Norway, England and Holland.  It was headed for the scrap yard when they rescued it, and they formed a charitable corporation to give people an opportunity to learn a trade by helping to restore the ship.

Bart took us by his place of business www.hof.nl  an audio and lighting company.

We did a tour of his building, and afterwards enjoyed a couple of cups of wonderful coffee and special Dutch buns and cookies.

Then we headed off to Kamp Westerbork.  www.kampwesterbork.nl   Kamp Westerbork was a concentration camp in the Netherlands during World War II.  The Nazi occupying forces deported more than 100,000 Jews via this transit camp. 

The camp was originally built in 1939 by the Dutch government as a Central Refugee Camp for Jews fleeing Germany.  In 1942, it became a transit camp headed by the SS.  From July of that year, the Dutch Jews, German refugees, gypsies, 245 Sinti and Roma and dozens of resistance fighters were deported from this ‘hell’s gate’ to death camps such as Auschwitz and Sobibor. 

A total of 93 transports left the camp, and only 5,000 of those deported returned alive.

One of the victims was Anne Frank.  Her father Otto was among the few survivors.  They were sent to Kamp Westerbork after their arrest in their secret hiding in Amsterdam. 

In the camp, they were sent to the punishment blocks where they were to stay for several weeks.  In these punishment blocks, the Nazis detained not only people who had been arrested while in hiding, but also camp prisoners who were being punished. 

Their fate was to be put on punishment transport as soon as possible.  On 3 September 1944, one of the last trains left Kamp Westerbork.  Anne Frank was among the 1,019 deportees on that train as were her sister Margot, her parents, Otto and Edith Frank, and the others who had been in hiding with them.

 

As we walked along the old railway beds and down the side paths, we could actually feel the grief and hopelessness of the people who spent their final days here. 

It was a walk through the silhouettes and signs of the barracks where thousands of people slept and worked.  We walked along the barrier and the barbed wire fences at the edge of the camp,

and came finally to the end of the railroad line where the trains would stop and take on another thousand people, none of them knowing they were headed for the extermination camps of Germany.  All in all, 102,000 men, women and children walked these grounds, some for only a day or two, others for several weeks. 

Unbelievable, how unbelievable!  Political corruption,
industrial greed and religious complacency and insanity were responsible for every murdered man, woman, and child.  May it NEVER happen again.  And if we don’t stay awake and alert, it very easily could……

Yes, today was a day of remembrance.

 


Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
Assen

It was an early morning quick breakfast and then off to a radio interview at Radio Drenthe .

We got there with time to burn, so we had a cup of coffee just killing time with a new friend with pure white hair, who was doing an interview before us, all about growing mushrooms.

Mari was sitting in a chair that had wheels, and you know me, I couldn’t resist giving her a quick zoom around the room in the waiting area.

JD’s old friend Bart, introduced us to Aaldert and Tina who met us in the lobby and took us into the studio. 

They told us the program was an internet stream www.rtvdrenthe.nl 

 

RTV Drenthe  TRV link

Since it was a show night, I crashed all afternoon at the hotel while Mari took a long hot bath, (sorry, no photo) LOL, and then she worked on emails and Facebook for a couple of hours.

We left for the venue about 5 p.m. and what a place it was!  The Cultural Café de Amer in Amen www.cafedeamer.nl was about twenty minutes away from the hotel, but the last fifteen minutes of the drive had us out in the middle of farm country – cows, sheep, barns and fences.  Seemed like a one lane road with trees closely lining both sides, yet somehow, when a car came the other way, we zoomed past each other without neary a scratch on either vehicle.

The venue itself had a thatched roof, looked to be a couple of hundred years old, was originally a cow barn but had been remodeled years ago as a restaurant concert hall. 

Every wall was covered wall to ceiling with eclectic artwork. 

The tables and chairs looked older than the building itself, but surprisingly they were all in pretty good nick.

Our pre-show dinner was one meatball each.  It was the size of a Sunkist orange – never seen such a big meatball in my life!  Of course it was served with salad, and sandwiches.  Our hosts seemed so overjoyed to meet new friends.

The show room itself was so crowded with people that we could barely get through to the stage, holding our guitars up over our heads.  The room was filled with lots of old friends and many new ones too.



I think the club owners were totally blown away by the number of people they had packed into that room.  It was a Tuesday night and they told us they had never had a show on a Tuesday night before.  They normally only do weekends, but made an exception for us as it was the only night we had available.

A good time was had by all.


Monday, October 12th, 2009

Bremen to Assen, Holland

The last look we took out from our hotel balcony revealed a grain ship that had come in overnight and was taking on a whole new load.

It was a kind of a day you’d expect if you were driving in New Zealand.  Beautiful, long white clouds, white on the top and dark on the bottom with occasional shower squalls and then bright sunshine. 

We stopped at the border for coffee and cookies.

Then came flat, flat, farmlands of Holland – happy cows and sheep grazing around the beautiful, slender, graceful wind generators and ancient windmills that were scattered everywhere.

We rolled on into Assen at 2 p.m.  JD checked us into our new home for the next three days, Hotel de Jonge www.bestwestern.nl/dejonge  On the outside it didn’t even look like a hotel, but our room was on the top floor where we could look out over the city.

Mari and I couldn’t stand just sitting in our room, looking out at the city so we hit the streets for a walk around town.

That evening we met with some very dear friends who treated us to an awesome dinner in the Hotel Restaurant. 

Of course I forgot my reading glasses so I had to borrow JD’s and the mood was set for a romantic candlelit dinner, which in reality meant I couldn’t see the menu and when I did, it was all written in Dutch, so I went for the chicken.

Food, food, food – seems like we’re eating our way across Europe. 

What happened to my 1800 calorie a day diet?  Boy, will we be hitting the treadmill when we get home! But hey, when you’re hanging out with old friends, it’s time to celebrate.

 

 


Sunday, 11th October, 2009

Bremen “Day Off”

HA!  Well, not quite a day off.  Mike showed up around 11 a.m. and took us off to a local church where his son and daughter-in-law attend.  They asked me to do a couple of songs and then Jean-Daniel interviewed me in front of the congregation asking how I got into music and how the music got into me, how I had come to discover Christ.

Although the congregation sang in German, the fullness of their voices and harmonies came straight from their hearts and I was awash in a sea of love and adoration.  The Senior Pastor, Andreas, told me how he had magnetic tape recordings of my songs from the Sixties, and how he had listened to them and still had them safely stored away at home.  One of the things that impressed me most of all was how Pastor Lothar was one of the last to leave the church.  We had stayed for coffee and as we were leaving, we saw him walking out into the parking lot in the rain and getting on his bicycle to pedal home through the puddles.

Our sponsor, Mike, had turned down a round trip ticket to Moscow and an invitation from the German ambassador to accompany him to the final playoff game between Russia and Germany to see which team will go to South Africa for the World Champion Soccer trophy.  Instead, he chose to stay with us and show us around the wonderful city of Bremen, and what a city it is!

Our first stop after church was The Park Hotel for cake and coffee.

It gave Mike and I time to just sit and enjoy each other’s company and catch up on the last thirty years of our lives.

Next stop was the old City Center, and man, was it old!

06 CITY CENTER BREMEN

Then we got into the tiny little streets with tiny little shops that were filled with fantastic eye candy that you just couldn’t stop gazing at. 

The street was called Schnoor, which in German means “the string” – a long string of shops.

 

One little house had been built in 1300.  It had been sitting there for 700 years, but the incredible thing was that right next door to it was another house built in 1600.  It was only 400 years old.  It really boggled my mind to think that the 700 year old house was already 300 years old when the next door neighbor decided to build the house….

The streets kept getting narrower and narrower as we went along our way.  Finally, we hit a street that was so narrow, Mike got stuck and I had to push him through.

Meanwhile, John and Sumi were off with their friends Hans and Bernie. 

Actually, they were about fifteen minutes ahead of us on the Schnoor Walk.

To cap the day off, Jean-Daniel, Mike, Mari and I went to a fantastic Indian Restaurant, Maharani Restaurant, www.maharani-bremen.de  Tandoori lamb, curried chicken, curried beef and some kind of an incredible Indian spinach dish with rice and Naan bread…mmmm….goood!  My mouth was on fire, but wow, what a meal!

Back the hotel, I struck my final blow of the day, and off we went to our separate rooms for a well deserved night, night….

 


October 10th

Bremen

I had to restring my guitar (which is something I hate doing), so while I poked holes in my fingers, the rest of the team took off to explore the Waterfront Mall, which was within walking distance of hotel. 

Mari and Sumi really liked the German fashions.

One really cool thing about the weight limits they have on flying these days, is it really limits what the girls can buy….LOL…. I’m a chucklin’ now…. So all they could do was take pictures.

Mike, our sponsor, had us booked into Nachbarchaftshaus, Bremen.  It was a social center, a bit out of the way, but folks didn’t seem to have any trouble finding the place.  We had a band called “Nightflight” that opened for us.

Then John and I hit the stage full tilt.

Of all the shows we’ve done so far, this audience seemed to be the most engaged, singing along from the first words of Green Green, bursting into spontaneous applause when they recognized the first introduction notes of each song.   They were clapping, singing, stomping their feet, just a great kick of an audience for John and me.

For our second encore, I just went out and told the folks about the old showbiz saying of “always leaving the audience wanting more.”  I told them we were planning a return tour of Europe in the Spring of 2011.  Then I asked Sumi to come out and get her wildlife shot.

It was a small auditorium but it did not lack for positive energy and happy people who hung around afterwards for autographs.

On our way out the door, Sabine, our hostess and her soundman expressed their appreciation for our appearing in their venue.

Once again, by the time we got back to our hotel, it was midnight. We all sat around with Mike in the lobby on the comfortable couches, just laughing and talking and basking in the afterglow of the evening. 

It was just another typical workday with another happy ending.

 


Friday, 9th October, 2009
Zwickau to Bremen

Bong, bongity, bong, bong……..it was a 7 a.m. wake up by the bells of Zwickau!  We didn’t have to be down to breakfast till 8.30 a.m., but hey, there was no getting back to sleep so I had a wonderfully long hot shower while Mari held the bed down. 

Breakfast was old-world elegant.

Our hotel didn’t have an elevator, so we had to lug everything down one very long, winding set of stairs to the front door.  Jean-Daniel brought the van around to the front and just as we started to load up, we noticed a hot air balloon heading our way.

It just kept getting closer….

We couldn’t believe it was blowing right straight up our street, until it was directly above us.  We started yelling and waving and the guys in the basket started waving back – how cool was that!

As we were piling in the van for our five hour drive to Bremen, we said goodbye to the hot air balloon and the Zwickau birdies did a “fly by”  bye bye for us.

Just as we were leaving town we spotted a Trabi.  “The Trabants, or Trabis for short, were in production in the German Democratic Republic without any significant change for more than three decades. And although the last new Trabi hit the roads in 1991, the vehicle -- which turns 50 this year -- has gained cult status in Germany.”

The highway heading West was brand new – smooth and clean driving all the way and the wind generators were everywhere

Once again we passed the old remnants of the Iron Curtain check point – but this time we were on a different highway.

Pulled into the Innside Inn www.innside.de parking lot about 3 p.m. This hotel was built on the very site where the German U-boats were constructed back in the thirties and forties.  The entire area has been re-landscaped and brought into the 21st Century with beautiful hotels and shopping centers.

While Jean-Daniel was checking us in, we made ourselves at home in the Star Trek Voyager lobby.  Of course JD had to get a quick shot of Space Case Cowboys.

Then Mari and I went to our room to work on these stupid blogs…..LOL but stepped out on the balcony just for a moment to wave goodbye to John, Sumi and JD as they went exploring.

John and JD were searching for treasure,

as the sun was setting in the West.



At 8 p.m. we all met up with our sponsor, Mike Schnepel who joined us for dinner.  I’ve known Mike for 30 plus years. Hans, a long-time friend of John and Sumi also got there in time to join in with us.

We sat at the table till almost midnight getting reacquainted with our old friends – what an awesome day Friday the 9th of October turned out to be!

 


Thursday, 8th October, 2009


ZWICKAU

Left Calden at 10.30 a.m. on a windy overcast day.  Picked up some light sprinkly rain as we took the scenic route through the rolling hills back towards East Germany, passing a rural remnant of the Old Dividing Fence between East and West Germany – what a piece of history.

It was about a four hour drive so we stopped along the way for a cup of coffee and a pit stop.  As we were leaving John spotted a kiddie play ground, and off he went to ride the scooter…. 

I think he needs a little more practice himself before he goes for the gold.

The City of Zwickau is deep behind what used to be the Iron Curtain and many of the buildings were allowed to fall into total disrepair.

Our hotel on the outside looked a bit shabby on the outside but the rooms were clean and comfortable.

Andreas was our sponsor, www.liederbuch-zwickau.de  and had us booked into a 700 year old church building that had been totally renovated from the ground up and turned into a Culture Center.

Andreas’ friends helped us carry everything into the Center.

With Sumi at the board, it wasn’t long before the sound was dialed in.

 The Restaurant was “just around the corner” as most things are here in Germany

I don’t thing they’d ever seen anything quite like our little traveling band of musicians as we crowded around the table.

The food was extra-terrestrial!

Mari could not keep her hands away from my homemade asparagus soup for which they refused to give us the recipe.

Then it was back to the venue.  By now it was dark and we traipsed around to the back of the building to avoid the crowd out front, but lo, as luck would have it, the door was locked from the inside, so Andreas went around to get the key and left us standing there in the dark.  A few moments passed, and this beautiful young lady came walking up out of the dark, went straight to John, gave him a big hug and kiss on the cheek while the rest of us just stood there like a bunch of dummies, wondering, “Who is this girl?  Has John been here before?”  And who knows what Sumi was thinking!  Then the door opened and the light came on and all of a sudden the girl realized it wasn’t Andreas that she had hugged and kissed but was his look-alike, long-lost brother, John York from the US of A.

She was totally embarrassed and we all roared with laughter at the mistake.

Before we knew it the show was under way.

In the center of the room, there was a beam that measured about 30 inches by 30 inches.  It was probably at least 20 to 25 feet high, and it held up the entire ceiling.  How incredible it was to look at that beam and realize that 700 years ago, men just like us had cut it out of the forest, shaped it, and somehow brought it in to the brand new church that they were building and stood it on end, and through all of the wrack and ruin that this building has gone through, having fallen into total disrepair during the Communist occupation of East Germany, the roof had rotted out and caved in, but this support beam remained solid and steadfast, never once moving from the spot where those men had placed it.

The first half of the show took a bit of getting adjusted to, both for us as well as the audience.  It was kind of like they were watching television while we would be singing a song, and we were thinking to ourselves, “Man, they’re just not getting it.”  But then when the song was over, they would roar with approval and clap their hands on and on in a synchronized rhythm that sounded like a scene from River Dance.  Finally, John and I realized that they were experiencing something they’d never experienced before, just as we were and we were all making friends with one another through the music and the stories translated by Jean-Daniel into the German language.

Once again I called Sumi up on stage with her trusty little camera and she caught this shot of the Zwickau Wildlife in action.

How incredible to be singing in a 700 year old building and feeling the new life exploding from this present generation.  The builders would have been proud to know that such joy was still being experienced by their descendants.


Wednesday, 7th October 2009

Calden

Leaving Gotha,

We headed back to West Germany we passed Martin Luther’s safe house castle again, and we tried to get another photo going the other direction, but John couldn’t get the stupid window open, so you won’t be getting the second photo of the castle – it was just too funny.  But Mari did get her window open and caught a shot of the security buildings where The Wall used to be – it looks like an Oklahoma truck stop now, but hey, if these buildings could speak, what a story they’d have to tell.

Pulled into our Hotel parking lot just before 2 p.m.  It’s a beautiful hotel, Waldhotel Schaferberg Kassel www.waldhotel-schaeferberg.de   How’s that for a website address?!  It’s almost a paragraph long….

We had coffee and nectarines in the lobby and then a wonderful three hours for hot baths and naps before leaving for the show.  Oh yeah, of course, we were hacking away on this blog after we had our naps, but hey, we have free unlimited internet here – how wonderfully decadent we feel.

We had no idea what our venue for this evening was going to look like.  First of all, we were way out on a country road with nothing but rolling hills and a few farm houses sprinkled here and there.  I couldn’t help thinking, “Where are we going?  Where’s all the people that are coming to the Sold Out show tonight?”  First thing we saw when we pulled off the highway was a pasture full of beautiful horses.

Next thing we saw was the barn in which they told us was the theater where we would be performing.

Eighteen years ago the place had been converted from cow shed and feed storage building to a very unique and plushed out theater.

The dressing room was upstairs in what used to be the feed storage area.  We had a wonderful view out the back window of the largest pile of horse manure I’ve ever seen in my life.

The owner of the venue runs a five star restaurant and had his chef prepare our evening meal for us.  “Eat your heart our Gordon Ramsey!”  This was a meal we will long remember, not only because it was SO delicious,  (mushrooms and shrimp in a creamy dill sauce over homemade pasta, along with the freshest salad we’ve ever had,) but because we shared it with our longtime friends, Arno and his wife, Hannah.

Part of the dressing room had been set aside as a rehearsal hall and an exercise room, Sumi couldn’t restrain herself, so she went for the parallel bars.

We all decided she needed to work on her routine a little bit longer before going for the gold!  LOL!

The theater was not air-conditioned and by the time the show started we had a packed out house, in fact, they turned several dozen folks away, but let me tell you it was one hot night.  Sumi had a wet towel for me so I could just slap myself in the face with it from time to time and try to get my body temperature down.  Sweat was pouring off of me like I was standing under a running shower.

I couldn’t resist calling Sumi up on stage to get another wildlife photo of our Calden audience.  They all were yelling out, “Konichiwa…” as Sumi shot the photo.

After the show people were crowding around the tables where John and I were signing their cds and some of them were telling us how far they had come to see the show, and the long distance prize went to a young man who had driven all the way from Berlin – over 300 kms (nearly 200 miles).

John and I couldn’t think of one person we would drive a 400 mile round trip to hear ‘em sing…we were truly honored.

 


Tuesday, 6th October, 2009
Gotha

No travel today because we’re already “here!”  So it was eleven hours of solid sleep and an easy day sitting in the lounge writing these silly, stupid Blogs…..that everyone loves to read – at least, we keep telling ourselves that. 

Well, if nothing else, when we get old, which is as Alex says, “Just around the corner,” we’ll be able to look back at these great times we are getting to experience.

Because we had some time in the afternoon, Jean-Daniel pulled us out of our rooms for some relaxed PR shots in this beautiful hotel lobby.

While Mari and I were hacking away on our blogs, John and Sumi went for a wonderful stroll around town.  What a beautiful city this is!  YOU GOTTA GO TO GOTHA!!!

Some languages are international.

Even though Alex assured us, “The Londoner, www.thelondoner.de is just around the corner,” we piled in the van with all our equipment and drove there.  Alex met us with his characteristic, transparent smile.

We walked up two flights of stairs to the show room, and what a delicious room it was.  Alex had set it up like a room from a German fairy tale.

Once again we were blessed with a soundman, who knew what he was doing.  Peter and his helper, Joshua, (who is one of the students we had met at the high school the day before), had us up and running in about 15 minutes, then it was downstairs to eat.  Alex had prepared it himself – a recipe he had picked up while working in Italy at a restaurant.

After dinner, John and I tuned up while Mari got the cd table squared away and Sumi did her final adjustments on the stage, (harmonicas, guitar pics, water – stuff like that.)  The show started at 8 p.m. sharp, and off we went.

The first half of the show we noticed that as I was telling my stories, the audience was all looking at their shoes and politely waiting for the next song.  It would kind of be like us listening to a German performer telling stories about his life in German while we’re all waiting for him to sing his next song.  So the second half we asked Jean-Daniel to translate for us, which he did, and wow, what a difference it made.  People were locked into every moment right through to the second encore.  Of course, we had to call Sumi up to capture another photo – this time of the Gotha Wildlife.

The show ended around 10.30 p.m. but people were just not in a hurry to leave.  Mari had a great time trying to learn German from Ute and her son.

After the room finally emptied out around midnight, just a few of the sponsors and their families, sat around sharing a glass of wine and just generally basking in the afterglow of the evening.

Before we said our final goodnight, someone suggested we all get up on stage and take a last group photo together.

I must say, that of all the places our little team has traveled over the last two years, Gotha was one of the loveliest places, filled with the friendliest bunch of folks we’ve ever met.  It was REALLY hard to say goodbye to these precious new friends of ours.  Let’s hope we all get to “Go To Gotha” again real soon.

 


Monday, 5th October, 2009

Gotha (Our son, Brennon’s 33rd Birthday, and our “Day Off???”)

And here we are in East Germany where we can’t even make a phone call home to sing Happy Birthday!  So emails and blogs are all we got to give….but hey,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SON – WE KNOW YOU KNOW WE LOVE YOU!!!

On the way to Gotha, Jean-Daniel pointed out to us the very castle where Martin Luther was protected by a Duke while he translated the Latin Bible into German.  How incredible to see the very building where such history was made.

We passed the old check point that divided East and West Germany, and felt great awe at the reality of how the times have changed and what once was forbidden to East Germans was now freely available to them.  We were on our way to Gotha, a very, very old city in Eastern Germany. 

Jean-Daniel in his meticulous, Swiss way, drove us exactly to a place he’d never been before.  Well, his GPS did help – LOL!  We arrived at the Hotel AM Schlosspark www.hotel-am-schlosspark.de at 1 p.m.  Alex, our host, met us in the lobby and off we walked to the High School, “Gymnasium Ernestinum” which Alex said, “was just around the corner”.  He also told us that this High School was built in the Sixteen Hundreds and is the oldest functioning High School in Europe.

The teachers were even more excited about us coming to their school than the student were, and they were really jazzed, so all this to say, the place was buzzing when we walked through the door – filled with TV guys, newspaper guys and who knows who else was hanging around in the crowd.

After some quick preliminary shots, John and I got up on stage, sang a few songs and then opened the room to questions.

One of the teachers told us how she had been sixteen years old, secretly listening to the songs of the West – the Beatles, the Byrds, Barry McGuire, Bob Dylan, songs that were all forbidden by her government, and punishable by law if you were caught listening to them, and now what wonderful freedom they were experiencing to be open to the Western world.  Tragically Gotha has lost about 15 to 20 thousand young people who have headed west since the Wall came down.  Our sponsor, Alex, said out of his graduating house of around 200 students, he was the only one who is still living here in Gotha, and what a bright, brilliant young man he is.

After the school assembly, we were scheduled to meet with Knut Kreuch, the Lord Mayor of Gotha. Once again Alex said, “His office is just around the corner.”  It would seem that everything in Gotha is “just around the corner….”  LOL!  It had started raining, so Jean-Daniel grabbed some umbrellas from our hotel and off we walked to meet the mayor.

We were a bit late arriving, but the Lord Mayor was very open and friendly inviting us to sit and enjoy a glass of Gotha Champagne.  Gotha is world renowned for its water, in fact “Gotha” means “Good Water!”  He and his assistant were drinking orange juice as they had other meetings coming up after ours.

Then John and I were invited to sign the Golden Book.  How incredible to be honored in such a way.

Then it was off to dinner at the El Toro Steakhouse, a favorite hang out for Alex and his friends with the BEST food in town.  If you want to email them for a reservation, here’s their address eltoro-gotha@gmx.de

As it was October 5th, they recommended to us the special Oktoberfest Beer – well, we had to try it, so we said, “Sure, bring us a glass..”  Hahahaha…. We had no idea about the Oktoberfest glasses.

Alex had a big cheesy grin on his face because he knew he knew what he’d tricked us into trying….. and these were the “small” one liter glasses!  The “boot” was a two liter glass that took both hands to lift to your lips!  Ah, these Germans, they do love their beer, and actually, it was really good beer. 

The inside of the restaurant has been remodeled using old recycled material and has the feeling of antiquity, but it’s only a couple of years old.

Gotha has and is being entirely renovated from the ground up.  Many of the buildings during the cold war had fallen into total disrepair, but since the wall came down twenty years ago, they have been bringing their town back into its old splendor. It has been so recently rebuilt, that all the technology is cutting edge.  It’s like they haven’t had to update anything, they just started from ground zero with the best that technology has to offer.

If you ever come to Eastern Europe and want to walk the streets of ancient history, you must “GO TO GOTHA!!!”  You will not be disappointed.


Sunday, 4th October, 2009
Sinkkasten, Frankfurt

Jim Tiedeman who was our host at the military USO show also hosted us at a most gracious and divinely appointed hotel, the Stegenberger Hotel in Bad Homburg www.bad-homburg_steigenberger.de

Jim and his family met us that afternoon and took us for a walk through one of the oldest parks in Europe.  All the trees have been gifted to Bad Homburg by visiting royalty and dignitaries from other countries.  Some were hundreds of years old.

We saw the first golf course in Europe – only a nine holer but it was gorgeous.

The park was filled with remnants of ancient Roman occupancy.

Also a lovely Russian chapel hundreds of years old lavished with real gold trimmings. 

Our eyes could not believe what they were seeing, such intricate and incredible artwork.  I couldn’t help thinking that if this structure was in Los Angeles, it would be stripped to the framework on the first moonless night….LOL!

On we went to the Roman Health Spa where if we had have had time, we could have had a hot mineral bath and a deep massage.

But alas, no time for Roman decadence, we were on a mission to experience as much as we could in as short a time as possible.  So Mari and I had a little sit down,

while the others walked around the entrance to the Kaiser Wilhem Baths.

That’s typical of being on the road – so much to experience and our schedule allows so little time to do it.  There was all kinds of eclectic artwork scattered throughout the park and wouldn’t you know it, Jim and I found one that looked just like us.

On our walk back to the hotel, wouldn’t you know, I dropped my sunglasses, my only pair of sunglasses.  Some things never change.

Jim’s daughter kept pointing at me and saying, “Captain Hook Daddy, Captain Hook!”

But our little group just chortled away, tramping down the sidewalk, totally oblivious to my one-eyed observance of it all.

So that was just the afternoon after a one hour drive from Wetzlar – so, as Candace would say, “How Divine!”

Our hotel room was just an extension of our walk.  I opened the back windows of our suite and “Green Green” just poured in through our open window.

A quick afternoon nap for the old one eyed duffer, while Mari worked on Blogs, Facebook and Emails.  Thank God I married my secretary, I surely couldn’t afford to pay her for all the work she does…. And that’s the truth!

Sinkkasten – what a great club to play.  We were there fourteen months ago and had a great crowd for our first time around the block, but this time, the place was packed out. 

I think Werner’s radio show really got the word out.  He and his wife Lydia came to see the show and of course, Mari and Sumi had to cheese it up, but hey, Werner’s personality is totally magnetic!  If John and I had’ve been around we would have both squeezed into the shot too.

But we were so busy signing autographs after the show and saying hello to all our new friends, that we missed out.

Some of the younger people there were even pulling the posters off the walls and having them sign them.

Phew….. what a day!  Felt like it was a month long…no wonder I’m so tired….  Mari just said, “Poor Diddums..”  I don’t get no respect around here….

 

 


3rd October, 2009
Wetzlar

 

Helmut, our show sponsor and his daughter Rebecca, came by Petershof to join us for breakfast.  Eggs, toast, cheese, bread, homemade jellies and jams…gallons of coffee….good, good, good….

Sumi noticed a lovely mannequin in the dining room with a fox fur and a leopard skin dress.  Actually, she was quite taken with it, so she struck a pose while Mari shot the pic.  Of course, I couldn’t allow Sumi to upstage me, so I had to get into the act, and then John couldn’t stand it, so he also jumped in for his big photo shoot.  Mari said we should do a contest and have people vote on who they think won the fashion modeling contest at Petershof.

SUMI?


BARRY?


OR JOHN?

Before we knew it, it was leaving time.  Franz and Dagmar were like family and our goodbyes were very rich with hugs and kisses on the cheeks.  Of course Emily was running all around our ankles so she got some hugs and scratches too, returning with big slurpy licks, but hey, that’s what dogs do.  If you don’t like the licks, don’t pet the dog!  LOL!

As sad as we were leaving such a wonderful experience with our extended family and friends, we were filled with delightful anticipation because we were headed for another friend’s home.  Thomas had just made it home from the hospital with a new kidney.  No more dialysis, happy, but hurting with another surgery looming on the near horizon.  That too was a great reunion for all of us.

 

We met Thomas and Petra last year, as Thomas was the organizer for our show in Siegen.  (Scroll down to  Blog, August 18th 2008)

They’d both been working all morning getting lunch together and what a great lunch it was

PETRA’S KITCHEN

Our two hours there seemed like five minutes.  If we weren’t scheduled to do another show tonight, we could have spent two or three days.  As it was, we crammed a lot of loving into a very short time.



On to the Hotel Mercure for a couple of hours rest before heading on to Franzis, our venue for the night in Wetzlar. 

Manfred met us at the door and gave us some hot coffee and helped us set up for the show. 

Another packed out house where they stood clapping, dancing and singing along with us for two and a half hours…..

We’re back in our rooms now writing this blog.  It’s 2 a.m. and we’ve got another show tomorrow night in Frankfurt, so we’re shutting it down.  Night, night….

 

 


2nd October, 2009
Altenkirchen

We couldn’t believe our rooms were that high above the street!  I mean, John got a crook in his neck just trying to find where he’d spent the night.

While John was looking up, Mari wound up digging around in the luggage looking for our vitamins.

Finally we got it together and hit the road for Altenkirchen where we were booked into Petershof Bed and Breakfast,  www.landhotel-petershof.de

We’d been booked there fourteen months ago and we were really looking forward to getting reacquainted with our old friends, Franz and Dagmar, and of course, the sweetest dog in Germany, Emily….

Emily came bounding out the door to meet us, all wiggly and cuddly.  We could only imagine that she really did remember who we were.  There’s something about a dog that makes you feel “normal.”  I mean, you can fool people, you can even fool yourself, but you can’t fool a doggie.

We arrived at Stadthalle around 5 p.m.  Helmut and his crew were waiting for us.  Usual quick set up and sound check and off we went to an incredible Chinese Restaurant over the road.  Hey, we had an opening act, the Folk Group “Stimmklang” which means “Vocal Sounds of Life” in German.  The room was set up like a nightclub with tables and chairs. 

They had an open bar in the lobby and waitresses were serving the tables.  People were waiting in line when we got there so when the room opened up, they came pouring in with drinks in hand ready for the show.

Stimmklang did about a 30 minute set and we did our normal two hour show, and closed by inviting Stimmklang back up on stage to do a final song together.  We decided to do a Woody Guthrie tune, so we closed the night out with “This Land is Your Land.”

 


October 1st, 2009
Frankfurt

 

It was an easy morning with a late check out.   Mari caught this photo of John and Sumi having breakfast at Hotel Christine.

About an hour and a half drive to Frankfurt.  Green, green, the grass is green on both sides of the hill.  What beautiful weather we’re experiencing on this tour and Germany is absolutely gorgeous.  Why did people ever leave this country to go anywhere?

Checked into the Frankfurt Marriott Hotel.

The Hessischer Rundfunk  www.hr-online.de  Radio Talkshow people had provided our rooms for us and the Front Office Manager, Raad said he’d upgraded Mari and me to a Suite on the 34th floor.  We thought, “Wow, how cool!  The 34th floor – wow, we’ll be able to see the whole city.”  So off we went into the elevator, up, up, up, up, up.  I noticed in the elevator a very loud electric buzzing sound.  I thought to myself, “Wow, this elevator is really buzzing.”  When we got out of the elevator and stepped into the hall, the whole hall was buzzing, so I thought it was something to do with the elevator, and our room was right next to the elevator shaft, so when we went into our room, the buzzing was even louder.  We couldn’t believe it!  This beautiful Suite with a loud, spiking electric buzz coming from every direction.  Then I opened the curtains to see the city.  Surprise!  Our Suite overlooked the satellite dishes…..

So we went to John and Sumi’s room just down the hall.  Their room wasn’t buzzing and look at their view….

So Mari and I went back to our room and I got on the phone and said, “I can’t believe it, this room has got a very loud buzz going on and all I can see out my window is satellite dishes.  Do you think you could just give me a regular room?  We don’t need a Suite, we’re only going to be here one night and I’d really like a room that doesn’t buzz.”  So they sent up a young man with our new room keys.  While he was standing there, I said, “Listen to this buzz, can you hear it?”   He said, “Oh yes.”  I said, “What’s making it?”  He shook his head bewildered, “I don’t know,” he said.  So off he went, and up we went to the 41st floor, noticing all the way the buzzing, buzzing, buzzing in the hallways and on the elevator and right into our new room.  We couldn’t believe it!  The whole damn hotel was buzzing.  I’m starting to think, “I’m not going to be able to stay here, I won’t get a wink of sleep with that horrible noise going on.”  So I called the desk again telling them this room was buzzing also.  He asked me to hold on for a minute, so while I was waiting for him to come back on the line, I sat down on the chair at the desk, and lo, the buzzing got REALLY loud!  I told Mari, “Hey, when I sit down, the buzzing gets louder,” and when I looked at my right, her carryon bag was sitting right next to my shoulder.  I reached my hand over and touched her bag and it was buzzing away.  I  told Mari, “It’s this bag, what have you got in this bag?”  So she came over and unzipped it, and there it was, her Pink Electric Toothbrush buzzing away.  Did we feel stupid or what?

About that time Raad came back on the line and I apologized to him and told him what had happened.  We both had a great laugh and he told me that in all of his years in the hotel business, this was the strangest complaint he’d had!  The next morning when we went down to check out, the whole front desk at the Marriott was laughing about the electric pink toothbrush.  He told Mari this was the funniest thing that had ever happened.
We both felt like we were doing a segment on the “I Love Lucy” show.

But because of the buzzy toothbrush, Raad had extended Executive Lounge privileges for all of us and we really took advantage of his gift.

And the view from the Executive Lounge was amazing as it was on the 43rd floor.

John was so concerned about going up to the “Executive Lounge,” and not knowing the dress code, he had Sumi fashion a lovely toilet paper tie with the hotel logo printed on it.

I think Sumi could start making these things and selling them to restaurants where ties are required.

Our radio interview was scheduled for 8 p.m to midnight.

Konnie, the Producer of  TV show we did last year at Waldeck Castle, met us in the lobby at 5 p.m. to take us up to the dining room.

Before we knew it, we were in the studio with Werner Reinke, a long-time radio show host.

Three hours of live radio and it seemed like 30 minutes, laughing, talking, telling stories, playing all the old original recordings, “Tambourine Man” by the Byrds, “San Francisco with Flowers” by Scott McKenzie, “Everybody’s Talkin’” by Fred Neil, even had a copy of “Three Wheels On My Wagon” by the New Christy Minstrels.

Then John came into the studio and we tuned up our twelve strings and did some live stuff for Werner and his listening audience.

We left the studio about 11.30 p.m. and made it back to the Marriott with enough time to zip up to the Executive Lounge for a nice soft glass of red wine and then it was off to bed for the five of us.

 

 

 

 


September 30, 2009
Landstuhl

Early morning call – packed and ready to go by 8 a.m.  Quick breakfast, brushed our teeth and we were on the road by 9 a.m.  Five hour drive to Landsthul, where there is a US military base. Of course, I slept most of the way.  Checked into the Hotel Christine www.hotel-christine.com

HOTEL CHRISTINE

where we occupied the largest rooms we’ve had so far in the tour.  Beautiful King sized bed with a little wrought iron railed balcony overlooking the tiled rooftops of the village,

VIEW FROM BALCONY

Jake and Jim met us in the lobby and led us over to the Base where they’d already worked out our security passes.

JOHN JIM JAKE BARRY

The USO building was built two years ago in ten weeks time by volunteers.

OUTSIDE SHOT OF USO

Now volunteers staff it, using all donated funds so the guys can have a place to relax and recuperate from their war experiences and physical injuries.  It was a very sobering time for us to meet these young men who had experienced so much physical and emotional pain, and yet, they could still smile and sing along with us.

USO GUYS

It was great just to sit and talk for a few hours about “normal” things – how to make mint sauce from scratch, how to roast a lamb or make pumpkin soup.  We met guys from all across the United States – California to New York, Missouri to Michigan, just young American men “caught in the devil’s bargain” faithfully fulfilling the instructions they’ve been given by the powers that be, (whoever they are.)

It was an acoustic show – no microphones, no amplification, just a big living room full of guys and a couple of girls, all in uniform.

USO LONG SHOT

Afterwards they fed us a great spaghetti dinner with a huge salad, parmesan cheese and hot garlic bread, finished off with strawberry shortcake and whipped cream.  There went my calories for the day…..and no treadmill to burn them off with.

We returned to the hotel about 9.30 p.m. and wound up in the lobby doing our Facebook and email and writing this blog page.  Some things are the same the world over – the floor must be vacuumed, so we dutifully lifted our feet as the laughing lady house keeper zoomed around the room.

VACUUMING LOBBY

Last thing we said to each other before going to sleep was, “Wow, here we are moving on down the road, and those guys are still there in their outpatient dormitories waiting to be sent either back home to the States or returned to the front lines in harm’s way once again.”

 


September 28, 2009
Travel Day

Travel day from Winterthur to Ingolstadt.  Got caught in a huge traffic jam, and experienced three different countries, Switzerland, Austria and Germany.  I only experienced two countries because I slept all the way through Austria with my head bouncing against the seatbelt strap over my shoulder.  Better than the window pane…

We arrived at our hotel in Ingolstadt, the Park Hotel Heidehof, www.parkhotel-heidehof.de late in the afternoon so it was just a quick dinner, work on our blogs.  The only channel on television they spoke English was CNN – “Boring!”   So we turned that off and went to sleep.

September 29, 2009
Ingolstadt

Had a wonderful 45 minute walk over to a huge shopping mall where we just snooped around.  Tried to buy a couple of things but they wouldn’t take a credit card and we didn’t have any Euros, so it was a very inexpensive shopping trip.  We just left everything on the counter and said, “Well, thanks anyway,” and walked out.

Left for the club a couple of hours early.  I needed to find a guitar stand and John was looking for a soft guitar bag that he could use to carry his guitar in and out of the venues and up to his room and back.  His hard shell case weighs a ton.  We located a quaint little music store called Music In www.music-in.de   I found my guitar stand, John found his guitar bag.  The guy working there was really cool, but it was obvious he didn’t play the guitar because he showed so little interest in John’s 12-string.

We had a great walk around the city center. 

The Danube River ran right along next to the city so we were all singing Strauss’ “Blue Danube”.  Jean-Daniel I think got a little embarrassed with us “crazy Americans” and was letting everybody know, “I don’t know them, I don’t know them, they’re not with me….”   So we sang louder….la,la,la,la, oompah, oompah…..”as John practiced his rodeo training.

Seems like no matter how far we travel, even in downtown Ingolstadt, we just can’t get away from Hollywood. Can you believe that?

Mari and I got ahead of the others so we took a little break while the slowmoes, (the looky loo tourist types) were catching up with us.

Then it was back to the car and onto the club Neue Welt www.neuewelt-ingolstadt.de   Another unique restaurant bar Music Club.  Why don’t we have more of these in the States, especially in California?  Why do we have to fly half way around the world to find an audience that will drive for hours to see our show?  Oh well, whatever it takes.  John and I are definitely “fools of the trade.” 

Once again, George, the sound guy was excellent.  He grafted our on-stage mixing system right into his house system and had us up and running in about twenty minutes.
Of course there’s only four lines to deal with – two vocals and two guitars. 

We retired to the dressing room that had a beautiful long table in it and in came the food.

 Mari and I shared a bowl of  pork vegetable soup and John and Sumi had onion soup.  Jean-Daniel had a salad, and then we all had vegetable pasta with a light creamy cheese sauce mixed all mixed through it – not the thing to eat before a show.  I should have just stopped with the soup, but the pasta was SO delicious, I ate the whole thing.  Then we had about an hour and a half to show time, so John and I stretched out on the bench and caught a nap. 

Mari knitted and Sumi took photos.

The show was very interesting for us.  Maybe we had just been spoiled by our last audience in Switzerland, but it seemed these Bavarian Germans just sat there with their arms crossed looking at us very seriously.  It took a while but they started opening up about half way through the first part of the show. 

By the end of the show we actually had TWO encores – they just wouldn’t stop clapping, so in truth, it was the best non-response response we’ve had so far in Europe.

 

After the show people crowded around our autograph table telling us how wonderful the show was, how much fun they’d had and brought all kinds of old vinyl albums and even some cassettes for us to sign. 

Said they’d loved the show.  John and I were looking at each other wondering if this was the same audience we’d just performed for.  It really was a wonderful venue and a great bunch of folks.

 

 


Sunday, 27th September 2009

Winterthur, Switzerland

Show days are always a bit boring because the show itself is such a high energy presentation that it takes everything we’ve got, so it’s just a “take it easy” kind of day and that’s what today was.

Mari and I went for another 40 minute walk around town to see what we’d missed the night before when we walked around in the dark.

Then it was back to the hotel where I went up to John and Sumi’s room to work on some new songs while Mari downloaded some of Sumi’s photos and worked on our blogs.  John and I were having so much fun laying out the tunes we want to do on our next recording that the whole afternoon slipped away and before we knew it, it was time to get ready for our trip to the Casino Theater. www.casinotheater.ch

It’s really a unique situation because the entire building is owned by a group of artists so it’s set up with the best sound and lighting we’ve seen in many a day. 

The TV crew was already there when we arrived.  They caught a few shots of our sound check and then we went down to the Casino Restaurant with Daniella (the artist co-ordinator).

After dinner I grabbed a 45 minute nap in one of the dressing rooms and woke up just in time to suit up for the show.    The TV crew only wanted to do three of our songs that they would then use to edit into a production featuring many other artists.

I don’t know what’s happening with our show.  I mean it’s really getting larger than life. 

 

About half way through the second half, I asked Sumi to come up and get a shot of our audience.  Once again I told them that we needed to get a shot of the Wildlife here in Switzerland, which gave them a bit of a chuckle as Sumi snapped the shot.

Right in the middle of the last song, the pick up on John’s guitar broke and with a bit of fiddling around, we realized it couldn’t be fixed, so I gave him my cable and we closed the show with “In My Life” where John plays and I sing.

While Sumi was packing up the gear, we were out front with Mari signing cds and just generally having a great time saying hello and goodbye to all the folks  The end of another perfect day…..

 

 

 



Saturday, 26th September, 2009

We met in the hotel restaurant for breakfast about 9 a.m. and Jean-Daniel introduced us to Mike Bischoff and his video crew. www.sonntag.ch   They had already set up a room at the hotel for an interview so we got to it and had a great time talking about the unfolding of our personal life experiences.

By the time the interview had finished, Mari, John and Sumi had everything waiting in the lobby to be loaded into our Renault Rent A Van, and off we went to Jean-Daniel’s house for lunch.  His home overlooks Lake Geneva and while we were standing on the lawn looking out across the lake, a huge waterspout rose out of the bay just below and shot water over 300 feet straight up into the air.  What a sight it was. 

Jean-Daniel’s wife, Angela had prepared a wonderful surprise birthday meal for us as it is Sumi’s birthday today.  They had invited two friends that we met on our last tour, Reto and Barbara who presented Sumi with some wonderful chocolates for her birthday gift.

After lunch Jean-Daniel invited two of his neighbors, Lisa and Jens over for a chat and they were really a fun couple of people – absolutely bursting with energy and so excited about coming to the show in Winterthur.

Jens and I got off together and started swapping stories and isn’t it funny how you can meet someone for the first time and feel like you’ve known them all your life.

After goodbye hugs and a kiss on each cheek, that seems to be what they do here in Switzerland, we were back on the road again to Winterthur.  We hadn’t driven more than 10 kilometers before the four of us were sound asleep.  Fortunately Jean-Daniel didn’t doze off as he was driving.  It was amazing.  It took no time at all to get where we were going.  Funny that!  Sleep is like time travel.  You close your eyes and instantly you arrive at your destination. 

Another super hotel – The Park Hotel  www.phwin.ch  After unpacking, even thought it was late, we got together for a walk around town which was absolutely delightful.  Lots of shoe stores!  Racks and racks of boots.  They’ve taken an old section of the town, closed off all the streets and made a comfortably spacious place for people to linger and wander, to sit and talk at the outside cafes, just to go window shopping on a very cool, fall evening.

We found an Italian restaurant, Molino Pizzeria www.molino.ch   It was rocket salad with balsamic dressing and shaved parmesan cheese, salmon risotto, salmon pastas and a vegetarian ravioli, accompanied with a bottle of red wine and finished off the meal with a cup of coffee for me, a cup of tea for Mari and three espressos.

With a nice walk back to our hotel, it was the perfect end of a perfect travel day.  No show tonight.

 


Friday, September 25, 2009

Since Mari and I didn’t bring our treadmill with us (they wouldn’t check it at the gate), we hit the early morning streets – lots of hills and long sidewalk stairways going up and down, so we got in our 45 minutes of rough going anyway. 

Had a great telephone interview for Sunday’s show in Winterthur, a nice afternoon nap, shower and a shave and off to the Muhle Hunziken Hall which was one of the more unique venues we’ve ever played. Check out the Front Gate

Originally 200 years ago it was a mill that had burned down twice and rebuilt both times.  It still had the long pulley shafts that used to carry the belt drive systems to the machines on the floor.  The place was filled with art – wooden sculptures, cast steel statues,

 rows of leadlight windows, carvings, paintings, objects of all sizes and shapes, magical lighting everywhere.  It was like performing in a wonderland of eclectic art.

Peter, the owner, met us at the load in gate and introduced us to his family who ran the entire operation.  Our sound man, Tom, was an old pro and had us up and running in twenty minutes.

Peter’s daughter served up a kettle filled to the brim with curried chicken and another kettle filled with steamed rice along with exotic cheeses, sausages, fresh grapes, pears, bananas, oranges and fresh bakery breads, not to mention the bars of Swiss chocolate scattered on the table.

We were all tuned up and ready to go, but not understanding the language, we didn’t really know what was happening out on stage, so when the clock struck 21:00 (9 p.m.) I asked John, “Are you ready?”  He said, “Yep, let’s do it,” and out we went. The audience immediately started clapping and cheering but Peter’s daughter came running up to the stage saying, “No, go back, go back.”  So I told the audience to stop clapping and informed them we had to do it all over again, causing laughter to break out across the entire room. 

John and I traipsed back over to the side of the stage, then Peter walked out and introduced us.  The only thing we understood was when he said, “Barry McGuire and John York Trippin’ The Sixties” so we knew that was our cue and for the second time we traipsed back out on stage to the applause and laughter of a well primed audience.

The show launched like a Cape Canaveral event – instant blast off, instant audience participation, and for the next two hours we went trippin’ the sixties.

It had been two months since our last performance and we were like race horses snorting in our stalls anticipating the gates springing open, and when they sprung, so did we.  Mari said she saw me do some dance steps she’d never seen before.  I think it was because of all the up and down stairs that we walked, my leg muscles were a bit wobbly and I was compensating.

All the way back to the hotel, the five of us just chattered and chortled away riding the frizzy joy of what we had just experienced.  I think Peter has become a friend of the Trippin’ train or maybe he just developed a great appreciation for Mari….LOL!  What do you think….hmmmmm???


 

 

 


Thursday, September 24, 2009

After an evening’s rehearsal the night before, John York, his wife Sumi, Mari and I loaded up our Dollar Rent A Van and headed for LAX


A sweet drive to the airport – took the 210 to the 605 to the 105 to LAX.  We had such fat luggage, we couldn’t get it through the narrow door into the elevator.   Too funny….

 

We got to the check in counter so early that we had to wait 45 minutes before the ticketeers showed up, so we were the first ones in line, so we asked the people behind us to take this photo.

 

The flight from LAX to Zurich was only 10 ½ hours.  Didn’t catch a wink that night, either did Mari.  John and Sumi were snoring away – woke up just in time for breakfast.  Going through customs was a non-event.  We didn’t even have to fill out any forms.  Just got off the plane, picked up our luggage, showed them our passports and walked out to the parking lot where Jean-Daniel, our Tour Manager was waiting for us in his Rent A Renault Van.

Zurich to Bern was about an hour and a half of gentle traffic five o’clock in the evening traffic – not like LA that’s for sure…LOL!  Checked in to the Hotel Ambassador www.fassbindhotels.com  unpacked, had a shower, clean clothes, and went down for dinner in the Pavillon Restaurant.  The meals were presented so beautifully, we couldn’t’ figure out whether we should eat them or frame them.

 

So we ate ‘em, absolutely delicious!  Then off to bed for twelve hours of solid sleep.  A long day and nine hours ahead of California.  Thank God Thursday was such a short day for us.

 

3rd October, 2009
Wetzlar

 

Helmut, our show sponsor and his daughter Rebecca, came by Petershof to join us for breakfast.  Eggs, toast, cheese, bread, homemade jellies and jams…gallons of coffee….good, good, good….

Sumi noticed a lovely mannequin in the dining room with a fox fur and a leopard skin dress.  Actually, she was quite taken with it, so she struck a pose while Mari shot the pic.  Of course, I couldn’t allow Sumi to upstage me, so I had to get into the act, and then John couldn’t stand it, so he also jumped in for his big photo shoot.  Mari said we should do a contest and have people vote on who they think won the fashion modeling contest at Petershof.

SUMI?


BARRY?


OR JOHN?

Before we knew it, it was leaving time.  Franz and Dagmar were like family and our goodbyes were very rich with hugs and kisses on the cheeks.  Of course Emily was running all around our ankles so she got some hugs and scratches too, returning with big slurpy licks, but hey, that’s what dogs do.  If you don’t like the licks, don’t pet the dog!  LOL!

As sad as we were leaving such a wonderful experience with our extended family and friends, we were filled with delightful anticipation because we were headed for another friend’s home.  Thomas had just made it home from the hospital with a new kidney.  No more dialysis, happy, but hurting with another surgery looming on the near horizon.  That too was a great reunion for all of us.

 

We met Thomas and Petra last year, as Thomas was the organizer for our show in Siegen.  (Scroll down to  Blog, August 18th 2008)

They’d both been working all morning getting lunch together and what a great lunch it was

PETRA’S KITCHEN

Our two hours there seemed like five minutes.  If we weren’t scheduled to do another show tonight, we could have spent two or three days.  As it was, we crammed a lot of loving into a very short time.



On to the Hotel Mercure for a couple of hours rest before heading on to Franzis, our venue for the night in Wetzlar. 

Manfred met us at the door and gave us some hot coffee and helped us set up for the show. 

Another packed out house where they stood clapping, dancing and singing along with us for two and a half hours…..

We’re back in our rooms now writing this blog.  It’s 2 a.m. and we’ve got another show tomorrow night in Frankfurt, so we’re shutting it down.  Night, night….

 

 


2nd October, 2009
Altenkirchen

We couldn’t believe our rooms were that high above the street!  I mean, John got a crook in his neck just trying to find where he’d spent the night.

While John was looking up, Mari wound up digging around in the luggage looking for our vitamins.

Finally we got it together and hit the road for Altenkirchen where we were booked into Petershof Bed and Breakfast,  www.landhotel-petershof.de

We’d been booked there fourteen months ago and we were really looking forward to getting reacquainted with our old friends, Franz and Dagmar, and of course, the sweetest dog in Germany, Emily….

Emily came bounding out the door to meet us, all wiggly and cuddly.  We could only imagine that she really did remember who we were.  There’s something about a dog that makes you feel “normal.”  I mean, you can fool people, you can even fool yourself, but you can’t fool a doggie.

We arrived at Stadthalle around 5 p.m.  Helmut and his crew were waiting for us.  Usual quick set up and sound check and off we went to an incredible Chinese Restaurant over the road.  Hey, we had an opening act, the Folk Group “Stimmklang” which means “Vocal Sounds of Life” in German.  The room was set up like a nightclub with tables and chairs. 

They had an open bar in the lobby and waitresses were serving the tables.  People were waiting in line when we got there so when the room opened up, they came pouring in with drinks in hand ready for the show.

Stimmklang did about a 30 minute set and we did our normal two hour show, and closed by inviting Stimmklang back up on stage to do a final song together.  We decided to do a Woody Guthrie tune, so we closed the night out with “This Land is Your Land.”

 


October 1st, 2009
Frankfurt

 

It was an easy morning with a late check out.   Mari caught this photo of John and Sumi having breakfast at Hotel Christine.

About an hour and a half drive to Frankfurt.  Green, green, the grass is green on both sides of the hill.  What beautiful weather we’re experiencing on this tour and Germany is absolutely gorgeous.  Why did people ever leave this country to go anywhere?

Checked into the Frankfurt Marriott Hotel.

The Hessischer Rundfunk  www.hr-online.de  Radio Talkshow people had provided our rooms for us and the Front Office Manager, Raad said he’d upgraded Mari and me to a Suite on the 34th floor.  We thought, “Wow, how cool!  The 34th floor – wow, we’ll be able to see the whole city.”  So off we went into the elevator, up, up, up, up, up.  I noticed in the elevator a very loud electric buzzing sound.  I thought to myself, “Wow, this elevator is really buzzing.”  When we got out of the elevator and stepped into the hall, the whole hall was buzzing, so I thought it was something to do with the elevator, and our room was right next to the elevator shaft, so when we went into our room, the buzzing was even louder.  We couldn’t believe it!  This beautiful Suite with a loud, spiking electric buzz coming from every direction.  Then I opened the curtains to see the city.  Surprise!  Our Suite overlooked the satellite dishes…..

So we went to John and Sumi’s room just down the hall.  Their room wasn’t buzzing and look at their view….

So Mari and I went back to our room and I got on the phone and said, “I can’t believe it, this room has got a very loud buzz going on and all I can see out my window is satellite dishes.  Do you think you could just give me a regular room?  We don’t need a Suite, we’re only going to be here one night and I’d really like a room that doesn’t buzz.”  So they sent up a young man with our new room keys.  While he was standing there, I said, “Listen to this buzz, can you hear it?”   He said, “Oh yes.”  I said, “What’s making it?”  He shook his head bewildered, “I don’t know,” he said.  So off he went, and up we went to the 41st floor, noticing all the way the buzzing, buzzing, buzzing in the hallways and on the elevator and right into our new room.  We couldn’t believe it!  The whole damn hotel was buzzing.  I’m starting to think, “I’m not going to be able to stay here, I won’t get a wink of sleep with that horrible noise going on.”  So I called the desk again telling them this room was buzzing also.  He asked me to hold on for a minute, so while I was waiting for him to come back on the line, I sat down on the chair at the desk, and lo, the buzzing got REALLY loud!  I told Mari, “Hey, when I sit down, the buzzing gets louder,” and when I looked at my right, her carryon bag was sitting right next to my shoulder.  I reached my hand over and touched her bag and it was buzzing away.  I  told Mari, “It’s this bag, what have you got in this bag?”  So she came over and unzipped it, and there it was, her Pink Electric Toothbrush buzzing away.  Did we feel stupid or what?

About that time Raad came back on the line and I apologized to him and told him what had happened.  We both had a great laugh and he told me that in all of his years in the hotel business, this was the strangest complaint he’d had!  The next morning when we went down to check out, the whole front desk at the Marriott was laughing about the electric pink toothbrush.  He told Mari this was the funniest thing that had ever happened.
We both felt like we were doing a segment on the “I Love Lucy” show.

But because of the buzzy toothbrush, Raad had extended Executive Lounge privileges for all of us and we really took advantage of his gift.

And the view from the Executive Lounge was amazing as it was on the 43rd floor.

John was so concerned about going up to the “Executive Lounge,” and not knowing the dress code, he had Sumi fashion a lovely toilet paper tie with the hotel logo printed on it.

I think Sumi could start making these things and selling them to restaurants where ties are required.

Our radio interview was scheduled for 8 p.m to midnight.

Konnie, the Producer of  TV show we did last year at Waldeck Castle, met us in the lobby at 5 p.m. to take us up to the dining room.

Before we knew it, we were in the studio with Werner Reinke, a long-time radio show host.

Three hours of live radio and it seemed like 30 minutes, laughing, talking, telling stories, playing all the old original recordings, “Tambourine Man” by the Byrds, “San Francisco with Flowers” by Scott McKenzie, “Everybody’s Talkin’” by Fred Neil, even had a copy of “Three Wheels On My Wagon” by the New Christy Minstrels.

Then John came into the studio and we tuned up our twelve strings and did some live stuff for Werner and his listening audience.

We left the studio about 11.30 p.m. and made it back to the Marriott with enough time to zip up to the Executive Lounge for a nice soft glass of red wine and then it was off to bed for the five of us.

 

 

 

 


September 30, 2009
Landstuhl

Early morning call – packed and ready to go by 8 a.m.  Quick breakfast, brushed our teeth and we were on the road by 9 a.m.  Five hour drive to Landsthul, where there is a US military base. Of course, I slept most of the way.  Checked into the Hotel Christine www.hotel-christine.com

HOTEL CHRISTINE

where we occupied the largest rooms we’ve had so far in the tour.  Beautiful King sized bed with a little wrought iron railed balcony overlooking the tiled rooftops of the village,

VIEW FROM BALCONY

Jake and Jim met us in the lobby and led us over to the Base where they’d already worked out our security passes.

JOHN JIM JAKE BARRY

The USO building was built two years ago in ten weeks time by volunteers.

OUTSIDE SHOT OF USO

Now volunteers staff it, using all donated funds so the guys can have a place to relax and recuperate from their war experiences and physical injuries.  It was a very sobering time for us to meet these young men who had experienced so much physical and emotional pain, and yet, they could still smile and sing along with us.

USO GUYS

It was great just to sit and talk for a few hours about “normal” things – how to make mint sauce from scratch, how to roast a lamb or make pumpkin soup.  We met guys from all across the United States – California to New York, Missouri to Michigan, just young American men “caught in the devil’s bargain” faithfully fulfilling the instructions they’ve been given by the powers that be, (whoever they are.)

It was an acoustic show – no microphones, no amplification, just a big living room full of guys and a couple of girls, all in uniform.

USO LONG SHOT

Afterwards they fed us a great spaghetti dinner with a huge salad, parmesan cheese and hot garlic bread, finished off with strawberry shortcake and whipped cream.  There went my calories for the day…..and no treadmill to burn them off with.

We returned to the hotel about 9.30 p.m. and wound up in the lobby doing our Facebook and email and writing this blog page.  Some things are the same the world over – the floor must be vacuumed, so we dutifully lifted our feet as the laughing lady house keeper zoomed around the room.

VACUUMING LOBBY

Last thing we said to each other before going to sleep was, “Wow, here we are moving on down the road, and those guys are still there in their outpatient dormitories waiting to be sent either back home to the States or returned to the front lines in harm’s way once again.”

 


September 28, 2009
Travel Day

Travel day from Winterthur to Ingolstadt.  Got caught in a huge traffic jam, and experienced three different countries, Switzerland, Austria and Germany.  I only experienced two countries because I slept all the way through Austria with my head bouncing against the seatbelt strap over my shoulder.  Better than the window pane…

We arrived at our hotel in Ingolstadt, the Park Hotel Heidehof, www.parkhotel-heidehof.de late in the afternoon so it was just a quick dinner, work on our blogs.  The only channel on television they spoke English was CNN – “Boring!”   So we turned that off and went to sleep.

September 29, 2009
Ingolstadt

Had a wonderful 45 minute walk over to a huge shopping mall where we just snooped around.  Tried to buy a couple of things but they wouldn’t take a credit card and we didn’t have any Euros, so it was a very inexpensive shopping trip.  We just left everything on the counter and said, “Well, thanks anyway,” and walked out.

Left for the club a couple of hours early.  I needed to find a guitar stand and John was looking for a soft guitar bag that he could use to carry his guitar in and out of the venues and up to his room and back.  His hard shell case weighs a ton.  We located a quaint little music store called Music In www.music-in.de   I found my guitar stand, John found his guitar bag.  The guy working there was really cool, but it was obvious he didn’t play the guitar because he showed so little interest in John’s 12-string.

We had a great walk around the city center. 

The Danube River ran right along next to the city so we were all singing Strauss’ “Blue Danube”.  Jean-Daniel I think got a little embarrassed with us “crazy Americans” and was letting everybody know, “I don’t know them, I don’t know them, they’re not with me….”   So we sang louder….la,la,la,la, oompah, oompah…..”as John practiced his rodeo training.

Seems like no matter how far we travel, even in downtown Ingolstadt, we just can’t get away from Hollywood. Can you believe that?

Mari and I got ahead of the others so we took a little break while the slowmoes, (the looky loo tourist types) were catching up with us.

Then it was back to the car and onto the club Neue Welt www.neuewelt-ingolstadt.de   Another unique restaurant bar Music Club.  Why don’t we have more of these in the States, especially in California?  Why do we have to fly half way around the world to find an audience that will drive for hours to see our show?  Oh well, whatever it takes.  John and I are definitely “fools of the trade.” 

Once again, George, the sound guy was excellent.  He grafted our on-stage mixing system right into his house system and had us up and running in about twenty minutes.
Of course there’s only four lines to deal with – two vocals and two guitars. 

We retired to the dressing room that had a beautiful long table in it and in came the food.

 Mari and I shared a bowl of  pork vegetable soup and John and Sumi had onion soup.  Jean-Daniel had a salad, and then we all had vegetable pasta with a light creamy cheese sauce mixed all mixed through it – not the thing to eat before a show.  I should have just stopped with the soup, but the pasta was SO delicious, I ate the whole thing.  Then we had about an hour and a half to show time, so John and I stretched out on the bench and caught a nap. 

Mari knitted and Sumi took photos.

The show was very interesting for us.  Maybe we had just been spoiled by our last audience in Switzerland, but it seemed these Bavarian Germans just sat there with their arms crossed looking at us very seriously.  It took a while but they started opening up about half way through the first part of the show. 

By the end of the show we actually had TWO encores – they just wouldn’t stop clapping, so in truth, it was the best non-response response we’ve had so far in Europe.

 

After the show people crowded around our autograph table telling us how wonderful the show was, how much fun they’d had and brought all kinds of old vinyl albums and even some cassettes for us to sign. 

Said they’d loved the show.  John and I were looking at each other wondering if this was the same audience we’d just performed for.  It really was a wonderful venue and a great bunch of folks.

 

 


Sunday, 27th September 2009

Winterthur, Switzerland

Show days are always a bit boring because the show itself is such a high energy presentation that it takes everything we’ve got, so it’s just a “take it easy” kind of day and that’s what today was.

Mari and I went for another 40 minute walk around town to see what we’d missed the night before when we walked around in the dark.

Then it was back to the hotel where I went up to John and Sumi’s room to work on some new songs while Mari downloaded some of Sumi’s photos and worked on our blogs.  John and I were having so much fun laying out the tunes we want to do on our next recording that the whole afternoon slipped away and before we knew it, it was time to get ready for our trip to the Casino Theater. www.casinotheater.ch

It’s really a unique situation because the entire building is owned by a group of artists so it’s set up with the best sound and lighting we’ve seen in many a day. 

The TV crew was already there when we arrived.  They caught a few shots of our sound check and then we went down to the Casino Restaurant with Daniella (the artist co-ordinator).

After dinner I grabbed a 45 minute nap in one of the dressing rooms and woke up just in time to suit up for the show.    The TV crew only wanted to do three of our songs that they would then use to edit into a production featuring many other artists.

I don’t know what’s happening with our show.  I mean it’s really getting larger than life. 

 

About half way through the second half, I asked Sumi to come up and get a shot of our audience.  Once again I told them that we needed to get a shot of the Wildlife here in Switzerland, which gave them a bit of a chuckle as Sumi snapped the shot.

Right in the middle of the last song, the pick up on John’s guitar broke and with a bit of fiddling around, we realized it couldn’t be fixed, so I gave him my cable and we closed the show with “In My Life” where John plays and I sing.

While Sumi was packing up the gear, we were out front with Mari signing cds and just generally having a great time saying hello and goodbye to all the folks  The end of another perfect day…..

 

 

 



Saturday, 26th September, 2009

We met in the hotel restaurant for breakfast about 9 a.m. and Jean-Daniel introduced us to Mike Bischoff and his video crew. www.sonntag.ch   They had already set up a room at the hotel for an interview so we got to it and had a great time talking about the unfolding of our personal life experiences.

By the time the interview had finished, Mari, John and Sumi had everything waiting in the lobby to be loaded into our Renault Rent A Van, and off we went to Jean-Daniel’s house for lunch.  His home overlooks Lake Geneva and while we were standing on the lawn looking out across the lake, a huge waterspout rose out of the bay just below and shot water over 300 feet straight up into the air.  What a sight it was. 

Jean-Daniel’s wife, Angela had prepared a wonderful surprise birthday meal for us as it is Sumi’s birthday today.  They had invited two friends that we met on our last tour, Reto and Barbara who presented Sumi with some wonderful chocolates for her birthday gift.

After lunch Jean-Daniel invited two of his neighbors, Lisa and Jens over for a chat and they were really a fun couple of people – absolutely bursting with energy and so excited about coming to the show in Winterthur.

Jens and I got off together and started swapping stories and isn’t it funny how you can meet someone for the first time and feel like you’ve known them all your life.

After goodbye hugs and a kiss on each cheek, that seems to be what they do here in Switzerland, we were back on the road again to Winterthur.  We hadn’t driven more than 10 kilometers before the four of us were sound asleep.  Fortunately Jean-Daniel didn’t doze off as he was driving.  It was amazing.  It took no time at all to get where we were going.  Funny that!  Sleep is like time travel.  You close your eyes and instantly you arrive at your destination. 

Another super hotel – The Park Hotel  www.phwin.ch  After unpacking, even thought it was late, we got together for a walk around town which was absolutely delightful.  Lots of shoe stores!  Racks and racks of boots.  They’ve taken an old section of the town, closed off all the streets and made a comfortably spacious place for people to linger and wander, to sit and talk at the outside cafes, just to go window shopping on a very cool, fall evening.

We found an Italian restaurant, Molino Pizzeria www.molino.ch   It was rocket salad with balsamic dressing and shaved parmesan cheese, salmon risotto, salmon pastas and a vegetarian ravioli, accompanied with a bottle of red wine and finished off the meal with a cup of coffee for me, a cup of tea for Mari and three espressos.

With a nice walk back to our hotel, it was the perfect end of a perfect travel day.  No show tonight.

 


Friday, September 25, 2009

Since Mari and I didn’t bring our treadmill with us (they wouldn’t check it at the gate), we hit the early morning streets – lots of hills and long sidewalk stairways going up and down, so we got in our 45 minutes of rough going anyway. 

Had a great telephone interview for Sunday’s show in Winterthur, a nice afternoon nap, shower and a shave and off to the Muhle Hunziken Hall which was one of the more unique venues we’ve ever played. Check out the Front Gate

Originally 200 years ago it was a mill that had burned down twice and rebuilt both times.  It still had the long pulley shafts that used to carry the belt drive systems to the machines on the floor.  The place was filled with art – wooden sculptures, cast steel statues,

 rows of leadlight windows, carvings, paintings, objects of all sizes and shapes, magical lighting everywhere.  It was like performing in a wonderland of eclectic art.

Peter, the owner, met us at the load in gate and introduced us to his family who ran the entire operation.  Our sound man, Tom, was an old pro and had us up and running in twenty minutes.

Peter’s daughter served up a kettle filled to the brim with curried chicken and another kettle filled with steamed rice along with exotic cheeses, sausages, fresh grapes, pears, bananas, oranges and fresh bakery breads, not to mention the bars of Swiss chocolate scattered on the table.

We were all tuned up and ready to go, but not understanding the language, we didn’t really know what was happening out on stage, so when the clock struck 21:00 (9 p.m.) I asked John, “Are you ready?”  He said, “Yep, let’s do it,” and out we went. The audience immediately started clapping and cheering but Peter’s daughter came running up to the stage saying, “No, go back, go back.”  So I told the audience to stop clapping and informed them we had to do it all over again, causing laughter to break out across the entire room. 

John and I traipsed back over to the side of the stage, then Peter walked out and introduced us.  The only thing we understood was when he said, “Barry McGuire and John York Trippin’ The Sixties” so we knew that was our cue and for the second time we traipsed back out on stage to the applause and laughter of a well primed audience.

The show launched like a Cape Canaveral event – instant blast off, instant audience participation, and for the next two hours we went trippin’ the sixties.

It had been two months since our last performance and we were like race horses snorting in our stalls anticipating the gates springing open, and when they sprung, so did we.  Mari said she saw me do some dance steps she’d never seen before.  I think it was because of all the up and down stairs that we walked, my leg muscles were a bit wobbly and I was compensating.

All the way back to the hotel, the five of us just chattered and chortled away riding the frizzy joy of what we had just experienced.  I think Peter has become a friend of the Trippin’ train or maybe he just developed a great appreciation for Mari….LOL!  What do you think….hmmmmm???


 

 

 


Thursday, September 24, 2009

After an evening’s rehearsal the night before, John York, his wife Sumi, Mari and I loaded up our Dollar Rent A Van and headed for LAX


A sweet drive to the airport – took the 210 to the 605 to the 105 to LAX.  We had such fat luggage, we couldn’t get it through the narrow door into the elevator.   Too funny….

 

We got to the check in counter so early that we had to wait 45 minutes before the ticketeers showed up, so we were the first ones in line, so we asked the people behind us to take this photo.

 

The flight from LAX to Zurich was only 10 ½ hours.  Didn’t catch a wink that night, either did Mari.  John and Sumi were snoring away – woke up just in time for breakfast.  Going through customs was a non-event.  We didn’t even have to fill out any forms.  Just got off the plane, picked up our luggage, showed them our passports and walked out to the parking lot where Jean-Daniel, our Tour Manager was waiting for us in his Rent A Renault Van.

Zurich to Bern was about an hour and a half of gentle traffic five o’clock in the evening traffic – not like LA that’s for sure…LOL!  Checked in to the Hotel Ambassador www.fassbindhotels.com  unpacked, had a shower, clean clothes, and went down for dinner in the Pavillon Restaurant.  The meals were presented so beautifully, we couldn’t’ figure out whether we should eat them or frame them.

 

So we ate ‘em, absolutely delicious!  Then off to bed for twelve hours of solid sleep.  A long day and nine hours ahead of California.  Thank God Thursday was such a short day for us.



 

July 9th, 2009 -  Coffee Gallery Backstage, Altadena, CA

Left our friends’ home in Del Mar about 11 a.m. and pulled into Pasadena around 1 p.m.  We love the Saga Motel right there on Colorado Blvd.  It feels like stepping back into the 1950s.  Palm trees, a heated swimming pool and lovely spacious rooms.  We stay there every time we sing at the CGB.  Got to the Gallery about 6 o’clock. 



John and Sumi were already there – quick sound check then some of Sumi’s yummy sandwiches, washed down with some great Gallery coffee.  Lots of friends showed up – Sis and Michele and Paul and of course Terry Roland, our dear friend and occasional publicist.  Bob Stane got there around 7 p.m. for a final tweaking of the sound and then it was just hanging loose until all the folks showed up for the show.

Bob Stane

The show was indescribably delicious.  It’s the same old show night after night but it’s never “the same old show.”  Every show we do is totally unique – ain’t that the way of live performances.  You never know what’s going to happen and then when it’s all over you don’t know quite what did happen.  You only know it’s the best show you ever did and July 9th was no exception – the best show we ever did.

 

July 11th, 2009 – Gelencser House Concert, Claremont CA

Sometimes it’s one or two months between tours.  That’s why we love house concerts so much.  It makes our rehearsals really exciting.  Both John and I would totally rather rehearse in a room full of people than for just the two of us to sit in a motel room keeping our songs sharp.  So house concerts give us an opportunity not only to keep the show tight but to every once in a while introduce a new song. 

Janice provided the venue for John and me to do our first show together, and here it was a year and a half later, and we were back in the very room where it all began.  Up close and personal – that’s what house concerts are all about. 

July 17th, 2009 – Auburn, WA

We arrived at Seatac on the evening of the 15th. 

Auburn Highway

John and Sumi got there about an hour later and we all rode over to our Holiday Inn there in Kent, WA where we spent five nights.  The weather was unbelievable.  It was sunshine and swimming pool days – totally unheard of in Seattle.

The Auburn show on the night of the 17th was full of friends who had driven hundreds of miles – some came from Canada, some came up from Oregon and some drove down from Seattle. 

  1. photo Auburn In A Line



Auburn In A Line

The dressing room was full of good food, hot coffee and old friends. 

Auburn Friends Backstage

Then John and I took the reunion out onto the stage and partied on to the last song.



Auburn On Stage

July 18th, 2009 – Burien, WA

Burien was an afternoon show in a venue where even the sponsor got lost trying to find it.  Fortunately we had a gps in our rental vehicle that got us to the right place, but it indicated the venue to be on the wrong side of the street. 

GPS

John just happened to see a tiny sign that said Performing Arts Center with a little arrow that led us into the parking lot.

Once again people drove for hours to see the show, and went home with a smile on their face and a song in their hearts. 

Burien

That night John told me, “Barry, it’s all about the songs,” and that’s the truth, it is all about the songs. 

July 21st, 2009 – Port Townsend, WA

Skip Cadorette had heard about us being in the Seattle area and invited us to participate in a fund raiser for a Homeless Shelter that is provided in the winter time for the street people of Port Townsend.  The pieces all fell together in such an effortless fashion, that I knew we were supposed to do the show.  Nearly everyone in town participated in the show.  The Bishop Hotel donated a lovely suite for the four of us,

The Bishop Hotel, PT

 the American Legion donated their auditorium for the show.  The sound and lights were donated by Brad Walker & Bill Ricks, Flamingo Audio, food was provided by Ruth Rubio,

Ruth, Us & Kids

the RV dressing room was donated and parked just behind the hall.  Nearly every store in Port Townsend had a Trippin’ The Sixties poster in the window provided by Dan Huntingford, SOS Printing.

Every Store in PT

Kathie Meyer, Port Townsend Leader wrote the excellent article promoting the concert, and along with being in the regular paper it was also in the online version. And people excited about the concert kept posting it- sharing the link- on Facebook, etc.  so needless to say the place was packed out.  It only held about 300 people, but with extra seating, they crammed 350 people in the room.  

Wildlife

 

Mark Hering, Quimper Sound handled all the ticket sales. They donated the Eve of Destruction album to be auctioned off ($175 came in from that), and then they turned around and donated back the ticket service charge to the Homeless Shelter. 

We had an age range from 7 to 97, in fact two ladies in their nineties had climbed on the Trippin’ train to celebrate their birthdays with us – Marie and Birdie.

Marie

 



Birdie

For John and I the show was like riding an avalanche of positive energy.  In the year and a half we’ve been together, this was absolutely, without a doubt, up to this point, the most fun show we’ve ever done.  Skip emailed us a couple of days later to let us know that they generated enough money to keep the Homeless Shelter open for an extra 30 days next Winter.  How good can it get?  Thank you Port Townsend for inviting us to come your way, and thank you so much for taking care of your street people, many of whom are Vietnam Vets.

 

 


The Golden Age of Music

Published Date: 17 June 2009
By Kevin Forde

Barry McGuire is a force of nature. At 74 years young, the sixties star puts men a quarter of his age to shame. He hops, skips and occasionally jumps to the sounds he and his slightly younger cohort John York make.

The sixties stars played the old Dara Cinema in Naas on Friday, June 12. The venue was perfect, with little changed since the cinema was last opened but for a chandelier and some white drapes over the screen in Dara 1. It is noticeable how little was needed to turn this place into a first class live venue.

Opening with New Christy Minstrels million seller \'Green Green\' McGuire had the crowd in the palm of his hand from the moment he opened his mouth. From here he segued into a couple of Dylan covers, including Mr Tambourine Man. It was thrilling to hear a former Byrd play their timeless 12 string intro to a song which set the template for the early part of their career. While McGuire was the front man, it was the interplay between him and his Californian companion that really made the show come alive.

York provided breathtaking harmony throughout the show while his 12 string guitar work made it hard to believe there were just two men on-stage.

Of course it was not just the music that people came to see. McGuire was full of stories and anecdotes. From John Sebastian, to close friends the Mama\'s & Papa\'s and Tim Hardin, they all got a mention.

As the show progressed, some poignancy was added as McGuire revealed the toll the Age of Aquarius took on many of his friends. \"Sex, drugs and rock \'n\' roll was a lot of fun but when the piper came to collect, he took sixteen of my friends that I’ve never seen again\"

The first half of the show finished with the now completely bald McGuire singing the title track from the musical \'Hair\' in which he played the original lead over forty years ago.

Happily mingling with the crowd during the interval, it was clear these two former rock stars were simply delighted to be plying their trade at all. \"We're really lucky to be doing this\", admitted York afterwards.

Kicking off the second half with \'Do You Believe in Magic\' the crowd were now well warmed up, if still a little restrained.

As we reached the final track of the night, McGuire talked about his first meeting with the Beatles in London in 1963.

\"Someone had a camera that night and captured that moment just as John captured a lifetime of moments for me in this tune\" The song he was referring to was Lennon's timeless, \'In My Life\'. As they left the stage there was a few tears in the eyes of many of those leading the applause.

Afterwards both men stayed around signing autographs and having pictures taken with anyone who remained, continuing to tell tales and entertain a crowd delighted to be spending time in the company of the two musical stars. McGuire revealed he actually once died on-stage around 10 years ago, \"My heart stopped. I’ve got a pace maker now. Ever since then I've kept perfect time!\"

John York spoke of how it is only in the last few years that he has come to terms with the illustrious company of his past. \"I was running from it for years,\" he insists, freely admitting to hating most of what fame thrust upon him in the late sixties. Now he says playing this music is what he was meant to do. \"This is what I was supposed to give to people\". Anyone who was privileged enough to be in the cinema on Friday night would surely agree.

 

 


Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

John & Sumi left early with Pam who took them to St Patrick’s Church in Almwych on their way to their Chrysalis Holiday house in Wales www.chrysalisholidays.co.uk

Mari and I spent a few hours answering email and responding to our  new Facebook  friends, then we loaded into Bill’s Pajero and off we went to North Wales.  We got caught in heavy traffic so Pam and John and Sumi had already arrived by the time we got there.  It was a hot cup of tea and a roam around the house and garden.  What a beautiful place it is built in 1902 with quite a history behind it.

That night was hot soup and cold cut sandwiches for dinner.  Then we caught the sun disappearing out over the North Atlantic and the low lying cloud cover turned all crimson orange/yellow.  It was phenomenal.

Then we retired to the lounge where we had a nice bottle of Shiraz, watched a bit of tele, then up to our third floor rooms for a long hot bath and kaplunk…..  The day was finished!

 

Wednesday, June 10th 2009

Toast and cereal.  Nice walk down to the bottom of the hill where we met a lady walking her dog, Kye.  He was about three years old, full of life – a golden lab, and Mari and I being so dog starved, and loving dogs so much, were down on our knees scratching and petting and giving him a cuddle.  Of course he loved it – he was wiggling, and sniffing and wagging his tail.  The lady probably thought we were a couple of crazy Americans, and when it comes to doggies, she would be right.

Pam stayed behind to paint the front door posts and frame with a fresh coat of black paint.  We caught this photo of Bill and Pammie saying goodbye……

Then we loaded into the car at 9 a.m. and headed on over to Holyhead to catch the “Stena Explorer” our ferry ride to Dublin.

The ship was completely enclosed except for a balcony right on the aft deck.

 It was so noisy back there that we  just stuck our noses out and went, “oh..hmmm” and then I went back to grab a nap.

Bill drove us straight to our hotel, The Leeson Hotel, Dublin www.theleesonhotel.com  I don’t know how he does it, I think he has a built in GPS in his head.  Of course, we were too early for check in so we sat in the lobby for a couple of hours answering email on a wireless connection – yeah for wireless connections.

We headed over to the Sugar Club www.thesugarclub.com  for a 6 p.m. sound  check. 

The Sugar Club is the longest running nightclub theatre in Dublin and what a fantastic room it is.  It was originally a movie theatre, so they took out every other row of seats, replacing them with tables with comfortable curving couches around each table like a living room,

 Ian, our soundman was so knowledgeable with his room, that he had us all dialed in in twenty minutes which gave us plenty of time to nip next door to the pub for a ham and cheese toasted sandwich and a pint of Irish lager while watching a Rugby game from South Africa on a large screen tv.  Who could ask for anything more!

The show started at 8.45p.m..  Some of the folks had driven many, many miles to get there and  there’s really no way to describe the pleasure we experienced as we all went “Trippin’ the Sixties” together.

They were such an open, honest crowd of folks.  After nearly every song, they would make comments, ask questions – totally interacting with John and me.  It was like a home, house concert with old friends.

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

The Leeson Hotel was originally a Georgian family townhouse about 30 feet wide, about 70 feet deep and four storeys tall.  The original backyard would have been about 30 x 100 feet with a beautiful brick carriage house opening onto the back alley, and above that would be the servants’ quarters. 

The houses are all built right up against each other in a row.  Me being the snoopy guy that I am, as soon as breakfast was over, I had to go outback and walk the alleys just to admire all the brickwork and the lovely carriage houses that still retain their original architecture.  Most of the front houses have all been hacked and chopped up into office buildings and hotels, but the back buildings look just like they did a hundred years ago.
Many of these carriage houses have been turned into lovely private dwellings – very quaint, and very Irish.

It was a day off for John and Sumi, so they were off walking the streets of Dublin.

Pat Morrisey came to pick us up at 11.45 a.m. and walked us through one of the most beautiful parks we’ve ever seen right here in downtown Dublin

 – bridges, lakes, swans, lovely green grass areas – a large gazebo with a live band playing “Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy.”  We walked on to the radio station which was kind of funny because the name of the station is 4FM and it’s located on the 5th Floor, Latin Hall, Golden Lane, Dublin www.4fm.ie   Caitriona, (proounced Katrina) the lovely receptionist there at 4FM offered us all a cup of tea and Mari caught a shot of Pat and Bill sipping away

 

while I went in to do the interview with Jim.  It was a great format.  I had to choose my ten favorite songs from the sixties.  He recorded five separate segments of two songs each that he will broadcast over the next five days – it took about an hour to do.  He said he would mp3 me the show in its entirety so I can post it on a new Trippin the Sixties page that we’ll call “Interviews”.  It should be fun for folks to hear.

On our walk back from the studio to the hotel, we came across a street band that was so Irish and so intoxicating, Mari had to drag me away.  Music is magical stuff isn’t it!  Once it captures you, it’s really hard to shake it loose.

That night was off for us, so we got to bed early – problem was some huge party was going on in the courtyard just outside our window.  Man, it sounded like a football game crowd cheering, yelling, shouting, singing, while all the time the speakers were blasting out a heavy thump, thump, thump disco beat with unintelligible melodies and lyrics, all garbled in the mix.  It went until 3 a.m. but it was such a consistent roar of sound, it kind of sounded like heavy wind blowing through trees on a stormy night, and we went right off to sleep.

Friday, 12th June 2009

Left Dublin around noon.  Headed over to Naas.  What a lovely drive and what an absolute postcard picture town!  We arrived at Mill Lane House Bed & Breakfast www.milllanehouse.com  And what a gorgeous day it was!  Not a cloud in the sky!

Our hostess, Carmel greeted us with tea, fruitcake and shortbread biscuits (cookies).  We had the rest of the afternoon off – total bliss.  Last show coming up tonight – bitter sweet – happy to be going home but sad that our UK tour is coming to an end.

The Dara Cinema was a cinema at one time, but it’s been transformed into a wonderful concert hall with a huge foyer where people can just hang around and chat, drink tea and eat lots of bikkies (cookies). 

The sound was two Bose stacks, one on each side of the stage.  The way the soundman had it set up was John’s guitar and voice came out of the stack on his side of the stage, and my guitar and voice came out of the stack on my side of the stage, so I couldn’t hear him and he couldn’t hear me, which was really strange.  The only time we heard each other was when we would get together center stage to do guitar work, but Bill and Mari and Sumi, all three said the sound in the audience was the best we’d had for the whole tour.

After the show John and I spent about a half hour signing cds and saying hi to the folks.  I was so pleased and surprised  to see David Dempsey standing there by the cd table with his dark blue jacket and red striped shirt.

David was the first Irishman to sponsor a Trippin concert in Rosslare back in August of 2008, and how cool it was that he just happened to be on his way from Dublin home, and was able to come by and catch a show.

Saturday, 13th June 2009

Our sponsor, Breege Nolan came by for a quick cuppa and a bit of a chat.  (Can’t believe how fast we’re picking up these English quips.

I just kind of sat there feeling like Basil Fawlty listening to Sybil and Polly, saying, “I know, I know, I know…..” It was too funny, but I was afraid to laugh.  They both had half empty cups of hot coffee in their hands.  It was goodbyes all around, and off we went back to the Dublin ferry.

It was a brilliantly sunny day with a brisk breeze kicking up some white caps.  The harbor was full of sailboats all zigzagging around trying to miss each other, and here comes the ferry – a huge double hulled catamaran ship blasting away on his horn, sailboats scurrying for cover.  Right in the middle of the harbor he throws the wheel hard to port, does a huge donut, white water churning up off the bottom of the bay, shuts everything down, and backs right in – kerplunk to the loading dock.  I guess all the dock workers knew that the Skipper knew what he was doing, because they were all standing out there, ho hum, waiting to tie down the big cables that secured the ship to the loading ramp. We couldn’t believe our eyes, we thought he was going to take the whole end of the dock off, and he didn’t even scratch the paint on his lovely ship. We just stood there dumbfounded at how quickly the cars, buses, trucks and motorcycles started zooming down the ramp.

Once again I slept most of the way to Holy Head and woke up just in time to have a frosty pint of Beck’s beer, and Mari had a nice hot cup of tea.  She is a tea soak you know!  So long, Ireland, hope we get to come back and sing for you again, maybe in 2010.

 


Friday, 5th June, 2009
Eastbourne

Rolled out of Bill and Pam’s about 8.30 a.m.  and headed south on the M whatever?  Chattered and laughed and carried on about all sorts of things for about twenty minutes, then we all went to sleep except of course for Bill as he was driving.  Tons of traffic as we got closer to London.  Finally, we had to make a pit stop – water in, water out… filled the tank with petrol (about $8 a gallon – ouch!) and on we went, the four of us snoozing while Bill drove.  Next thing we knew we were in Eastbourne, right on the south coast of England.

Our hotel “The Chatsworth” www.chatsworth-hotel.com was right across the street from the beach.  The elevator was an absolute antique monstrosity!  It had two concertina doors that were spring loaded, and so you had to hold them both open with one hand while you put all your luggage in with the other hand.  Then when you actually got inside the lift, the doors would spring shut, and you better not have any bodily parts in the way or they would be left on the floor in the lobby. 

And then when you actually pressed the button to go up to your floor, the thing took off so fast, with such a start that your knees would buckle and you’d almost wind up on the floor of the elevator, but the truth of it was that it actually moved so slowly, there was an upholstered bench in the back where you could sit and wait for your floor to arrive.  John and Sumi helped us get all our luggage in the lift and then seeing it was so full, they said they would walk up to the third floor, and as they were leaving John said, “Enjoy your room.”  Meaning the little six by six box we were occupying, and Mari quickly responded with, “I get the couch,” which left me standing bow legged and knock kneed amongst the luggage.

Our room was on the top floor with a little balcony.  Of course it was too windy and cold to spend any time out there.  And just fifty yards away across the street that our room was facing was a hotel that was being painted and all the scaffolding guys were crawling over it like ants. 

And you guessed it, our bathroom window didn’t have a curtain, so you were just sitting there, looking out the bathroom window at these guys and they’re all smiling and waving at you, and I’m wondering to myself.  Do they really know I’m in a bathroom or do they think I’m just sitting here reading a book.  So I waved back and smiled….ahhh……jolly ol’ England!

We had lunch with our sponsors, David and Melanie and some other long time friends we hadn’t seen in over thirty years.  Of course we didn’t recognize each other.  I mean, I haven’t changed, but they’ve all gotten old and wrinkly.  It was fish and chips all around, and then back for a nap before the show.

The venue was just a few blocks away from the hotel.  It was an absolutely beautiful old stone church.  It looked like it had been built hundreds of years ago, but we were told it was quite new – only about a hundred years old. 

The sound inside was phenomenal, like singing in a great huge shower.  It really helped when the people showed up because their clothing helped to absorb the echo-y sound.  We had a fun bunch of folks that night and they really got into the show. 

One of the more senior, grey haired, female show goers sitting in the front row, had to be in her eighties.  She knew every word to every song.  She was clapping along singing and when she’d get excited, she’d have both fists in the air, waving them around.  It felt like we were back at Woodstock.  There were dozens of teenagers sprinkled through the audience and they were responding just like the old lady.  It was all about the music, the songs, the energy – another great Trippin’ night.

Next day we drove back up the M whatever to Lowton where Bill and Pam live and we truly were glowing all the way home on all the positive energy and love we had experienced the night before.  All in all, Eastbourne so far was the best audience response and show presentation we’ve had on the tour.  Funny that – seems that John and I really do work off the energy that comes back at us from the audience.  That’s it for now.  Next stop Wigan.

 

Sunday, 7th June, 2009
Wigan

Wigan’s just a 15 minute drive from “Greenfield” (that’s the name carved in the stone above Bill & Pam’s front door.)  The show was held in a supper club in Aspull called “The Village”.


Bill’s son, Micah, was the only one there when we arrived.

                       
He already had the sound all set up, and we had a great time dialing it in, then we disappeared backstage while the place filled up. 

It’s always an interesting feeling not knowing how large the crowd is going to be.  I mean we could walk out on stage and there could be eight or nine people, or we could have a packed out house, which is the way it turned out to be.  They’d had a wedding reception the day before, so they left all the white tablecloths and chair covers on all the furniture, so the place was very spiffy looking. 

The show itself came off as per normal – goofy mistakes, tangled microphone cables, low overhead lights, so every time I’d take my guitar off, I’d bang the guitar head on an overhead light.  The audience was so different from down south.  I kind of got the feeling they were watching television – a much more reserved bunch of folks, but afterwards, man, they exploded with enthusiastic appreciation for what they’d experienced.

It’s amazing isn’t it!  You never know what’s going on inside of somebody else’s head.  John said he was watching one night a guy who was sitting there with his arms crossed, and he was wondering if the guy was enjoying the songs and the stories, and then during one tune, without a change of expression, John said he saw a tear trickle down the man’s cheek.  Wow!  Sometimes it’s deep unto deep isn’t it!

After the show we charged back home, piled into Bill & Pam’s living room and slapped in a Fawlty Towers video cassette.  We watched two shows and laughed ourselves right into the wee, early morning hours and then it was off to bed.  What a wonderful day!

 


Sunday, 31st May – June 4th, 2009

Drove back to Lowton from Portsmouth to Bill and Pam’s house

                                              

…..five hour drive and lots of laundry.  Next day we had a sleep in.  It was a sunny day so we hung out the laundry to dry.  That evening we checked out a new Indian restaurant in the neighborhood. www.royalsaffron.co.uk   Typical for England, most all the buildings had been around for a hundred years or more, but when we stepped through the door of the Saffron, we entered a quiet, clean, spacious restaurant, beautifully appointed with a staff that seemed to float around the tables.  Food and drinks just appeared in front of us.

From where we sat, we could see right across the street a Chinese Takeaway, and Pammie told us how she’d spent her teenage years living in that very building upstairs and showed us her upstairs bedroom window.  She told us her parents had owned the shop back then and it was a Fish and Chip shop.  About a block up the street was where Bill had spent his teenage years and that’s where their courtship started.  How incredible!

Tuesday, the 2nd Pam and Bill’s daughter, Yvette arrived and whisked the girls away for a shopping spree at Cheshire Oaks near Liverpool.   Bill dropped John and I off at Norman Barrett’s recording studio, then Bill was off to Manchester.  We recorded two songs which we were really pleased with.  “When My Morning Comes Around,” a song written by Iris DeMent and a Madonna song called“Frozen.”  We’re working on a new cd hopefully to be released early next year.

We met back at Bill and Pam’s house just in time for John and Sumi, Mari and I to walk through the garden gate to John and Gill’s backyard where the barbee was already cooking – kebabs, bangers, and pork steaks with all the English trimmings.  Yummy! 

                                   

John restrung Gill’s guitar and we all sat around in their garden gazebo singing old folk songs, telling stories old and new, and just generally enjoying ourselves. 

Wednesday, the 3rd, another day off but the girls wanted to see the Beatles Museum over in Liverpool.  John and I wanted to see the Maritime museum, so we met some friends for lunch, Pat and Paddy had flown over from Ireland for the afternoon and Terry already lives there in Liverpool. 

                                  

These three guys have been friends since childhood.  Pat Morrisey had already chosen the restaurant that we walked to and what a choice it was! Lunch at Bistro Jacques www.bistrojacques.com  Our waitress’ name was Rosie and she had a disposition as beautiful as her name.  What a sweetie!

                                 

After lunch the guys went their own way and the five of us headed over to the Liverpool Cathedral – an awesome piece of architecture. 

                                   

Bill told us it took them four generations to build it. www.liverpoolcathedral.org.uk  Then off we went to the docks there on the Mersey where the the Maritime Museum is back to back with the Beatles Museum. 

We’d spent so much time laughing and lunching with the guys that we didn’t realize it was already pushing 5 p.m. so we only got to spend about an hour in the Maritime Museum before they shut the place down and asked us all to leave. 

So we had a lovely walk along the Mersey – the tide was out – sun was hanging low in the sky, and it was just great to be alive – the five of us watching the Mersey ferry coming across from Birkenhead.

Thursday, 4th June – another day off and for Mari and I, this is really a day off.  John and Sumi went off to York with their friend, John and as of this writing, they haven’t returned.  Mari and I spent the day at home just reading and answering email and working on this blog before another day goes by and we’ve forgotten all that’s happened. Mari went with Pammie to do grocery shopping at Sainsburys, because by now we’ve eaten her fridge and cupboards bare.  I spent the day sneezing – got some kind of allergies going here in the UK springtime.  Tomorrow we head down to Eastbourne for our Friday night show so that’s it for now.


Portsmouth, May 29th, 2009

Five hours drive to The Langstone Hotel, Portsmouth.  www.langstonehotel.co.uk  But thankfully tonight’s a night off so we can stretch the kinks out of our backs and legs.   We found a great restaurant just over the bridge, right on the water, The Ship Inn. 

 

It was fish and chips with green peas and malt vinegar (and just a dash of Tabasco – the Tabasco was an American import) all around with a couple of Greek salads, and some fine English ale to wash it all down, then off to our rooms to catch up on all our email, download all the photos, and write about our adventures on the road.  So much for a night “off.”

FISH & CHIPS AT THE SHIP INN

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

An easy day off.  English breakfast at the hotel – eggs and baked beans, toast, marmalade, sausage and bacon, rolls, cheese and crackers along with the English breakfast cereals.  The coffee was horrible, but the tea was grand.

Spent the afternoon just catching up on our zzzs.  Really, just getting over the California to England jetlag.  Loaded up around 5 p.m. and headed for the venue.  Bill had the directions on a paper table napkin from breakfast, and it’s a good thing he did, or we would have never found the venue. 

Loaded in, did our sound check.  I did a couple of radio and newspaper interviews.  It was an early show – started at 7 p.m. and finished at 9 p.m.  The English were a lovely bunch of folks to sing to.  They laughed and clapped and sang along, and when it was over, after two encores, they still didn’t want us to leave the stage, so I went back and sang a couple of accepala songs and shared thirty minutes of road stories.  Then it was autographs, handshakes, hugs and photos.  All in all, a really wonderful night.

On the way home Bill spotted a Chinese restaurant.   It was called Winnie’s Chinese Restaurant at 5 Queens Parade, Waterlooville, Hampshire PO7 7EB.  If you’re ever in the area, let me say they serve up great Chinese food and the ambiance of the café was soooo comfortable.  Our waiter, Kevin, had a killer smile and served us like kings and queens.

A quick drive back to the hotel, and now we’re shut down for the night.  Going to roll out at 10 a.m. and head on back up to Warrington – another five hour drive home – ugghh!

Next show will be in Eastbourne.  Talk atcha then.


Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Left LAX 11.00 a.m. on Sunday, 24th May.  Arrived in Newark, NJ around 7 p.m. and caught our flight onto Manchester – another six hours arriving on Monday at 10.00 a.m. UK time.  We felt like everybody feels after flying all day and all night….yuck!

                       

Our long-time friends, Bill and Pam Hampson were waiting for us and off they whisked us to their home in Warrington.  We had many cups of tea, lots of laughs and an early dinner.  Pammie outdid herself with a real English meal – yummy!

Motherwell, May 26th, 2009

Next day, Tuesday, had a nice sleep in, got up around 10 a.m., had breakfast at noon and hit the road at 1 p.m.  We laughed about having to get up before the crack of noon – how uncivilized!  Bill drove all the way to Motherwell, about 3 ½ hours.  John and Sumi sat in the front of the van with Bill as they’d never seen the north of England or Scotland before.  Mari and I snoozed in the back.

We were greeted in Motherwell by our sponsor, David, who had everything set up and waiting for us including a wonderful Scottish “tea” waiting in our dressing room.  A Scottish “tea” consists of fresh rolls, assorted cheeses, a bowl filled with fruit, various cold cuts of meat and salads along with, of course, real tea and coffee – and don’t forget the chocolate cookies, which I, Barry didn’t get to eat one of.  David had a choral group of kids who opened the show with a couple of my kids’ tunes, “Don’t Rubbish The Children” and “Bullfrogs and Butterflies”. 

                       

We had a great crowd. Our friend, Andra drove down from Aberdeen – about 200 miles and cheered us on all evening.  The Scots are a wonderful bunch of folks.  They tell it like it is, and don’t pull their punches.  In your face - plain and simple.  If they love you, they let you know, and if they don’t, well, they let you know that too.  I guess they loved us because it took us an hour to shake hands and hug our way out of the building. Just in time to catch the last van to Bill’s house.  Of course, it was the same van we drove up in and our only ride home.

                       

Warrington, May 27th, 2009

Got to bed about 3 a.m. and slept till 3 p.m. the following day.  What a great day off – just lazied around.  Mari and Sumi caught up on the laundry.  John and I started working on some new arrangement ideas for a couple of songs we want to add to the show, and that night Pammie made a wonderful salmon meal followed by plum tart and real English custard.  What a tough life!

                      

Leeds, May 28th, 2009

It was only an hour’s drive over to Leeds so we got a late start.  Met up with an email friend, Alan Gibson and his family. 

His wife, Bernice is from Jamaica and man, can she cook!  Actually she told us that her son had prepared the meal, so I have to say, “Man, can he cook!”  Of course, we overate, especially the cheesecake and Banoffee Pie!  John and I both felt like a couple of stuffed hippos off to the venue to do our show.

                       

The New Roscoe is an English pub right out of a storybook.  I mean it was perfect!

                       

 Our sound man, Duncan was a pro and had us up and running in about twenty minutes,

 

then we just lazied around and waited for the crowd to arrive.  I’ve got to say the show was a bit bumpy at the New Roscoe.  The fettucine pasta meal was hanging heavy in our stomachs, and they didn’t want to start the show until 9.15 p.m. because that’s when their crowd showed up, and we were still suffering from California jetlag.  I was asleep on the floor in the dressing room and John had to wake me up.  “Show Time….”  But all’s well that ends well, and end well it did with a couple of encores.  But we saw the bartender looking at his wristwatch so we knew it was time to shut it down for the night. 


 

On Mar 27, 2009, at 11:23 AM, christine mccall wrote:

Dear Barry McGuire,

Yes, everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when the president was shot, when the astronauts landed, and especially when Nixon resigned....

But I also remember the moment I first heard Eve of Destruction.

In my green bedroom in Hawthorne, Ca.  I was a sophomore in high school. It was in the evening -- still light out because of daylight savings time.   I had on blue and yellow "Jams" (Hawaiian print cut-offs) and a Hussongs Cantina T-shirt.  Eve came on the radio (I think it was KHJ 93 AM Boss Rock) and I stood riveted listening to every word.  

When it was over I padded into the kitchen and asked my Mom, a private  secretary, to listen for it and to take the lyrics down in shorthand for me when it came on again. I hadn't asked her to
do that in the 5 years since Marty Robbins' El Paso, so she was
willing.  We heard it three more times that night.

Everyone was talking about it at school the next day.  I was the only one who had all of the lyrics.

Later on down the road my straight-laced Mom divorced my (hated) stepfather.  She said she knew the marriage was on its tail end when he defended the conduct of the cops at an anti-war rally. He said he knew it was over when my Republican mom re-registered for the new Peace & Freedom party. I always thought my mom had begun to see the world in a different light after she paid such attention taking down
and transcribing those lyrics.

Whenever Eve would come on the car radio, my Mom would always sing out"listen for the growl!" Then she would honk the horn madly after that moment of the song.  (I think you know what moment I'm talking about.)

I was at your Coffee Gallery show last night.  What a wonderful time.

What a gift of memories.  What I wouldn't give to hear Hoyt Axton one more time at the Ashgrove, or John Stewart at the Golden Bear. Good to see you looking so good.  Your voice seems not to have changed a note since  that evening in my green bedroom.  I would have recognized you anywhere.

Sometime I hope to hear you sing California Bloodlines. And St. James Infirmary -- made for you!

Thank you for a moving and joyful evening.

Christine McCall


Green Bay, Wi
March 21, 2009

March 20th, 4 a.m. headed for the Ontario Airport – pitch black and so foggy we couldn’t even see the lines in the street.  Fortunately we had our GPS that told us which way to turn.  We couldn’t even see the street signs.  It got us to the airport all right, but we couldn’t find Parking Lot 5 – got lost twice, finally got on the right street and as we pulled up to the ticket meter, we were right behind John and Sumi who had just arrived.  How incredible! 

Three airplanes, two Security checks and 14 hours later, we picked up our baggage at the Green Bay Terminal where we were met by the two Marks.  Never could figure out which one was which one – they said one of them was the “other” Mark.  They took us straight to our hotel where we had a quick bite in the Hotel Restaurant.

Next day they picked us up at 12 noon and took us to lunch at the HuHot Mongolian Grill www.huhot.com on Oneida St in Green Bay.  When the waitress came to our table and told us the process of putting our meals together, I was totally flumixed.  Did not have a clue how it was all supposed to work, but off we went, standing in line, a bowl in each hand, filling them with chopped vegetables, different meats – pork, chicken, beef, and then came the sauces.  I mean there were twenty different sauces.  I felt like a dummy standing there looking at all these sauces.  Mari just followed a recipe of 3 scoops of this two of that and one of three others, but I didn’t have my reading glasses on, so I just started slopping sauces on my veges and pasta.  Then we went over and stood in the line where the most unique system of cooking that I’ve ever seen, took place.  A huge round steel grill, at least 8 feet in diameter and four inches thick, with a half a dozen cooks moving around in a circle, each one flipping and stirring and mixing the individual meals as they took the bowls from our hands and poured them onto the grill.  I don’t know how they kept track of all of it, but eventually, they gave me a plate with all of my choices, steaming hot, deliciously prepared.  Unbelievable!  If you’re ever in Green Bay, you’ve got to go the the Huhot Restaurant.  I know I’ll be going back there some day, that’s for sure.

That night - the show!  Our sponsor had booked us into the Meyer Theatre.
www.meyertheatre.org  We walked on stage to a huge applause from the audience.  They were really looking to have a good time!  It was so much fun for John and me as every time we started to play another song, as soon as the audience recognized what we were playing, they would burst into applause and start singing along with us.

While we were on stage singing, Mari who was managing the merch tables, met Dennis who runs the theatre.  The theatre is so gorgeous that she had lots of questions for him and they had a lot of fun looking around, and as they did, he told her some of the stories of this magnificent venue.

Originally a Fox Theatre, it was opened on Valentine’s Day 1930.  It was closed most of the ‘90s and then after a 22 month renovation and $9 million later, it was reopened in 2002.  The silent heroes of the theatre were the people who when they had renovated the building in earlier years, dry-walled 12” – 18” away from the plaster so that all the original beauty of the structure could be restored.  The only parts that are not original are the Bar, the bathrooms and the Sound and Lighting Booth.

Every theatre has its ghosts of course, and she was told this theatre was no exception.  The Meyer theatre has 2 ½ Ghosts.  The ½ ghost is that of a Chuck Dombrowsky who once a year would work on the heating and air conditioning units (a full day’s job).  He was a heavy smoker and had a heart attack in the basement.  Unfortunately he wasn’t found for three hours after his heart attack so that was the end of him.

Then, the other 2 ghosts - one is a female – the wife of the theatre owner. She was having a romance with the manager of the theatre some time in the late forties, and so the owner killed the manager.  The wife went to the top of the marquis and jumped.  Her image is said to appear in the glass of an upstairs window.  They even had the glass reglazed, but the image came back.  The other ghost of course, is that of the manager, who the owner killed.  Ooooooweeeooooohhh……

While all this was going on, John and I are onstage doing the show.  I wanted to get a photograph of the Green Bay wildlife, so Mike Desotell, Staff Reporter of The Eagle Herald in Marinette, WI had his wife hand me a camera and I got this shot from the stage.  Not bad eh!

After the following song, “San Francisco with Flowers in your Hair,” Paul and Melissa, who were sitting in the front row, presented John and me with a beautiful bouquet of roses.  That was a “first.”  Neither one of us have ever been presented with roses before.

The show finished as it had started but now the audience was on its feet, shouting, clapping, and wanting more.  So I told them it was an old show biz tradition to leave an audience wanting more.  I told them we had a lot more songs to sing but they’d just have to come back next year to hear them.  Of course, I encouraged them to bring a lot of friends with them next year.  That’s about it for Green Bay – it was awesome!



25th February – 9th March

Our entire time in New Zealand was an absolute blur doing two and three events almost every day – with Tear Fund doing, tv and radio interviews, school assemblies and classes, home groups along with several churches that had invited me to come tell my story.


Barry at Radio Rhema with the Tear Fund team

Mari spent a few days visiting with her mother in Orewa, about 30 minutes North of Auckland and then joined us in Christchurch for the last weekend there. 

If you’re ever in Christchurch you’ve got to go to Sevanti Restaurant, 70 Kendal Ave, Burnside, Christchurch.  We met the owner who is also the chef and I’ve got to say it was the most delicious meal we had in New Zealand.  I ordered Chicken Stir Fry, Donny had Beef Curry and Mari had an appetizer of Mushrooms and Scallops.  We ate outside on their back patio and felt like Kings and Queens eating in our own private courtyard – candlelight, umbrellas, the whole nine yards.

February

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

We arrived in LaVerne around 12 o’clock.  We had a couple of hours to kill before we picked up John and Sumi so Mari and I found a beautiful little park with a picnic table under some shady trees.  We dragged out our little portable ice chest and finished off the sandwiches left over from the recording session the day before.  LaVerne is a college town about an hour east of LA.  It’s kind of like stepping back into the forties – a slow moving, totally integrated bunch of friendly folks – families out walking, moms, dads, kids, dogs, police gently cruising along waving at folks they know and folks waving back.  What a sweet way to spend a couple of hours.

We swung by John and Sumi’s around 1.30 p.m., loaded up and headed for LAX.  It was a piece of cake.  John knew the quickest way to get there and since we were so early (about six hours before flight time), we were the first ones to check in, got our boarding passes, took the van back to the car rental, shuttled back to the airport and had another picnic meal in the upstairs dining area of the Tom Bradley International Terminal.  Over our shoulder we could hear the Super Bowl and every once in a while people would scream and yell.  Seemed like just a few minutes until it was time to make our way out to the gate, where we spent the next few hours online answering email and just blabbing away on our cell phones saying goodbye to family and friends.

The flight to Sydney was idyllic – absolutely, totally boring – don’t remember one patch of rough air.  14 ½ hours – three movies and two meals later we  were clearing customs in Australia. A quick ride over to the domestic terminal and we boarded another Qantas flight to Melbourne.

Melbourne (we lost Monday crossing the International Date Line) – February 3rd 

On our flight to Melbourne they gave us some of the best cookies, “Bush Honey & Lemon cookies“ www.cookie.com.au with coffee.   We were sitting in the last two rows of the plane and I happened to mention to the flight attendant how delicious the cookies were, and she very graciously said, “Oh, would you like some more.”  I told her I would love some more so she gave us a half a dozen more cookies that Mari and Sumi stuffed in their purses.  Hey, we’re road rats and when it comes to food, we pack it in whenever and wherever we can. 

We arrived in Melbourne and lo, no Donny. 



 

We were looking all around the baggage claim area and out on the sidewalk, but alas, he was nowhere to be found.  But wouldn’t you know, Mari still had an Australian $20 bill tucked away in her wallet from our last trip to Oz nearly a year ago, so she found  a pay phone, called Donny.  Mari said, “Where are ya?”  He said, “I’m here waiting for ya outside.”  Mari says, “Well, we’re outside and we don’t see ya.” Not knowing that we had transferred to a domestic flight, he was waiting for us over at the international terminal.   So we trundled our luggage loaded trolleys over there, and sure enough there he was walking around in figure 8 circles, talking on his cell phone.  Donny cannot stand still when he’s talking on the phone.     Walking out to the Taxi curb, wouldn’t you know a huge taxi van pulled up right there in front of us and off we went  to our Hotel.  BreakFree Heritage on Little Bourke Street. www.breakfree.com.au

We were totally jet lagged out and ready to crash, but at the same time we were starving so Donny took us to a little alley restaurant just around the corner. 

I

The restaurant was called Vons www.vonsrestaurant.com.au  A perfect way to end a very long travel day.

February 4th, 2009

Next morning we were gently awakened at 6.30 a.m. with metal grinding, jack hammering, carpenter pounding, crane roaring noises at the building site right outside our window.  I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.  There they were building an eight storey building – steel workers, trucks, compressors, welders, it was all happening at once.

I leaned so far out the window watching them, Mari had to grab me by the back of my belt and pull me back in just so she could talk to me…..I was like a little kid in a sandbox playing with my trucks and my front end loaders

We walked over to the big mall and wound up having lunch on an inside balcony overlooking Shot Tower

which is now the R. M. Williams (The bush outfitter) store www.rmwilliams.com.au  You have to click on this website and check it out.  It was unbelievable.

Lunch at the Old English Pub was much better than anything we’d had in Old England.  Then Donny picked up our van at 4 p.m. and we were off to the venue, Northcote Social Club, www.northcotesocialclub.com for our first Aussie show of the tour.

As usual, the show was a barn burner – Australian voices kicked in from the first verse of “Green Green” to the last line of “In My Life.”  There’s a club we’d love to play again on some future tour.   And wouldn’t you know, standing right there in front of the stage, was a very dear long-time friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in 30 years.  Tim Lynk advancedmusic@optusnet.com.au

We had traveled together in England doing about fifty shows in a musical titled “The Witness.”  How unexpectedly incredible!

February 5th, 2009

Once again, Mari drug me away from my window.  I was saying, “Oh honey, they’re going to be pouring concrete any minute now, but it wasn’t to be.  Mari marched us all down to Dick Smith’s electronic supply store where she bought Donny a Navman GPS unit.  Donny was totally against it, said he didn’t need any of that high tech junk telling him what to do, but Mari wouldn’t listen to him, and he got it anyway.  Then came the fun stuff.  “Reading the directions.”

What is it about us guys – we just don’t like to read directions, just plug the stupid thing in and start pushing buttons, and of course it didn’t work, so I got all bummed out and said, “Let’s take it back.”  But by now Donny was intrigued and parked in a No Parking Zone (where a policeman told us very politely that we were not allowed to park there and we’d have to move the car) but by now Donny had figured out how to make the Navman work and within just a few minutes getting out of the city, he said he’d fallen in love with it.  We’ve been using it every day since then.

We had a radio interview scheduled for early afternoon at the Eastland Mall 89.9 Light FM www.lightfm.com.au

Our host, Wes, treated us to a wonderful high balconied meal overlooking the gum tree tops across to the Community Rugby Field. 

Then off we drove to Wallacedale and did we get silly.  It all started when we saw a huge wall covered with grafitti and it was signed by an artist named “Smelly.”  John said, “Hey, that must have been an eighth dwarf that Snow White never mentioned, then we started thinking how there must be dozens of dwarves that were all hidden away in the background of the story, so we started naming the dwarves – over 105 of them and Mari wrote every name down.  As soon as we get them categorized into the family lineage, we’ll post them on a future blog.

We arrived late – had a great meal with Steve and Debbie, then off we went to our house in the country and lights out!!!

 

February 6th, 2009

Next day was the big reveal.  The house was surrounded by multiple hundreds of acres of rolling fields filled with cattle, horses, sheep and who knows what else.

 

INSERT #  3051 We fell in love with a one-eyed marmalade cat named “One.”   We were greeted early in the morning by Gary, the neighbor from “next door”, (about two miles away).  He’d grown up in the house and he just wanted to say hi.  Said he’d just pulled a baby calf out of its mother – said it was all upside down and backwards, going every which way, but it was doing fine now, and the mother cow was giving it a good clean up.  What a sparkly eyed, positive, Aussie bloke Gary is!  I mean, you could do a whole Australian sitcom based on his life – the real deal.

That evening it was show time.  The building was 125 years old,

originally built as a town center, then it became a church, then it became a movie theater, then it became a dance hall, now it’s back to being a church again.  The audience was pure Australian country folks, and did we have fun.

February 7th, 2009

Was a long drive to Adelaide.  We stopped at the Parker Coonawarra Estate www.parkercoonawarraestate.com.au  where we were greeted by Margaret Maldari.  What a sparkly eyed, fun lady she is.  She gave us samples of their wine.  It was really hard to choose which bottle to buy, but finally we decided on a Terra Rossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 – deep crimson red colour, with some purple hues – yummy, yummy.  Haven’t popped the cork yet – we’ll save it for the end of the tour.

Spent the rest of the day driving and snoozing.  Fortunately Donny didn’t do much snoozing as he was driving.  We arrived at our destination in Langhorne Creek around 6 p.m. and our host Mark was waiting for us at the local pub.  The temperature had dropped considerably just in the previous 24 hours so they were all claiming that we had brought the cool weather with us and were we ever glad.  Our digs for the next few days was Mark’s guest cottage “Martha’s In The Vineyard” www.marthasvineyard.com.au

What a lovely little cottage to have a few days off.

February 8th, 2009

I had been invited to come and share my songs and stories at a morning church service. www.clovercrest.com.au  What a wonderful bunch of folks to sing to and with.  After the service we went to a little outdoor café for lunch and then an easy afternoon off.

February 9th, 2009

Donny drove John, Sumi, Mari and me to the ABC studios where we did about an hour long live on-the-air interview. I

John sang a few verses of “We’re Bound For South Australia” and a couple of verses of “California Dreamin.”  Of course we invited everybody to come to our Wednesday night show at The Gov. That was about it for Monday.

February 10th, 2009

Was a whole day off – no interviews – no nothing – just lollygaggling around, the five of us along with our host, Mark Keough who took us out to the Cleland Wildlife Park. www.environment.sa.gov.au where we got to pet the kangaroos, feed the ducks, saw the koalas being fed – a whole

big open compound of them – big trees in the middle with little sheltered nesting areas where they could tuck up out of the rain.  We were the only ones there at the time of their feeding so we got into a nice conversation with their care givers.  They introduced us to the youngest one who was three years old and right over on the next branch was one of the oldest ones who was thirteen years old.  She told us in the wild, they usually only live to be about ten years old, but with the care they were receiving in the park, they usually live to around 15 or 16 years old.  Oh yeah, and we got to see the real Tasmanian Devils – talk about a mouth full of teeth.  They were just lazying around, one of them rolled his head back for a big yawn, it looked like a Mako shark grinning at us – ooooeeee – wouldn’t want to run into a hungry Tazzie Devil on a lonely night out in the bush.

It got a bit cloudy and some rain drops started falling so we headed for downtown Adelaide to the Market place where Mark took us to one of the best Asian food restaurants we’ve ever eaten at.

Donny discovered a coffee grinder which made him happy, Sumi bought some wonderful fresh veges from an Asian green grocer and off we went back to our vineyard cottage for an evening of singing, salad and “the best” wine  provided by our host.

 

February 11th, 2009

An easy morning getting our gear together – left the cottage about 2 p.m. – 4.30 p.m. sound check at The Gov.

A delicious meal provided by their restaurant. www.thegov.com.au


People just kept coming and coming even after the show began, they kept pouring in.


The waiters were busy bringing drinks and meals to all the tables as the show charged on.  It was a typically wonderful Trippin’ show.  The songs are becoming so accessible to the audience and John and I have so much fun playing ourselves into a hole and then having to play our way out of it.  Sometimes people are wondering what we’re laughing at because they don’t realize we just avoided a big musical train wreck by stubbornly picking away until we got back on track.  Our shows are never the same – like organic vegetables.  They may every one be a potato, but not one of them looks like any other.

After the show we hung around for over an hour just chatting with people, signing cds, signing old vinyl album covers that people bring to the show – even magazines and old posters.  Richard Berry showed up with a copy of  a souvenir programme that our Donny had put together for Spotlight music back in November 1977.  Talk about a blast from the past.  Photos of the 2nd Chapter of Acts, Evie, Janny Grine, Keith Green, Terry Talbot, John Michael Talbot, Annie Herring, Mike & Kathie Deasy and many more, and right there on Page 4 was a photo of  Richard Berry and me, so I got him to sign the photo for me seeing as how he had given the programme to me to keep.

 

February 12th, 2009

Next day was a long easy drive heading back to Melbourne.  We figured to do it in two days because we wanted to take the Coast Route and see all the wonderful cliffs, reefs and beaches including the Twelve Apostles.  So Donny set our destination that night for Warnambool where he had us booked to stay in an awesome apartment overlooking the Southern Ocean.  www.aquaoceanvillas.com.au

Along the way we stopped at Naracoorte for lunch and discovered a lovely little music store “Leading Edge Music” www.lemusic.net.au that actually had two B.C. Rich guitars hanging for sale on their wall.  I couldn’t help but strike up a conversation with Alex (short for Alexandra) telling her how Bernie had been a dear friend of mine and had built me an acoustic 12 string back in 1975.  If you ever go through Naracoorte, be sure to stop and say hi to Alex or her parents who weren’t there that day.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 13TH!!

A day that will live in infamy – LOL!

Started off as a beautiful sunny morning.  Laundry done the night before was drying in the morning sun as we had breakfast.  Loaded everything into the car.

Donny programmed our route into his new NavMan GPS unit, and pushed the “shortest route“ option” thinking that would get us to our destination quicker.  NEVER push that option!!

Off we went driving down the gorgeous Southern Ocean coastline – the water a crystal aquamarine clean blue green

– you could see to the very depths – what a place it would be to go snorkeling or scuba diving.  Crashing waves, white sandy beaches, cave grottos, huge island reefs that had been undercut by thousands of years of ocean waves, arched caves, a magical wonderland carved out by nature itself.

Then came the greatest adventure on the “shortest route” to Melbourne.  Filled with the wonderful visions of our experience along the coast, there we were driving along a smooth divided asphalt highway.  Then we noticed it became a two laned highway.  Our NavMan told us to turn left, which we did onto a one lane asphalt highway with no line down the middle.  The road got steeper as the trees grew thicker – huge gum trees, hundreds of years old.  Then came the gravel road which made another turn onto a dirt road, which took us deeper into what we later found out to be the Great Otway National Park. INSERT # 3480 By now we’re 20 kilometers into the park.  Our next NavMan instruction turned us onto a track with deep ruts and muddy chug holes,

 

 

and said “4 Wheel Drive Only beyond this point.”  Mari, of course, being the wise, boring woman that she is (with no spirit of adventure), said, “That’s it, turn this thing around – we’re heading back.”  But Donny and I said, “Nah, she’ll be right mate – no worries – she’s a beaut.”  And on we went.  Is all Sumi could do was sit and go, “ooooohhhoooohhhh I think we should turn around.”  Don and I started doing the theme from Deliverance, and John  chimed in echoing the counter point melody, “diddlelangdangdangdangdangdangdang”….. and we all started laughing while Sumi kept going “ooooohhhh” and Mari got real quiet. 

About 5 ks further, our next instruction from the NavMan wanted us to turn left onto a Trek that had a big sign saying 4 Wheel Drives Only, Rough Terrain Ahead.   I got out and walked a couple of hundred meters down that road, and found all it to be nothing more than a long run of holes that looked like a demolition expert had just blown a pathway through the jungle.

 

Even I saw there was no way we were going to make it, so  much to the girls’ relief, we turned the vehicle around and headed back the way we’d come.    By now it’s about 5.30 in the afternoon and it’s starting to cloud up and we’re thinking, “Man, if it starts raining and these rutted dirt roads turn to mud, we’re done for.”  But at the same time we got to experience some of the most gorgeous Australian gum tree bush I’ve ever seen.  Actually saw three different kangaroos in the wild  rooing away, just kind of keeping an eye on us as we drove by.  If Don hadn’t  pushed the “shortest route” option, we would never have had such an incredible Australian bush adventure.

Because of our long delay in the park, we didn’t get to the ferry until 8 p.m. reading the big sign that said, last ferry sailed at 6 p.m. so we had to turn around and drive another three hours all the way around Port Phillip Bay to the suburb of Rye on the Mornington Peninsula.  We finally pulled into our hosts’ driveway around 11.30 p.m.  Absolutely silly tired, laughing at the day, glowing with the experience, but ready for bed.  Our hostess, Pammie had made spaghetti bolognaise that we washed down with some lovely Australian wine, and was it ever good.  All in all, this is a Friday, the 13th we will NEVER forget!

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Easy morning – slept in till 9 a.m.   Pammie fixed us lunch out on the patio overlooking the Bay.

John and I sat around all afternoon working on some new tunes for our next recording session.    Then off to Scotch College for our show that evening. 

Scotch College – my goodness, none of us had ever seen anything like that.

We were met by our host Jeff who had “the key.”  What an unbelievable auditorium, and what a fantastic evening we had.  Another Trippin’ train stopover where everybody climbed on board for the ride, and didn’t want to get off after the final encore.

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

I’d been invited by a long-time friend, John Smith,

to share at his St Martins, Collingwood church.  It’s an inner city church filled with street people, bikers, and just a bunch of people who love God and each other with all their hearts.  John Smith is the founder of an Australian motorcycle gang called God Squad, and he has lectured around the world on the needs of the down trodden.  www.concernaustralia.org.au/godssquad

By the time we’d said our farewells and after a one and a half hour drive back to Rye, we packed up, had a sandwich, and got on the road at 5 p.m.  We made it to the Comfort Inn & Suites, Albury, NSW.  www.alburygeorgian.com.au    It was late but we were able to get three rooms in a row on the ground floor, and we decided to drink our bottle of wine that we’d bought at Coonawarra in celebration that we’d made it this far – it was delicious.

Monday, February 16th, 2009

On the road by 9 a.m.  Breakfast at Morrison’s Café in Holbrook.  Awesome breakfast.  Lots of coffee stops.  Arrived in Sydney around 5 p.m. at The Hotel Ibis, Thornleigh www.ibishotels.com.au   Best dinner yet at Jade City (Chinese Seafood Restaurant) on Central Ave in Thornleigh.

Tuesday, February, 17th, 2009

Show day at“The Basement.”  Had the whole day off just giving our wasted, road-weary bodies a chance to regenerate, and caught up on about 200 emails that had piled up on us while we were off-line.

We left for The Basement www.thebasement.com.au  at 5 p.m. – a long winding road through Sydney, over the bridge, past the Opera House into the very heart of one of the most beautiful cities on earth.

The Basement is a well established show case that reaches far back into the history of music.  The walls are covered with literally hundreds of posters of artists who have played there over the years, all the way back from Dizzy Gillespie

up to Barry McGuire’s “Trippin’ The Sixties” with John York.  What an honor to find a place on the wall with that long line of  “musos.” 

The place was packed out that night, standing room only, and stand they did, across the back and down both sides.

The surprise for the night was a special guest appearance by ten teenage students from  Narara Valley High School, Newcastle.  They paid their own way round trip just to sing two songs with us.  So we kicked the show off with them singing along on the choruses of  “Green Green” and then into an explosive rendition of “Sunshine Streamin’ Through My Window,” a song that I actually wrote in Australia while touring back in ’87.  It never sounded better.

We did a repeat audience sing-along where everybody joined in, and as the kids left the stage many people in the audience were on their feet applauding.

With the audience so engaged in the show, it was really easy for John and I to take them all the way into the Sixties trip.  Everyone sang, everyone clapped, everyone felt free to express their heart felt comments about the show, the writers of the songs, their own personal experiences from that time in their lives.  What more can I say,  it is a great show, they are all great songs and John and I are absolutely overjoyed that we are the ones who get to present “Trippin’ The Sixties” to the world.

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

We pulled out of Sydney about 9.30 a.m. having been told the Pacific Highway was flooded, but Donny checked it out online and thought, “Nahhh, we’re goin’ for it, she’ll be right, buckle up mates!”  Donny said, “I’m gonna go with my gut.” All the rest of us agreed, “Go for it Donny!”  And go for it he did!  We saw rivers overflowing their banks, right up to the rim of the road,

but we were on dry asphalt all the way and the beauty part was, everybody else thought the roads were flooded so there were only a few other cars driving along in front of us and behind us. 

Just at sunset, the sun broke out under the clouds and flooded the country side with Rembrandt light.  Sumi and Mari were both hanging out the car windows catching those glorious moments with Sumi’s camera. We barely made it into Byron Bay.  Our petrol gauge was on empty, the red light was on, we were suckin’ fumes as we pulled into the only gas station open for miles around.  We finally made it to the Gold Coast INSERT #  3819 where we dropped John and Sumi off in a beautiful condo for the next three nights.  Then home to Donny’s house where we absolutely collapsed (a fourteen hour trip).

(We figured out you have to program the NavMan with   “fastest & avoid dirt roads.”)

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

A long easy day – doing the laundry, answering emails, Mari went for a swim in Donny’s pool.  I caught a nap in the afternoon.  John and Sumi went for a long walk around Surfers’ Paradise.

We loaded up the van and left for the venue about 3.30 p.m.  We arrived just ahead of a huge tropical storm that came thundering down out of nowhere and there we were in this huge room with a barrel shaped corrugated iron roof.  The rain was so loud, it sounded like a half a million people all clapping their hands.  It made our sound check a bit difficult, but it all came together as the storm passed over.  Then Don, Mari and Sumi were off on foot to find food, and find it they did – a wonderful Thai restaurant just around the corner.

After our meal, John and I did an ABC interview with Phillip who has a morning show here on the Gold Coast.  It wasn’t long until the audience all came truckin’ in off the street and the show was off an running.  Every show we do is different from every other.  We do have a song list, but sometimes we throw in tunes that we’ve never done before just to see how they feel in front of an audience.  We did Madonna’s song “Frozen” and what an incredible response we got even though it’s not a sixties tune, the song itself is so relevant to the human condition that we just had to include it in the show.  In fact we’ll be recording it for our next album.

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Today is a day off…………..John and Sumi had the entire day to walk the white sands of Surfers Paradise and explore the wonderful shopping areas.  That evening Donny’s wife, Sue laid out an incredible dinner for us all.  Vegetable lasagne, chicken, salad, the works.  After dinner we watched an Eddie Izzard DVD www.eddieizzard.com  – what a clever man he is, and too funny for words.

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Show day in Ballina.  We left early and dropped into Byron Bay to have lunch in a restaurant called “Balcony” www.balcony.com.au



Then we snooped around Byron Bay a bit looking for some possible show venues for the next time we come “down undah.” INSERT #3923

We arrived in Ballina about 3 p.m. caught a quick nap in our rooms at the Ramada overlooking the river.  Sailboats, seagulls, fisherman along the banks.  Rolling green hills in the distance and dark, stormy rain laden clouds moving in from the sea. 

Arrived at the venue about 5 p.m. very quick sound check as they had everything waiting for us along with a great meal that the pastor’s wife, Kathy had prepared for us.  Once again the show room was very hot as it is summer time here in Australia, but no-one seemed to mind it, the windows were open, all the fans were on, and the entire audience was caught up in the show.  Every time we’d start another song, people would start wiggling and trembling with anticipation.

It seemed that every song we did was a favorite, and I think they even surprised themselves that they actually knew all the words.

The evening ended with a wonderfully warm standing ovation, and many folks came up to us afterwards making us promise to return.

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Next morning John and Sumi were off at 7 a.m. to catch a noon flight from Brisbane back to LAX.

Kari, pastor of  Ballina Christian Church had invited Mari and I to come and share our Trippin’ story at their morning church service, followed by a great lunch where we just sat around and shared the stories of our lives with each other.  Donny made it back from Brisbane just in time to have a bite before we loaded up waving goodbye to everyone and promising to return – maybe next year.

One Compassion child was sponsored at the end of the church service that morning, bringing the total number of children sponsored on our tour to ten –  ten little people whose lives will be totally transformed because someone here in the Western world has taken them under their wing.  It may not seem like much when you look at the starving millions of people in the world, but to those ten little kids, it means everything.  If you’ve never considered sponsoring a third world child, please take this opportunity to click on www.compassioninternational.com

Next Sunday we’ll be in Christchurch, New Zealand.


January 30h, 2009

10.00 a.m. we arrived at the EASTWEST Studios www.soundsonline.com  6000 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood. In January 2006 EASTWEST purchased the famous Cello (formerly Western) Studios on Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood and renamed it EASTWEST STUDIOS.  The facility houses six recording studios, and will be the world headquarters for EASTWEST after a remodel of the non-technical areas and exterior by top international design superstar Philippe Starck. www.philippe-starck.com

We were scheduled to do a documentary reflecting the life and times of my long-time friend, Denny Doherty (Papa Denny from the Mamas & Papas).  Gabriel Franklin www.allplanet.com  was videoing the event.


John and Emberly Doherty, two of Denny’s children along with Paul Ledoux  www.paulledoux.com  had arranged the day and were waiting for us in the control room of Studio 3 when we arrived.  Scott McKenzie was already there.  It felt like two old Vikings getting together after a long season of having not seen each other.  The stories started flowing, the laughter, the memories, and of course a few tears. 

The miracle of still being alive after so many of our precious friends had gone on ahead of us.  Scott said, “Well, as usual Denny’s late for the session.”  Then we thought about it for a minute and he revised his statement by saying, “Actually, he’s early, we’re the ones who are late, we’re still here and he’s already there.”

It wasn’t long until everyone started drifting into Studio 3.  It was really an emotional time for all of us.  Studio 3 was the very studio where I recorded Eve of Destruction back in ’65, and it was right across the hall in Studio 2  where I introduced Lou Adler to the Mamas & Papas.  Studio 3 is where they recorded “California Dreamin’” (over my original track, but that’s another story), Scott and John did the tracks for “Creeque Alley”. Scott recorded his worldwide smash “If You’re Going to San Francisco, Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair.” 

I’ve heard so many stories about how that song came to be written, and probably all of them are true.  They just happened with different people on different days so they all have a different memory of how it came to pass.  Scott told me that John Phillips was trying to help him kick start his solo career, and that John and Lou Adler were planning the Monterey Pop Folk Festival.  Scotty said he mentioned to John, “Why don’t you write something about all the flood of young people that are heading into San Francisco, something that will bring a little peace to the hearts of the folks who are already living there. “  Thus came the line, “you’re sure to find some gentle people there with flowers in their hair.”  So John wrote the tune, Scott sang it, and musical history was made right there in that room.

It was really strange looking down at the tile floors realizing that these were the very tiles we all stood on 43 years ago.

I told Scott that these tiles were loaded with our DNA – blood, sweat and tears – no doubt about it.

Mackenzie Phillips  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mackenzie_Phillips came drifiting in like a breath of fresh air, followed by Cassie’s daughter, Owen. 

John York showed up with his big acoustic 12-string and the two of us laid down a track to a tune that Denny had written years ago, “It’s Time To Get Together.”

By the time the tracks were done, everyone knew the words so we went right into doing the vocals.  Once again feeling started bouncing around inside of me that are impossible to describe.   There we were all gathered around this huge RCA microphone and just to look along the line – Scott on one end, me on the other with Denny’s son, John right next to me, his sister, Emberly standing next to him, then came Owen and Mackenzie with Scotty on the end. INSERT # 2886 Scott told me that he remembers carrying Mackenzie from the home from the hospital when she was born.  And there they all were, grown up, walking their own paths. 

The whole afternoon was spent in memories and music.

Bijou Phillips http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bijou_Phillips arrived late in the day and added her voice to the mix along with Lindsay Wagner www.lindsaywagner.com
When I saw Lindsay step through the door from the Control room, her face was beaming, eyes sparkling and one of the sweetest smiles I’ve ever seen.

Funny thing is, I’ve met so many hundreds, maybe even thousands of people over the last fifty years, I immediately thought, “Oh, I know her, I must have met her some place.”  I saw her smiling at me like an old acquaintance, so I smiled back and waved and she waved hello at me, and I was doing my best to remember where I had met her, and it just wasn’t coming together in my head.  Then I heard her being introduced to some of the folks there in the studio, and I thought to myself, “Oh, Lindsay Wagner, the Bionic Woman!”  No wonder her face was so familiar, I’d seen her on television dozens of times.  Too funny…

The production will soon be released in Canada and I’ll be posting a link on my www.trippinthesixties.com site that will allow all who are interested to experience a tiny bit of the life and times of Denny Doherty and the children of the Mamas & Papas.

At the moment we’re sitting in the Tom Bradley International terminal at LAX awaiting our flight to Melbourne where we kick off our Australian tour so we’ll be blogging the shows as we go….tata for now or as Pooh would say, “TTFN!”

 


FLORENCE WINTER FOLK FESTIVAL

“Two days of folk music, arts & crafts, food, fun, and You….


Steve, Sumi, John, Barry, Kate and Tom       Photo: Mari McGuire

The Winter Folk Festival in Florence, Oregon is an annual celebration of Americana.  Headline concerts featuring legends of American folk music – The New Christy Minstrels, The Limelighters, and The Highwaymen, to name a few – anchor two days of music, crafts, food, and fun in a party atmosphere guaranteed to brighten Winter days and nights!  All events are staged at the state-of-the-art Florence Events Center with the Headliners on the theater stage, and daytime folk music in the FEC’s open area along with many interesting craft demonstrations, artisan wares, and a pie-baking contest.” 
www.winterfolkfestival.org

This was the PR for the event that we performed Sunday, January 18th, and what a great time we had.  When we arrived on Thursday afternoon, Tom Paxton, Steve Einhorn & Kate Power were already settled into the artist beach house that had been provided for us by the Festival.  Both Tom and I found it quite amazing that in all the years we’ve been performing, we’d never met each other.   We had plenty of time to share road stories and what stories they were!  We got around to talking about some of our favorite folk artists and were amazed to discover that neither one of us had ever met Gordon Lightfoot who we both agreed was one of the top folk song writers ever.

John and Sumi arrived the next day, having flown up from Los Angeles, renting a car in Eugene and then driving over to Florence.  Of course, John’s guitar didn’t go from LA to Euguene.  It went from LAX to Des Moines, Iowa or some place like that but thankfully it did make it to our beach house the following day.

One of the great highlights for the four of us – John and Sumi, Mari and I was just sitting and listening to Tom, Steve and Kate run through their set list before leaving for the theater.  It was truly a taste of heaven for all of us.  Just sitting in the relaxed atmosphere with the afternoon sun streaming in over the Pacific Ocean cascading through the floor to ceiling windows and filling the entire house with warm sunlight.  Outside it was a crisp, Florence, Oregon January day with a stiff off-shore breeze. 

Tom  www.tompaxton.com and the gang www.qualityfolk.com  left for the theater a couple of hours before show time for their sound check and we arrived about ten minutes before their show started.  After the show that evening, we spent another few hours back at the beach house just tossing songs around, telling our favorite jokes and laughing ourselves silly….. and did we ever!   Next morning they left early for some shows up in Portland.




Ron Wilburne, Mari and  Barry.      Photo by: Tara Wolfe

I must say our Florence show was the best one so far.  The audience was sold out to the point where they had to put folding chairs out for the extra people to sit in.  It’s hard to explain what a good show feels like from and artist’s point of view.  It’s an absolute “one of those marvelous things,” indescribable, probably the closest I can come to the feeling for me would be my first roller coaster rush, plunging down the first drop for the first time.  Sheer explosive joy!

After the show we all wound up over at a nearby hotel for a huge jam session.  Cabin Fever NW, Mack Bailey, Ron Wilburne, just two dozen plus performers sitting in a big circle taking turns sharing their favorite songs.

One of Mari’s favorite artisans was the Floral and Fiber booth especially the knitted art, as Mari loves to knit.  Kathi Smith smiths44@comcast.net  does such quality work that you should check her stuff out.  Of course, she had to buy some gifts – I’m sure you girls know how that is!  Also we enjoyed meeting Ramiro from International Food Market www.icmrestaurant.com  The food we tasted at the mixer on Friday night was absolutely delicious.

All in all Florence was a great way to kick off our 2009 show schedule!

2009
 THE COMING YEAR

 

Well, Happy New Year to one and all!   We’re gearing up for ’09.  Can you believe it’s 2009!  Man, I’m still looking forward to being forty……I just had my 33rd anniversary of my 40th birthday…..LOL!

Last April Mari and I were introduced to some new friends, John York and his wife Sumi.  Although John and I have known and worked with many of the same people, we’d never met before.  We’re now a traveling team of four.  John and I  are on stage. Sumi is the stage manager and handles all the sound equipment; Mari is the business manager and handles all the product.   We are a lean, mean Trippin’ machine.

My friend, and associate, Don Gillespie who lives in Australia has taken on the www.trippinthesixties.com website, and everything you see there is a result of his incredible skills, and expresses a love for what he does.  He’s also just uploaded four songs video taped on our recent tour of Germany, and a PR video of the Trippin’ show on You Tube. http://au.youtube.com/user/KeystoneMagazine 
The site is getting a steady 2,000 to 3,000 hits a day – wow, we’re blown away, and it’s all because people like you are sharing it with their friends.  He’s just developed “The Gospel Road” page, which will have all of my Gospel albums along with a Kids Page that will have everything from Bullfrogs and Butterflies to Adventures on Son Mountain.

FOR BOOKING INFORMATION:

Don Gillespie is booking all of our Australia and New Zealand dates for February.  He can be reached at gdonald1@bigpond.net.au 

Bill Hampson is co-ordinating and booking our UK, Ireland dates for May/June.  He can be reached at  bill@epiphany.org.uk 
Morten is working on some Scandinavian dates.  He can be reached at  morten@sginfo.no  

Jean-Daniel von Lerber is booking Europe for September/October.  He can be reached at  Jean@profile-productions.ch

Lee Stroschein is co-ordinating and booking our Canadian dates for August and he can be reached at  proedge1@shaw.ca

If you’d like to be removed from our newsletter updates, please email us at barry@barrymcguire.com  stating your wish to be removed and we’ll do it immediately.

LL&P (Live Long and Prosper),
Barry & Mari


Torrance, October 18th, 2008
Trippin’ The Sixties Show





Photo is by Greg Wigler Web Site:

Well, last night was another great musical adventure for John and me.  The songs exploded feeling like we’d never sung them before – fresh and raw, bubbling with laughter and emotion.  Trippin’ The Sixties is not a nostalgic ride into the past.  Trippin’ The Sixties is bringing the truth captured in the songs of that decade right into the 21st Century, and everyone there felt “It”, as though for the first time.

One of the great moments for me was before the show even started, when I saw Phil Sloan walking through the dressing room door, and we spent the next forty-five minutes talking about the Sixties and the present day.  Phil has never lost his edge of perception, and his ability to communicate what he perceives as reality.  For those of you who aren’t aware, Phil Sloan (P.F. Sloan) is the man who penned “Eve of Destruction” back in ’65 when he was 19 years old. 

The sixth song in our show was “Eve” and before I sang it, I pointed Phil out to the audience, letting them know the author was in the house.  One of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen occurred as the last chord rang out, and the entire audience stood as one body, turning as they rose, towards Phil.  And the applause thundered on and on as a tribute to this song that was truly the most important song of that turbulent decade.  What a moment we all experienced in expressing our gratitude for the shared gift that Phil carries within him.

Other than that, Saturday night in Torrance was just another Cape Canaveral lift-off for Trippin’ The Sixties, as we all went on the magical ride.  Hope you’re all on board the next time the Trippin’ train goes into orbit.


San Diego  Acoustic Music Series   

9/6/2008

A Pirate's Tale

 
So here we are again.  Back in the states.   This blogger didn't actually go to Europe, but from the reports here on this blog site and the beautiful pictures, how could this journey have done anything less than make a great show greater.   
 
Although Barry and John were still a bit tired and jet lagged, as soon as they hit the stage the electricity hit and the train was up and moving.  The Acoustic Music Series is an outstanding  venue located at a MethodistChurch. 
http://www.acousticmusicsandiego.com/
  
The show was sold-out.
  
As the show started from the first note to the last harmony of the encore, the magic was there.  Its the kind of show that reminds us, a concert is not a passive event.   Its a communion between the audience and the performer. 

This concert was the holiest of musical communions with the audience joining in on the songs like a choir of late-60's refugees.   The lead refugee was Barry, up there guiding us along on the harmonic wings of John's jangling 12-string guitar.  One highlight, when Barry and John stopped singing on the chorus of "Blowing in the Wind," to the sound of the audience in full voice singing... "the answer my friend is blowin' in the wind.." 
 
"If I Were A Carpenter" continues to grow into the artistic centerpiece of this show.  John's solo has pulled out all of the stops and the solo has become a  injazz like improv.  

When Barry finished "Eve of Destruction," he received extended applause and a standing ovation.   The drive of the show has continued to grow and flow.  The songs seem new each time they're played. 

Trippin' just keeps right on moving reminding us all of how much we have to be grateful for to hold such musical treasures.  And if these songs are captured treasures, then certainly Barry McGuire and John York are the best of the good-time troubadour pirates.


Frankfurt- The Best Show Ever….
(until the next one)

August 24th – Frankfurt

 
Our last day in Germany, and truly Jean-Daniel had saved the best till last.  The folk club Sinkkasten, Frankfurt www.sinkkasten-frankfurt.de has been going for 80 years.  When we arrived there were about fifteen people hanging around the artists’ entrance with old magazines, vinyl album covers, and ancient records for both John and me to autograph. 

 

After the sound check, we walked about a mile down through the city to the oldest restaurant in Frankfurt, “Restaurant Haus Wertheym” built in 1479 – that’s 13 years before Columbus sailed to this “new” world that we call America.  I can’t even describe what it was like sitting in a 500 year old room thinking about all the different generations of people who had walked through that door and sat under those beams, and looked out the same windows I was looking out.  It really gave us a different understanding of how young our nation is.  Talk about new kids on the block – that would be the USA.

The show was another facet on the diamond. 

It seems like every time John and I walk out on stage, it’s like cutting a diamond, and every cut allows new color to explode. The show, itself is the diamond and the presentation is the cutting.  I can’t even describe the night, it was just the best ever.  In fact, we kept saying that after each show, “This was the best ever.” 

And we knew the next show would even get a little better. 

That night we stayed at the Ramada Treff Hotel Rhein-Main.  It was probably about twenty years old with little dinky rooms.  We had a great laugh about how it was preparing us for our re-entry into the States.  But the breakfast the next morning was like none we’d ever had in the US.  It was all laid out buffet style. 

I’ve never seen so much food and so well prepared and beautifully displayed.  It was a bitter sweet breakfast as it was out last meal together with Jean-Daniel.  He would be heading back to Switzerland as we were climbing on our flights to DFW then onto our separate cities – John and Sumi to Ontario and Mari and I to Fresno. 

The next morning we woke up in our own little bed in our own little house, came into the kitchen, made some coffee and thought, “Wow, the Cinderella tour of all time”, a fairy tale that John & Sumi, along with Jean-Daniel, Mari and myself got to share.


Bed & Breakfast with the Dogs…Emily that is!

August 23rd – Altenkirchen

We wound up in a phenomenal bed and breakfast hotel with an incredible dining room and a world class wine list.  The name of the hotel is Landhotel Petrshof www.landhotel-petershof.de  Of course, our favorite thing was Emily, a four year old red haired Labrador who loved chasing sticks



John Daniel, John York, Sumi, Helmut Nollgen, Barry,
Mari and Emily

Morten and his wife, Anna Lise flew down from Norway and met us there at the hotel for our afternoon meal.  Our sponsor, Helmut Nollgen www.ferienwohnung-im-westerwald.de joined us.  He had organized our concert in the lobby of a large bank. 

We didn’t have a clue how that was going to work out, but when we got there, they had a full bar set up just inside the main doors, and the lobby itself had been set up like a bistro with tables and chairs and a fully lit stage at the far end of the lobby with incredible sound and lights.

Helmut is a pro – we could tell it as soon as we saw the set up. 

He also organizes www.kultur-felsenkeller.de  What a guy!


August 22nd – Waldeck

Jean-Daniel told us we were going to be performing in a castle, but none of us were prepared for Waldeck. www.schloss-waldeck.de   We were met by Konnie Keller, who was producing the show for Hessischer Rundfunk Radio. She got us all checked in, and standing in the lobby was a full suit of armor.  And of course, I had to touch it and see how thick the metal was, and you guessed it, clangity clang, clang bank….the helmet fell off on the floor.   Everyone in the lobby froze and glared at me.

I felt like Clousseau and thought I might do a little tap dance, but alas I don’t know how to tap, of course either did he.  So I carefully replaced the helmet back on the shoulders of the armored suit and strolled off whistling an innocent little tune.  Standing in the lobby, it was like being transported back to the 11th century.  Of course the interior had all been refurbished, but the stone floors, walls and ceilings were at least 800 years old. 



The courtyard was filled with technicians setting up for the evening show that was to be recorded and videoed. We had our evening meal with the rest of the crew in what appeared to be a medieval dining room for the guards and soldiers.  It was a beautiful buffet – all you could eat.  Of course, we couldn’t eat much because we were doing a show in about an hour – ain’t that the way it always is.  They told us the show was sold out and they had turned away 500 people. 



That afternoon the clouds had rolled in and a horrendous electric rain storm descended upon the castle – just thundering and hosing down on us.  

It rained right up to the time the show was to start.

Sumi and Mari enjoying the rain.

Then just as we were walking out of the castle door into the courtyard, heading for the stage, the rain eased off and the show began. 




How incredible it was to be singing to a courtyard filled with wet German folk fans, all singing “Good Morning America, How Are You?”  And they knew all the words.  We’ve got it all recorded and video taped, so as soon as we get the digital masters, we’ll mix it down and make it available for everyone to see the Waldeck Castle show shot in the rain.


The next morning we took one final photo with John, Sumi, Connie, Mari and me.

 


August 21st – Wetzlar

It was a short drive to Wetzlar to our hotel, Mercure Kongress Wetzlar Hotel www.mercure.com After checking in, we had one of the most delicious salads we’ve ever eaten, then it was off to the venue, www.franzis-wetzlar.de Sumi had the sound all set up and dialed in, so it only took about ten minutes for our onstage sound check. I was so tired after the sound check I went out to the van and took a nap.

Jean-Daniel said it was really funny, people were all lined up waiting to get into the club, and little did they know that sleeping in the car, right next to the line, was me, the person they were coming to see. The place was packed out like standing sardines – it only held 200 people in the first place, and after 240 people came in, they started turning them away.

When I got out of the van, there were about 50 people standing around outside who couldn’t get in. Once again, the show took off like a Cape Canaveral rocket and we all orbited the moon together.


August 18th – Siegen, Germany

Well, it was a long run from Zurich, Switzerland to Siegen, Germany, and just like any long run, you gotta make a few pit stops somewhere along the way.  Little did we know in Germany, it cost us US70c or .50 Euros just to use the facilities.  We didn’t have any Euros, so Jean-Daniel had to dish out the coins so we could relieve ourselves, but all’s well that ends well, and soon we were on the autobahn again.

The hotel in Siegen, Berghotel Johanneshohe www.johanneshoehe.de was a lovely two storey cottage type Inn.  Mari and I had a room on the second floor with an incredible view of the city.  John and Sumi were up on the third floor in a room which also looked out over the city.  It was hard to imagine, looking out on that beautiful city nestled in the rolling hills of Siegen, that just 63 years ago it had been totally destroyed by allied bombers. 

It was an early dinner in the hotel, then off to bed for us.

Next morning we piled in the van and off we went to a high school assembly where John and I sang to probably 200 students. We only did three songs and then opened the floor to answering questions.  At first the kids just all sat there looking at us, and finally, some brave soul asked the first question which opened the floodgate, and for the next 45 minutes we were digging deep into music philosophy, the reason for life itself, and everything in between. 

We didn’t know it at the time, but there were reporters there from the two main newspapers who did a full page article in both of their papers with color photos that covered half a page.  Jean-Daniel said how incredible it was that he had just spent $500 on a little ad, 2 inches wide and 4 inches high that ran in only one of the newspapers, and here we had two full-page articles in both of the main papers that came out on the morning of the concert.  The results of this fortuitous free PR, filled the house that evening on the night of the show.

After having morning coffee with Klaus Schuette, the headmaster and Thomas Petri, our concert host, we were off to Oberen Schloss (castle) for a tour of the iron mines which were under the castle.



  Made us really happy that we were born in this present age and not 700 years ago when men and boys spent their lives in tunnels digging out chunks of iron ore.  At 7 p.m. that evening we met back at the school to meet Stephan Moose, the Mayor of Siegen, and we got to sign the city guest book.



 What an honor for John and me.  His assistant told us that he had only scheduled 20 minutes for our meeting, and he said that if the mayor stayed longer than 20 minutes, it was because the mayor was really enjoying himself.  It turned out that we had an hour and a half together and Stephan said if he could possibly make it, he would come to the concert the next evening, and sure enough, there he was when the show was over, face beaming, eyes sparkling, telling us how much he’d enjoyed the concert.

20th of August – show day!  Mid morning we went over to Thomas’ house and met his wife, Petra where we had morning tea with homemade cheesecake and other goodies, too delicious to be left behind. We discovered Thomas to be a big kid just like us with a house full of instruments and costumes.  So of course, John and I got into the instruments and put on the costumes for an impromtu costume show.


Too funny – a lot of laughter, and even though we’d only been there a couple of hours, it was a very sad goodbye.

The concert that evening, held in Buhne der Stadt Siegen, as we said, was a sell-out and having the Mayor show up was the cherry on the cake.


8/16/2008  
 
The Hills Are Alive.....With The Sounds of 'Trippin.  The Train Pulls Into Switzerland 

           
 

We had a great show last night - pretty stiff competition, Neil Young, 2,000 people on the banks of the Rhine attending a free hip hop evening and multiple other artists.  Basel is an arts MECCA here in Europe.  But we had a comfortable house - the room was set up cabaret style with three and four chairs at each table and a little bar in the back.  


There were people standing at tall tables, and an Irish Canadian man was dancing and spinning, loved the show so much, he bought us two bottles of beer, and brought them up and put one by each of our microphones about half way through the second set.....mmmmm

SONGS OF NORWAY

Another Ride on the 'Trippin Train

 

August 7 – 10, 2008 

Two hours out of Manchester, we landed in Oslo on a cloudy, rainy afternoon.  Funny, because when we left Manchester, the sun was shining brightly.  Our driver was waiting for us, loaded us up in a quick minute, and down the road we went.  By now the sleepies had set in so we'd all doze off and then wake up saying, "Oh look at that, look at this, look over there…" then we'd doze off again. 

 

And the tunnels – there are tunnels everywhere in Norway.  We asked our driver, "Why so many tunnels?"  And he told us, "because we got tired of driving up and down."  The entire country is nothing but mountains and inland harbors.  They're even building a tunnel to go under the harbor and they're thinking about building a tunnel for boats to go through because the sea around the outer reefs gets so rough in the winter. 

We rolled into Langesund about 6.30 p.m. at the beautiful Skjaergarden Hotel www.badeparken.no tired and hungry, so we hit the dining room and had a great meal with our host, Morten and several of his friends.  

Next day, Friday, it was all business setting up our sound system, getting everything in order for the evening show, and what a show it was.  1400 people, most of who understood English.  We did have a translator though, and I would speak in short sentences, which he would translate into Norwegian. 

I could tell it was important for him to be there, because every time I would say something funny, 80% of the audience would laugh, and then when he would translate it, the other 20% would laugh and that made me laugh.  Nobody there knew what I was laughing at.  John was his normal beaming self with his natural smile that knocks most people right into next week, and when we got into the music, once again the train pulled out of the station and everyone there was on board. 

I can't really remember what happened, it was kind of like an explosion of goodness and joy took place.  We had been told that in Norway, people clap like every other audience, kind of a clappity, clap, clap, clappity, clappity, clap applause, but if they really like you, it will go from the loose, random applause to a rhythmic CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, kind of like stomping their feet, only they do it with their hands, and that's exactly what happened.  It went from clappity, clap, clap, clappity, clappity, clap to clap, clap, clap, clap and by the fifth clap, everyone was on their feet, shouting for more. 

Saturday was filled with newspaper interviews, visiting with Oyvind and Ase, internet friends who invited us into their motorhome for an afternoon cuppa, then that evening we spent with Bill Hampson who had come over from England to see his old friend Jessy Dixon who was part of the program. 

Next day, Sunday was an entire day off just doing laundry, repacking, answering email, John and I spent several hours working on some new material, just normal day off stuff.  Sunday evening we were picked up by Morten and his wife and their gang of friends.  The hotel restaurant was closed so they took us off through some tunnels and over some bridges and harbors to a restaurant www.restaurantosebro.no that was built as a home 200 years ago, then became a bicycle repair shop, then a café, and is now one of the finest restaurants we've ever eaten in.  What a wonderful way to end our days in Norwegia. (That's what our daughter called Norway when she was five years old.  In her mind she just naturally figured that Norwegians had to come from Norwegia.)


Concert Day at Hotel Rosslare, Rosslare Harbour, Wexford Co, Ireland  - Friday, August 1st, 2008 
 

Friday was a gorgeous wind-swept sunny day.  John, Sumi, Mari and I went for a fantastic walk out on the bluffs overlooking the lighthouse.  We were totally consumed by Ireland.  The clean air, the brisk, gusting wind.  We met two lovely little boys about eight and six years old playing in the rain puddles left over from last night's rain.  One boy's name was William and he was filling up this plastic soda pop bottle and taking it over to the garden and watering the flowers.  Didn't seem to matter that it had rained all night, he wanted to be sure the flowers had been watered.  They were bright and chattered away with us in their strong Irish accents – made us feel totally at home. 

All afternoon John and I were getting more and more excited about the show that evening, and it didn't let us down.  The show didn't start till 9.30 p.m.  People were pouring into the banquet room, which was set up cabaret style with tables and chairs.  There was a bar in the back and everyone was well into the Guinness and Cider (Black and Tan) by the time we walked on stage.  I was so excited, I took off like a racehorse coming out of a starter's stall.  Bang…..and there I went, charging down the track.  By the time we finished the third song, John came over and whispered in my ear, "Barry, slow down!  You're leaving the audience behind…."  LOL!  He told me just to enjoy myself and let them settle into the show.  He was absolutely right and that's exactly what I did.  Took a deep breath, relaxed, and walked back up to the microphone.  And half way through the first set, the Irish audience started leaning forward in their chairs, swaying back and forth to the rhythm of the songs and by the end of the first set, they were singing, clapping, and some of the ladies had their arms up in the air snapping their fingers and dancing in the chairs where they sat. 

The second set was like watching a movie.  The entire room became the stage.  The entire audience became a cast of singers.  By the end of the show when we did John Lennon's "In My Life" there were many tears and we could visibly see couples drawing into each other, slipping their arms around each others' shoulders and living the words of the song.  For an encore I told of my adventure when I was sixteen, having been out to sea for six weeks working on a 38 foot fishing boat when we came into a school of dolphins.  Then  I followed it with a song I wrote capturing those moments, "Callin' Me Home."  They didn't want to let us off the stage, but it was coming up on midnight and I was soaking wet with sweat, so much so, that my socks were squishing as I walked across the room.  

The aftershow festivities went on until 2.30  in the morning – just getting acquainted with old friends that we'd never met before.  One lady, Ann, wanted my old sweaty t-shirt that I'd worn in the first half of the show.  I told her, "But it's all wet with sweat."  She said, "I don't care, I want it, I want it."  Her partner, John, was standing over next to the bar, and he was wearing a great t-shirt under a black leather vest that had a bottle of Guinness on the front of it with the words, tall, dark and handsome, referring to the bottle on it, so I told Ann, "If John will give me his t-shirt, I'll give you mine."  And right there in a room crowded with people, Johnny stripped off his shirt and put mine on, giving his to me.  Then it was all hugs and back slapping, and beer drinking.  We met so many great people – Pat and his wife were there.  David and Bernie, Kieran and Laura and their three beautiful teenage sons – so many wonderful faces, signing old vinyl albums that people brought to the show, saying they'd had them for forty plus years – they were still in pristine condition.  The Irish seem to take a lot better care of things than we Americans do. 

Then the crowd shifted from the banquet room into the main pub where the party went on until 3.30 in the morning when Mari, Sumi, John and I left in a hail of farewells and said goodnight to all.  What an Irish experience it was for us, and they do it every time they get together. 

 


"Eve 2.1"

If this is a train ride, the slow ride is speeding up today.  With the 43rd anniversary of the release of "Eve of Destruction," comes the new "Eve 2.1."  Its as though July 21st, 1965 has been waiting and now is here to remind us of "Eve's" timelessness and how its relevance has grown. This may be Barry's best recorded vocal performance.  The passion of the song reflects the anger and wakefulness needed in the times we live in today.  It is still diagnosing our world condition and today we need to step out into a world that sleeps in its in complacency and polarities. 

 
"Eve 2.1" is calling us to wake up. Do you hear its wake-up call?  Its in Phil Sloan's words and melody.  Its in the thunder of Mick Fleetwood's drums. Its in Roger McGuinn's ringing 12-string guitar.   Its in the careful production work of Todd Smallwood, who has arranged, captured and crafted this magic through his playing, engineering and mixing.  And most of all, its in the prophetic fire and passion of Barry McGuire's ageless, soulful vocal.  If "Eve" was written for the times in 1965, this one has been recorded for the ages.  
 

Do you have any thoughts on "Eve 2.1?"   Please send us an e-mail.  Watch for some additions to this blog site which will allow you to respond directly.  

 
7/13/08
 
Back at The Coffee Gallery Backstage
 
It seems like ages ago since the Trippin' Train stopped off to spend some time with Bob Stane and the folks at Backstage in Altadena, California.  This was the last gig before flying across the pond to Ireland and a 14 date tour covering the UK, Switzerland, Norway and Germany. 
 

Spanky of Spanky and Our Gang

Arriving I was surprised to see Spanky of Spanky and Our Gang.  She scored several hits in the late 60's.  Titles like, "Can I Get To Know You," and "Lazy Day."  
She was there for sound check with Valerie Venet, Nick Venet's widow.  [Read the earlier blog to find out more about Valerie and how we met.} 
 
Fred Neil

As Barry and John approached the stage, it felt like this was going to be a flawless night.  And it was....The musicianship was right on target with John getting several ovations after his solos and Barry was at his footstoppin,' folk-shouting best, telling the stories, kidding the audience and taking some heckling from Spanky.  Spanky joined them onstage during the Mamas and Papas set. She harmonized, grinned and laughed.  As Barry sang Fred Neil's "The Dolphin Song," I saw
Valerie wipe the tears away.  Valerie has kindly given us permission to post her comments to Barry on an e-mail exchange the following day"
 
"Barry, you are the only one on this planet that can do
Fred's songs justice.  For me, your versions are
powerful.  Your voice magnificent.  Fred and Nik[Venet] would
be very proud."
                             Valerie Venet
 
 
Van Dyke Parks

As we talked at the break, I saw Barry talking with a white-haired guy in suspenders.  The suspenders were a dead give-away.  It was Van Dyke Parks. He was instrumental in the creation of many of the Beach Boys better songs between 1966 and 1971.  He  famously collaborated with Brian Wilson on his mythic Smile project, which took nearly 40 years to release.  Van Dyke later sent Barry an e-mail and has kindly allowed us to quote his response:
 
"This, just to thank you for a terrific show in our town.
Your entire take on the "Era" brought back so many memories of what I view a troubled and exultant---often heroic time, filled with optimism and compassion. You captured all that with your generous embrace, and both Sally and I were dazzled by
your great gifts, both musical and reflective. How the hell you're still at the peak of your powers has me completely snookered. I hope we'll see you back here again soon, and wish you so much gentle wind at your back.
Keep the faith!"
 
                          Van Dyke
                  http://vandykeparks.com/
 
 
So how IS Barry at the peak of his powers still?  That's easy.  He's an Irish- American!
 

So, as we left the show that night....I noticed the entire audience was barefoot.  That's because Barry and John blew our socks off!  sorry..bad joke.  see ya next

 

7/12/08

JOHN YORK GIVES AN INTIMATE PEFORMANCE AT THE FRET HOUSE

 
In Covina, California, we are on the edge of a desert.  On rare occasions, we have these near mystical summer storms travel through our valley.  Saturday night during John York's warm, intimate concert, one of these California storms rolled in like a welcome stranger. 
 
As the rain poured, The Fret House provided the audience with another kind of rarity:  Two hours to sit in the presence of a skilled musican/peformer and listen to his musical journey through the last four decades.  Trippin' takes us and  points us in this direction and then, at one point, John takes us a little further down the road with familiar songs from his time in The Byrds and then some not-so familiar songs like Robbie Robertson's beautiful, "Between Trains."  His interpretation of "Paint It Black" was dynamic and engaging as it displayed the diversity and depth of John's talent.  His own songs "Jealous Gun" and "Roadside Cross" from the excellent Arigatou, Baby, allows the audience to see his talent is continuing to grow.  One of his newest songs, "The Power of Now" based on Ekart Tolle's bestselling book of the same name, was performed with both urgency and the presence of the title.   The song interpretations offered a great variety.  Most noteworthy were Tim Hardin's "Song for Hank Williams," "Dylan's "Lay Down Your Weary Tune" and "One Hundred Years."  This was a great evening offered by one of the most underrated and overlooked veterans of the 60's. 
 
After the show the rain subsided, but the unique smell of the aftermath of the arid desert rain filled the night.  I watched John and his wife, Sumi, drive away and thought how fortunate I am to be a witness to the preservation and continuation of some of the best American music of the last one hundred years. 

 

 

6/28/08 

What a night.  It was a like folk revival with Barry as the preacher…or choir leader as it were.  The hosts and audience were wonderful.  Russ and Julie have been hosting house concert for the last 12 years.  People like Wendy Waldman, Chris Hillman and Karla Bonoff have pass through their doors.  They had great home-cooked meal waiting for us. The show was up and running by 8:10 PM.   Barry and John were at the top of their game on this night.  Fueled by the energy of an enthusiastic crowd, Barry stomped, hollered and sang his heart out.  John flowed with the energy Barry displayed and gave his own magic instrumentation and fine vocal harmonies.  An amusing story; Barry's telling the story of how he received a phone call from NYC asking him to play the lead in Hair when his cell phone rings.  Its his son, Brennan.  He holds the cell up to the audience and they all shout, "We love you, Brennan!"   Barry says, "Oh, you want to talk to Mom? Okay."  He hands off the phone to Mari and goes back into his story.  The audience howled. 

 

Stand out songs this night were the opening Dylan songs where the audience sang just like a folk music choir.  One audience member described the show as a 'psychic journey' meaning he not only heard the music but felt the feelings he had when he first heard the songs 40 years ago.   

 

Next up, John York's solo gig on Saturday-July 12 at The Fret House in Covina and Trippin' returns to The Coffee Gallery Backstage with Bob Stane on Sunday, 7/13/08.   See ya there!! 



Claremont   6/21/08

The new Claremont Acoustic Series just hosted Barry and John.  The performances continue to improve despite technical problems.  This time around it was John's guitar cable and his new pick-up for his 12-string.  It was touch and go, but for the majority of the concert, everything went well.  

The performance was fine.  The addition of Tim Hardin's "Reason to Believe" and Fred Neil's "Dolphin Song" continue be highlights of the show.  The guitar break on "If I Were a Carpenter" allows John to take us on a trip of his own through a blues soaked jam.  It always results in an ovation from the audience. 

This is also the first official live performance that Barry did "Callin' Me Home" along with the now famous dolphin story.  After the show, there were a lot of positive comments about Barry's original song.   

Next up, Russ and Julie's House Concert in Oak Park, CA.  


 

6/28/08    Folk Music Congregation at Russ and Julies. 

What a night.  It was a like folk revival with Barry as the preacher…or choir leader.  The hosts and audience were wonderful.  Russ and Julie have been hosting house concert for the last 12 years.  People like Wendy Waldman, Chris Hillman, Jim Messina and Karla Bonoff have pass through their doors.  They had a great home-cooked meal waiting for us. The show was up and running by 8:10 PM.   Barry and John were at the top of their game on this night.  Fueled by the energy of an enthusiastic crowd, Barry stomped, hollered and sang his heart out.  John flowed with the energy Barry displayed and gave his own magic instrumentation and fine vocal harmonies.  An amusing story; Barry's telling the story of how he received a phone call from NYC asking him to play the lead in Hair when his cell phone rings.  Its his son, Brennan.  He holds the cell up to the audience and they all shout, "We love you, Brennan!"   Barry says, "Oh, you want to talk to Mom? Okay."  He hands off the phone to Mari and goes back into his story.  The audience howled.  

Stand out songs this night were the opening Dylan songs where the audience sang just like a folk music choir.  One audience member described the show as a 'psychic journey' meaning he not only heard the music but felt the feelings he had when he first heard the songs 40 years ago.    

Next up, John York's solo gig on Saturday-July 12 at The Fret House in Covina and Trippin' returns to The Coffee Gallery Backstage with Bob Stane on Sunday, 7/13/08.   See ya there!! 


6/15/08

from Terry Roland - Barry's Blog editor
 
More news on the happenings with the McGuire Train and this 60's site.  We've been getting a nice flow of stories for the new 'incoming' mail site.  We're looking for your stories to publish about your stories from the 60's.  Of course, if you weren't alive during the 60's, feel free to tell us the stories that have been handed down by your parents and grandparents!  
 
Our first story is up from Dennis Doyle about dodging bullets during Kent State.  But there'll be other stories including a treasure about Elvis, Marjorie Main, Steve Martin and a cabin in the California mountains. 
 
Today, after some over night adventures with a bad battery, Barry's down at the recording studio in Santa Paulo doing more sessions.  He's been collecting songs, doing some stripped down versions of tunes he's loved all of his life, along with an original here and there.    This promises to be his best release ever. 
 
Show's coming this Saturday and it looks like it'll be a busy summer.

6/8/2008

HEAR THAT TRAIN A COMIN' 

 
We're pulling up to the station and getting ready to move again.  While Team McGuire has been busy being born, the road has been getting ready to welcome them again.  The starting point will be Southern California dates in Claremont, Oak Park, and Altadena later this month.   
 
Be sure to watch for our future page which will allow you to send in your stories about your own adventures in the '60s.   In fact, you can start sending them in to Barry now.  Some great ones have already arrived.   Below is a nice coincidence that came in to Barry from a reader named Rocco.    Read on!
 
Hey Barry - I don't believe in coincidences - guess what? "Eve of
Destruction" was the number 1 hit on my birthday in '65 (September
19th to be exact - I was 9).

So it's not accident I love your music.

All the best,

Rocco
 
Wow Rocco,
 
How incredible.  I don't have a clue what the number one tune was on my birthday, and on the day I was born, but I'm going to find out. What a fun thing to know.
 
Blessings on you my friend,
Barry
 
So, check out this site and see what song was #1 on the day you were born.   Not all of us---uh, most of us---were not fortunate enough to be born in the '60s, but, its fun just the same. 
My song is, well, kind of embarrassing.   Look it up, cause I'm not telling you!  My birthday is 3/27/55.  
 
Oh yeah...I almost forgot.  In an unrelated area or what I'll call the 'Whatever Happened To' file..I saw that today is Don Grady's birthday.  Remember?  My Three Sons?    Turns out he's a multi talented musician and singer-songwriter.  Give him a listen at his MySpace site.  
 
Don Grady
  
30 May 2008
MCGUIRE TRAIN'S FUTURE PLANS AND A COSMIC FLASHBACK
from Terry Roland - Barry's Blog editor

 
So here we are.....The McGuire Train is in for an overhaul.  Barry and Mari are busy at home, waiting to get back on the road so they can get some rest. They're busy with plumbing, grandkids and guests.   Barry reportedly is itching to get back together with John for some rehearsals and the next show, which will be at the Acoustic Music Series in Claremont, California.   To get a good look at the series information, here's link:  http://www.claremontacoustic.com/
 
From late June, July and all of August into fall, the train keep's a movin' so steady, you'll almost be able to hear Barry's blues harp moanin' away.  The big plans on the table will be an in-the-works Asian tour.  But, its only in the planning phase right now so don't tell anyone I told you.   
 
Okay.  Here's the promised flashback.  I attended a John Stewart Memorial Concert on May 3rd in Malibu, California. There were five hundred people there to honor the iconic folksinger.  The performers were amazing including Timothy B. Schmidt, Lindsey Buckingham, Davy Jones,  Bill (Will Robinson) Mumy and many other great names who had felt the influence of John Stewart over the last 50 years.  After the fast-paced, emotional four-hour show, this nice lady sitting next to me held out her hand and said,  "I'm Valerie Venet."  I asked, "Any relationship to Nick?"  She said, "Yes.  He was my husband."  He passed away many years ago.  She looked a little sad.  My jaw dropped.  Nick Venet helped discover and record The Beach Boys, Bobby Darin and was the producer of John Stewart's seminal album, California Bloodlines.  I talked to her about my association with Barry McGuire and she smiled and asked how he was doing.  Then she said, "You know, Nick gave Barry one of his 12-String Guitars."  I called Barry on the way home and he laughed and said...."HA! I have that guitar hanging on my wall at home!   I borrowed it and never gave it back. I tried, but I just couldn't hook up with Nick again through the years."   It's funny how, just living in the moment, not expecting anything, except to reach out to someone, will allow stories like this to unfold.  What are the odds, ya know?   

"Slow Ride On A Fast Train"
5/19/08

Ridin' The McGuire Train To Oxnard with Regency Lighting Company
 
The McGuire Train....or should we call it The McGuire VW?........keeps moving along.  Our So Cal dates continue to be booked well into the fall along with some stints in Virginia and Oregon.  Below is Barry's personal account of a very special gig with Regency Lighting Company.  The performance took place at Embassy Suites in Oxnard on the shores of the Pacific ocean where it's easy to see migrating whales and dolphins jumping out of the sea.   As Barry put it, "If it was any closer the swimming pools would be full of salt water and fish."
 
 
John and I kicked the show off  just after 7 o'clock and what a show it was. During our second song, everyone in the room had their cell phones out holding them up like candles over their heads and waving them back and forth.  It was really fun and funny.  As the evening progressed they really got into the songs knowing all the words, singing from their hearts.  

Mari was in the back of the banquet room and she said that a couple slipped into the shadows and started dancing, and the oldest hippie in the room, a 90 year old lady, told Mari that if she hadn't been sitting up front, she would have been dancing too.   

The show ended with encores and autographs, hugs and well wishes, laughter and a few tears of gratitude for the wonderful ride they'd all experienced while Trippin' The Sixties with us. 

It was our fifth show together and we felt finally we had experienced lift-off.  The harmonies came together, the songs flowed like magic.  It was pure art energy, joy and just plain fun. 

 
RECORDING SESSION BLOG TO COME…… 
 
Barry


BARRY MCGUIRE ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL OR HAVE WE JUST BEEN ASLEEP?
 
Just what is a comeback anyway?  Barry McGuire has reinvented himself so many times over the last 50 years it's hard to put his musical and spiritual journey into ordinary words. From an original Southern Californian beach boy, to a young fisherman, to under age sailor in the navy to a plumber to a bohemian folksinger to a member of one of the biggest folk music acts in the country.  And that's just the first 25 years.    
 
Jerry Burgan of The We Five described it this way, "Back in the early 60's there wasn't any group of singers more lily white than The New Christy Minstrels. Then, Barry left the Minstrels.   In 1965, it seemed Barry came out of nowhere.  Here he was this larger than life guy appearing in boots and leather.  He took the Hollywood scene by storm."  

Well folks, that same Barry is back as if from a time machine.  Of course, he's bald and laughs and smiles a lot.  But, he's the same guy!   So, some would say Barry McGuire's on the 'comeback trail.'     But McGuire never left!   Only public attention did.  So much for a sleepy music industry.

I believe the McGuire' Trippin' The 60's show is not so much a comeback as it is an awakening.  Only, we're the ones who have been asleep!   Barry's been there all along with 12-string in hand and stories to tell.  And who can sleep when this Irish-American Buffalo enters the room? 
 
 
--
"Those who sing have prayed twice....."
Anonymous

 

THE COFFEE GALLERY BACKSTAGE:  ALTADENA, CA.    5/2 & 5/3


Photo:Sherry Barnett
 
It is a rough ride on the Trippin' train tonight.  The performances keep getting better with the rough edges smoothing out.  But, the new sound system wanted to distort the vocals.   It's fixed at intermission.   
 
The highlight of the show, for me, continues to be the addition of Fred Neil's "Dolphin Song," and "Everybody's Talkin' At Me."   Barry added the story about being in the studio with Fred when the song was recorded.  He also talked of how Fred Neil was inspired to write "Everybody's Talkin'" by his experience sailing on the ocean.  After nearly 40 years of identifying the song with John Voight as Joe Buck, walking down a New York City street with a cowboy hat and a buckskin jacket, this new story gives the familiar song a new vision.  Barry and John's reading of the song is fresh, alive and magical.  John's guitar solo during "The Dolphin Song," is phenomenal.  He manages to create a mandolin sound running up and down the fret board.  He garnered a much deserved ovation.  His voice and guitar style perfectly match the tone of the new show. 
 
After the final song, Barry, with encouragement from John, sings an original song called, "Callin' Me Home."  He tells a story of an adolescent encounter with a dolphin while working on a fishing boat.  Then, another one of those magic moments happens.  A spontaneous, in-the-now, kind of moment.  Barry sings this song about visions of a crystal sea, gypsy-dolphins, seagulls, butterflies, sunsets and a new born baby's cry. At once, he takes the audience with him on his magic-carpet ride through diamond moments of the past.  His voice fills The Gallery with these visions of ordinary magic.   As I watch his silhouette he looks like an old Irish pirate singing into a crimson ocean breeze.  Once again, he doesn't perform the song, he embraces it and transcends entertainment into true art. 
 

Fret House
Photography Lynn Bauer

The Second Concert:  The Train Keeps Movin' Forward
 
The Fret House-Covina, California     4/26/2008
 
With more rehearsal under their belt, Barry and John tackle the show head on.  The Fret House is a great, friendly venue.  The concerts are held in the basement where a stage area is set up, much like McCabe's in Santa Monica.  It has been host to acts like Chris Hillman, Ramblin' Jack Elliot and John Stewart.  Now add Barry McGuire and John York to the pantheon of legendary performers. 
 
The concert is sold-out.  Once again, they blaze through the highlights of Barry's journey through the 60's.  Especially fine is "Creeque Alley."  "Eve of Destruction" receives a standing ovation.  Barry never fails to bring the song into the present moment. One aging hippie even had the inspiration to get up and dance up the aisle to the front of the stage.  Some audience members rise to their feet at the conclusion of "Eve." 
 
As John plays the opening licks to "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "Mr Tambourine Man," you can almost feel the twelve string sing with the passion of the times.  That passion becomes a moment of forever as the audience joins in on the songs without missing a beat.    
 
The humorous moments are many, but none as funny as the young guy with the long Afro sitting in the front row as Barry sings "Hair," and points to him.   He grins from ear to ear. 
 
Some of the fine, new moments include Fred Neil's "Dolphin Song" and "Everybody's Talking."
Barry asks, "Who wrote Everybody's Talkin?"  Predictably someone shouts, "Harry Nilsson!"
Then comes the lesson in folk rock history......."No!" shouts Barry.  "It was Fred Neil!"   
 
Another golden moment happens when Barry sits down and plays Tim Hardin's "Reason To Believe."   On this less-than-common folk song, the audience quietly sings with Barry word for word.  Its a moving tribute to both Barry and Tim Hardin.  And everybody knows, Rod Stewart didn't write it.
 
Another addition to the show is a short blues jam between Barry on harmonica and John on lead guitar.  The moment feels loose, funky and real.  
 
A fine moment is captured that reveals Barry's heart and the essence of the show.  As Barry leaves the stage, two young children run to him and hug him.  He reaches down and kisses them both on the head.  For Barry and John, carrying this music to new generations is one of the great rewards of putting this show together.  In that moment that timeless dream is realized. 
 
All in all, progress has been made this night.  While some rough spots show up along the way, the dynamics of the show continue to emerge and the musical chemistry is rare and unstoppable.  

Barry and John Give Me A Reason to Believe    4/21/2008
 
What a four days its been.  It seems like I''ve been walking along like a cosmic puppet being guided along by a God who is passionate about folk-rock music.  Rehearsals this weekend were wonderful.    Tim Hardin's Reason To Believe" went from infancy to angel-soul status in about one hour of hard, inspired work.  There was something I noticed I might not be able to articulate well...I'll try.....Barry McGuire is a great performer and artist.  So underrated and under appreciated.  I noticed this while I watched, mumbled at Mari on the computer, scratched my nose and quietly wept as "Reason To Believe" became a Barry McGuire song.  He doesn't just sing a song, He experiences it and invites us in with him.   In the now.    I saw it happen.  I can only think of three singers I've ever seen put themselves into a song like...Bruce Springsteen, Otis Redding and Ray Charles.  It goes beyond performance to a passionate embrace of the song.  This must have been what it was like to hear Eve of Destruction come alive in the studio in 1965.    What I saw in rehearsal during that hour was art and legend in creation.  He is truly a soul singer.

The First Concert: 
The Gelenscer House Concert-Claremont California    3/22/2008

After parting the partnership with Terry Talbot, Barry is joined by Former Byrd, John York.  With previously made bookings breathing down his neck in the wake of his return from a tour of Australia, Barry and John spend hours rehearsing the new show.  The musical chemistry is apparent immediately and the revised Trippin' the 60's is on its feet within days.  Before an intimate audience of 60 people, the show unfolds as follows from my account to Barry and John the following day. 
 

Isn't life just one constant journey of discovery?  I'm still taking in all that has happened over the last month.   

Tonight we heard something brand new born from a fresh life-experience allowed to unfold unencumbered of ego and control.  It's the same way I felt when, as a child,  I would put a transistor radio up to my ear and for the first time hear "Green, Green", "Eve of Destruction" or "Turn, Turn, Turn". ....I want to stop the clock for a while to just drink in each moment very slowly.  Tonight, as John danced and shuffled with the blues counterpoint to "If I Was A Carpenter", something brand new was born.....a flight on the magic of musical wings happened as I heard those two part harmonies on "save my love through sorrow..". 

"Suite Judy Blue Eyes" sang with the longing of a new soul dying to be born and she came out like a tiny baby wrapped in a mother's love.  And she will grow, as will this new musical partnership. 

Man, what a time.  Hearing a roomful of ageless angels sing "In my life I've loved them all..." was a moment of perfect magic I will always remember. 

 

A Very Barry McGuire Moment in La Verne, California        3/21/08
 

So, after two days of intensive rehearsals in the studio....This afternoon at 5:00 PM, Barry and John and I walk out to the sidewalk.  Actually, I got there first and about seven kids, all under ten, want to know where the guitars are.  I say, "There in the back with the dinosaur men from the '1960s."   They start yelling, "Where are they!  We want to hear them play guitar!!"  

Out walks Barry McGuire with his guitar in case and he starts joking around the kids.  The kids ask, "Are you the dinosaur from the 1960's?"     Barry's dog-tired and ready for a rest...but, when he sees the kids, his eyes light up.  He starts smiling and laughing.  The kids say..."Hey!! Sing for us!  Play guitar!!"  Barry says, "Man, my voice is gone."  But, within seconds, he's breaking out his 12-string, sits his butt down on the sidewalk, and starts singing..."Bullfrogs and Butterflies, they've both been born again..."  He sings the entire song with a big grin on his face as the kids watch and start singing along. 

By the end of the song five seven year-old neighborhood children are singing Barry's song as loud as they can.  He sings a couple more and the kids are gathered around him.  Pretty soon, we get up as the kids skip away singing "Bullfrogs and Butterflies."  Soon enough, one of them has changed the words to, Bulldogs and Dragon Flies.  Well, that's folk music!  And its all captured on John York's wife, Summi's video camera!