Dear Canada Blog #29 March 24th 2018
Well I “thought” I was going to fall asleep around 12:30a.m. BUT those damn “Peaky Blinders” got me again and I watched another two episodes until almost 4am lol.
I NEVER watch television at home, other than some sports and news, so being on the road like this, offers me the opportunity to binge, and simply put, it’s brilliant. I haven’t been this much into something like this, since Harry, my dog, and I slammed six seasons of Breaking Bad, when left alone on a long weekend!!
So it was 11:00am when I began to resurface from the depths of sleep and I saw an email from management showing me the lineup for the Rockingham Festival weekend, in Nottingham, England, this coming October.
On the surface, it’s much more of a sort of “metal” type concert than Glass Tiger would ever normally do but bands similar to us have been welcomed and enjoyed immensely in the past and so we have accepted to go over and do it. If you notice, there is a band on the roster the night before us called, Boulevard. This is the same Boulevard, from Canada, who opened for us on one of our nationwide tours.
You know us, we’ll rock with the best of ‘em. Its a 60 min set that obviously has to “kick” somewhat, so I started messing around with a list of songs that I feel would serve us and the audience best, for more of a “Rock Show.”
When doing any set list, I always begin by thinking about the songs we “must” do. The ones people will expect from us. After I have them selected, I then look for songs that even although the audience won’t know them, they will still rock enough to keep the atmosphere up and energy high. Then at the end, I dabble with a well-known, cover song, in this case, David Bowie’s, “Heroes.”
So for the UK show, these are the songs I wrote down, they are in no particular order yet;
1. MY TOWN
2. MY SONG
4. ANIMAL HEART
5. I WILL BE THERE
6. LOVE IS ON THE WAY
7. DON’T FORGET ME (when I’m gone)
8. THIN RED LINE
9. SIMPLE MISSION
10. DIAMOND SUN
11. HEALING HANDS
13. WORLD’S CRUMBLE
14. I’M STILL SEARCHING
Through all these years, I have developed a pretty good sense of what works and what doesn’t in any given situation. My guideline, numbers wise, is always, 10 songs equals 45 mins, so having 13 or 14 on deck, should easily cover 1 hour.
We have decided that since we are going to be in the UK doing this Nottingham show, that we are booking a club date in jolly old London itself. It’s been a long time since Glass Tiger played any dates in Britain. A long, long, time. I don’t know what to expect, will anyone show up? Scary thought, however, no matter if one, one hundred or one thousand show, I know, that they’ll have a great time. GT is playing at the top of its game right now. As good, actually, BETTER, than ever!
After lunch I managed to get myself an hour on the treadmill. Funny my daily routine is like the hamster in the wheel and the treadmill is like my escape instead of the other way around, lol.
Chatted with Johnny by text and we decided to throw in a wee touch of “Flower Of Scotland” at the end of our duet on “Wae Yer Family” We did it a few gigs ago, because he spontaneously surprised us all with it and it went over beautifully.
Flower Of Scotland, is a beloved, Scottish ballad, best known, as an anti-English war song and which is thought of as the Scottish National Anthem by many (even although God Save The Queen, is the rightful anthem.)
My most memorable moment with that song however, was with none-other-than, Rod Stewart, or as he’s now known, “Sir” Rod, after being knighted at Buckingham Palace.
I used to attend dinners with Rod and friends almost every Sunday in Los Angeles, while down there recording my album, HOLD ON. I had a little house up in the hills, very close to the famous Hollywood Sign. How ironic that in 1986, on my first trip to L.A. I posed for this photo, having no idea, that close to 20 years later, this would be the view from my window, as I sang, So Blind & Healing Hands.
Most of the dinners were held in people’s homes, very quiet, very intimate but occasionally though, it would be at a restaurant of someone’s choosing and on one particular evening, The Roxbury on Sunset was chosen. I sat beside Rod as usual, because inevitably football, (soccer to lesser mortals) would be our topic of choice.
At the beginning of this particular dinner, a really cool thing happened when Bernie Taupin arrived and came over to share a chat and a bottle of wine with Rod. Now, for me, like so many of you, Elton John is an amazing artist, of that, there is no doubt, but it is the poetry of his partner, Bernie Taupin, that has truly amazed me, these past four decades or more.
Little did I know I would meet up with Bernie again, but for now I was just stunned that I was sitting with these two legends just shooting the breeze.
Later, Rod wanted to go up to the private club on the top floor. Literally a steel door that opens to let the celebs in and once they are in it closes for good. I can still hear a voice saying to me, “Stay close beside him because when the door closes, that’s it.” And so I did exactly that.
Inside was jammed. I mean solid. It was a who’s who of L.A. I remember, George Michael was there, Duran Duran, Billy Idol, actors, models, movie producers, the typical, “usual suspects” of Hollywood. I get quite put off by all of the plastic side of the business and so I leaned into Rod and told him I was going to fight my way over to the bar, have a beer, then head off.
“Not yet, not yet, come here, sit down beside me for a minute,” he says. I complied. “What’s up?, I asked him.
“Sing Flower Of Scotland. Let’s sing Flower Of Scotland together.” And THAT, we did. We held court. For about three minutes the George Michael’s of the world stood there and just listened as me, (that, wee laddie fae the ‘brig), that is to say, the little boy from Coatbridge, and ROD STEWART, belted out a Scottish Anthemic war song .....in the Roxbury in Los Angeles, California.....how’s THAT for a “Kodak moment?”
Hit the stage tonight as usual and did indeed get the chance to have a Flower Of Scotland moment with Johnny on stage. I know it may sound almost tribal, but you know what? That’s what it is, it’s two lads, two kindred spirits, of the same tribe, having that little moment of history and the old home that is forever attached to that history. We are proud Canadians but Scotland forever has a place in our hearts.
The crowd loved it.
Having been on such a different schedule than Johnny and his band I haven’t had the chance to see his family, who have been out here these last couple of weeks but I was fortunate to run into them backstage tonight for quick hugs and handshakes.
Headed back to hotel to meet an old pal, who is an ex-manager of GT and we had a drink and a chat together.
My bed welcomed me shortly thereafter.....Ok, I admit it. I did ONE Peaky Blinders.
Goodnight Dear Canada, until tomorrow.