So we've been back about a week, and I'm over the jet lag and had a bit of time to process everything that happened on the trip. To quote Chris Shepherd, "playing was the easiest part". We had so much fun playing with great Australian musicians like Rick Melick, Rosscoe Clark and Rudy Miranda. Rick was with us on keyboards through all six shows, and was not only a great musician but as he said, "a great hang". Rosscoe is probably the best shuffle drummer in all of Australia and one of the nicest guys I've ever met. Rick and Rosscoe came to us through Darren Jack's band. Darren has won several Austrailan Blues awards and is a fabulous vocalist and guitarist. We met Darren at the IBC when we competed, and Bob worked this tour out with Darren's help. Darren graciously opened for us the first three shows. I have to mention Rudy Miranda, who came in to help us out on the last show when we were in a jam. Rudy is one of the best session drummers in Australia, walked in with all the songs charted in one day and nailed the gig. Did I happen to mention that we didn't rehearse with any of them before the first show, and it came out perfectly? Major kudos to them and thanks!
The people in Australia are among the friendliest in the world, and were very enthusiastic audiences. Most of the venues were hotels, which in Australia were renovated to have a restaurant, bar, band stage and a gaming room. Really interesting places, and I think places like these could go over here at home. Most Australians live on the coast, or only a few hundred miles inland. We stayed on the east coast mainly in the Sydney area, going north and south from there. Our gigs were usually several hours apart, so we were on the road traveling a lot, usually returning to our home base of Coogee, which was just south of Sydney. I have to mention James Glendenning, a local DJ who took us on a day tour of the Sydney area, going all the way from the Blue Mountains to the Sydney Opera house, and our wonderful Air B and B hosts who took us to lunch, a hike along the bay, and even bought an NHL package so we could watch game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals! Thanks so much to everyone we met-we learned about driving on the left side of the road (and finding kangaroo road kill) flat whites, tim-tams, two dollar coins, and some great food, including Black Bear Barbecue, a great barbecue place in Blacktown. Thanks, Chop!!
There were some hurdles to overcome in the tour, like our luggage (and my pedalboard and Chris's strat) left at LAX while we went on to Sydney, navigating around the country with an ipad that we had to load directions on whenever we found a wifi connection, a motel room in Canberra that was the size of a closet, and hours of driving between shows. All of these were worth it though, to play to fans of the blues that live 10,000 miles away. Thanks, Australia, for giving us so many great memories!