Chapter 1

Okay! Okay! I know I should've started this journal alot sooner but I didn't. So whooomph! There it is. But I gotta' tell ya'! After last night's performance, I figured I'd better get off my butt and start writing this stuff down. It's really been pretty overwhelming. No matter how long you rehearse, you still never know what's going to happen in "battle conditions". Will everything go as you rehearsed? Will the pacing be right? How will the audience react? You just can't tell until opening night. And then if you add in the fact that we haven't toured together since '78, it was anybody's guess as to what what was going to happen. After all, the last time we toured you could still buy records.

Well as it turns out, our opening night at the Tropicana in Atlantic City couldn't have been better. Obviously, everybody had some anxieties. You know, pre-show jitters, stage nerves and that included the audience. But once we got past the opening song, "Make It With You", it seemed like we went through the set seamlessly, like one fluid motion. It was amazing, as if we'd never stopped touring and it was just another show. Our musical minds and spirits blended together as if we'd never been apart. The string section was absolutely the cherry on top of the cake. They played flawlessly. And with their addition to the show, everything coming off the stage sounded like the original recordings. It was fabulous!

It was obvious from the moment the curtain came up, that the audience were all "BREAD HEADS". They couldn't possibly have been more supportive. It was really quite gratifying to feel that kind of fan support coming back across the footlights. I know it's been awhile but believe me, we're definitely back.

Chapter 2 - Road World

Now is the calm before the storm of controlled chaos begins. I call this period the "pre-road mode". This is when you have to prepare to go from your normal everyday life into a parallel universe known as "Road World". A place where suddenly, your wrist watch and the alarm clock become indispensable tools and your itinerary becomes your road bible. It means you'll be in strange places, eating strange food, sleeping in strange beds, dealing with passports, visas, customs, conversions and god only knows what else.

But in return, you can be sure that a visit to "Road World" will always provide an unforgettable adventure. I'm sure that all you BREAD Heads out there are going to make, what I like to call, the "GRATEFUL BREAD" tour a huge success and a wonderful experience for all of us. We've received so much great E-mail regarding the tour and the group and we'd like you to know we really appreciate it. In fact, we recently received our first E-mail from South Africa, which by the way, is the first leg of the international tour. So folks, "keep them cards and letters comin' in". Speaking of South Africa, David just recently returned from there after a successful promotional tour which included stops in Australia and New Zealand.

In fact, one of the highlights of our visit to New Zealand will be working two concert dates with the Aukland Symphony Orchestra. That is definitely going to be very cool. Over the next year or so, I'll be periodically updating this journal with new entries from various locations on the tour. Obviously, it will be from the drummer's perspective but I hope to include some entries from the other guys too. So, as long as you continue to read and enjoy this journal I'll keep writing. But right now, I think I'd better head out to the garage to see if I can locate my luggage. I've got a lot of packing to do. Now let me see, where did I put those bags?

Chapter 3 - The Departure

Well, everything's just about packed. The drum case is on its way and I'll be next. Unfortunately, I¹ll be leaving on a Wednesday morning at 5:00 A. M.!! My God!! After a cup of weak coffee and perhaps an "air dog" for a light breakfast, I'll then be incarcerated in airplanes for about twenty hours. I can see it now; the swollen feet, the sore butt, the jet lag, yes it looks like it's going to be "THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING BREAD". Maybe we'll get lucky and they'll have a decent movie. One can only hope.

To all of you who have recently sent us E-mail, thank you very much. We really do appreciate it. And for those who are thinking of sending us E-mail, please do but be patient. It may be a while until we can reply. The next few weeks in South Africa will be very busy for us. So if you don't hear from us right away, hang in there we will get back to you. I'll try to keep some journal of the South African trip to share with all of you on our site. Communication on the road without my computer is not impossible just a little more difficult. You know, faxes and snail mail. So it may be sporatic. Anyway, ungowa! ......... or Later! :-)

Chapter 4 - The Arrival

After surviving what I call the Night of the Living BREAD, we finally arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa. It only took two flights; one across the U.S.; the other across the Atlantic ocean and about twenty hours of confinement in a metal tube we called an airplane. It was an exercise in endurance to say the least. And of course, your body clock gets completely screwed up. So when your body wants to sleep, your mind wants to stay awake, but things have finally resynchronized. We played our first two concert dates in Johannesburg, and the audience was absolutely great.

I guess the Breadheads in South Africa have been waiting a long time for this, and they certainly showed it with their appreciation and overwhelming enthusiasm at the shows. So far, what I've seen of South Africa reminds me of Southern California. The climate and geography are almost identical. And outside of the difference in language and dialects (and the fact that they drive on the other side of the road) you could be in Los Angeles or San Diego. Well, it's time for me to go to our pre-concert soundcheck, so I will sign off for now. But, as Arnold Schwarzeneggar would say, "I'll be back."

Chapter 5 - Full Moon Over Cape Town

Hello to all Breadheads! I'm back home again, at least for a little while. I apologize for not writing to all of you sooner but you can imagine the amount of E-mail I had to answer after a three week absence. Now that I've caught up with all of that, let's get back to the tour. Well, the last "From the Road" entry was right after our first two concerts in Johannesberg, South Africa. Alot has happened since then. After our third successful concert in "Jo'berg", we were invited to the world famous resort of Sun City for a couple of days of R&R.

Let me tell you, this place is not to be believed. It's the ultimate theme park for adults! You can do it all; everything from gambling in the casino, to photo safaris to see the local wildlife; from surfing on a man made beach (complete with a wave machine for that perfect wave) to playing on a first class pro golf course (complete with wild monkeys occasionally crossing the putting green). Aside from that, the visual beauty of the resort grounds and its structures is a feast for the eyes. Next, it was on to Durban for a wonderful concert that almost didn't happen. This was our only outdoor venue and the rules of the road dictate that it must rain on the day of your performance. Guess what? IT DID !! So, after doing our sound and light check in gusting wind and pouring rain, it was now up to mother nature.

Apparently she likes BREAD too, because the rain stopped and the sky cleared just long enough for the concert to go on. Of course, the rain came back in time for our next performance in Port Elizabeth but, at least there, we were at an indoor venue. Our final concert in South Africa was in Cape Town which is probably one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. My only regret is that I could not have spent more time there. It is a true gem in the wonderful and diverse landscape of South Africa. There was a full moon over Cape Town on the night before our homeward departure. And as I gazed out over the harbor, I couldn't help but reflect on the wonderful time we had on our South African tour.

The Bread fans that had touched our hearts with their overwhelming reception and support; the local crew and promoter who made our stay in South Africa an absolute pleasure; the wonderous beauty and diversity of the country itself. It was then that I made a vow to someday come back to South Africa to revisit the sights I had seen and the dear friends I had made. Thank you South Africa for a fantastic time!

Chapter 6 - Down Under

Greetings, 'Breadheads'!! Do you want to know what a real time warp is? Try going on the road for a month (where each day feels like 36 hours). Then, come back home for a few weeks (where each day feels like 12 hours). It's a strange "psychological cyber-time phenomenon" (can you tell I just made that up?). There's also, what I like to call, 'The 21 Day Theory'.

After a period of about 21 days you become more adapted to life on the road and less to your former life at home in the "normal" world. Then, when you finally get back home again, the whole thing starts up in reverse. Right now, I am at week number three and I've finally adjusted to the homelife groove. Yes, just in time to pack my bags and, once again, apply the 'The 21 Day Theory' through another time warp. For me, the time warp is not a song and dance from the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show', it's a side affect of life on the road. But believe me, it's a small price to pay when you consider the endless adventures that a tour like this provides.

This leg of the tour will take us to New Zealand and Australia. That means another airplane endurance test or, as we refer to it, 'The Night Of The Living Bread'. It's not really as bad as all that, especially when you've finished your third glass of wine. And by the time you've finished an after dinner brandy, even the movies begin to look pretty good. I only hope the airlines have some new titles (I don't think I can watch 'The Rock' for a third time). Anyway, I'm sure we will soon forget the discomfort of the endless flight once we touch down in New Zealand. I'll try to post more entries for the road journal from time to time while were touring to give you an idea of what's happening on the tour. I'm sure that New Zealand and Australia are going to be amazing. We've already received a great deal of E-mail from both countries. Goodbye for now and stay tuned for adventures from down under. G'day Mates!! :-)

Chapter 7 - The Kiwis

Dear Breadheads: Well, I guess it's time for another journal entry from the road. It's just been a bit difficult to find the time. We've had a pretty hectic schedule so far. We just finished our first two concerts in Christchurch, New Zealand. The performances were held in the town hall, which has unbelievable acoustics. And needless to say, all the Breadheads in Christchurch were there in force. What a great crowd! If you've read earlier entries, I'm sure you remember me writing about, what I call, "Rules of the Road".

Well, here's another one for you; kind of like Murphy's law. After a short flight from Christchurch to Wellington, David, Larry and I were driven to our hotel. At first I thought that, since we were the only ones in the lobby, the rest of our entourage had been delayed at the airport. Well after about fifteen minutes, we inquired about our rooms only to find out that our driver had dropped us off at the wrong hotel. I've been on the road a lot of years but this was a first. The rules of the road dictate that if this should happen it will occur when you're dead tired and it's your first day off. IT DID!! You know it's close to Thanksgiving but I'm not sure what we're going to do for a "traditional turkey day dinner". They don't have cranberries down here and I'm not sure about pumpkin pie either. So I guess we'll have lamb instead of turkey.

After all, it is true; there's more sheep here than people. Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving to all you Breadheads back home and I'll write again soon.

Chapter 8 - And Koalas

Hello to all Breadheads: Well so much for summer in Australia! We've only had a couple of days that could be considered very warm since we arrived here. Although, I must say that Aussie audiences have been consistently hot. The Breadheads down under have been waiting a long time and have shown their appreciation with everything from glowing revues by the press to nightly standing ovations from the audience.

The quality of the bands performances has been greatly and consistently improved with each concert. Thanks in large part to the invaluable contributions by our Bassist, Scott Chambers, and guitarist, Randy "the Great Randini" Flowers, we've been able to raise the shows to an unprecedented level of excellence. Although we're all having a great time on this leg of our world tour, we're all getting a little bit homesick. After all, it is close to Christmas and it's quite natural to want to spend the holidays at home with family and friends. Of course, after watching the world news, I'm glad I'll be spending Christmas in California. I've never been a fan of cold weather you know. I'll close this entry in the road log by wishing all our fans a very Merry Christmas and we hope you will all have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!

Chapter 9 - RoadZilla

Once again we have defeated ROADZILLA and triumphed over Jet Lag. It's awfully nice to be sending out electronic Holiday Greetings to all you BREAD fans from the comfort of my own home and not a hotel room. Aaaah! Simple pleasures. It's great to be home for the Holidays! We all hope that you too can spend the holiday season with the ones you love and we wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I would like to send a special holiday greeting to our many friends and fans in Australia and New Zealand. The venues sounded great, the orchestras were great, the audience was really great and the fans were the Greatest! We had a wonderful time on this leg of the tour and will carry fond and lasting memories for many years to come.

What an experience! Thanks again. But you know, I never did see a Kangaroos or a Kiwi for that matter. Oh well, maybe next time. I have a feeling I'm moving into another time warp. This is that fast one, where a week goes by in two or three days. We'll be hitting the road again in mid-February and heading for Southeast Asia and the Pacific rim. I haven't finished Christmas yet and I'm already preparing for our next battle with ROADZILLA; the tour God, the maker of the "Rules of the Road".

Anyway, enough of that. Right now, my wife is waiting for me with some cookies and hot chocolate and we're going to settle down to watch a "Christmas Carol", starring Alistair Sims, for about the fiftieth time. But you know what? Who cares! It's Christmas!!! ( :-)

Merry Christmas to all Breaheads and to all a goodnight!

Chapter 10 - Christmas is Over

The new year has started and I've just about caught up on all the E-mail. Whew! I guess now is as good a time as any to add another chapter to the ongoing road log. First of all, I'd like to extend a big THANK YOU, on behalf of the group, to all the fans in Australia and New Zealand. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and it was inspiring to play before such enthusiastic fans. And judging from the E-mail I received, I get the idea that all of you had a pretty good time as well.

I hope that someday we may return. In the meantime, thank you all for the wonderful and memorable moments we experienced on the tour. It is now time to face the "Son of Roadzilla" and believe it or not the first gig's in Manila. That's right, the Phillipines. It's time to start preparing for the next leg of our tour which will be through southeast Asia and will end up at the Reno Hilton in, that's right, Reno, Nevada. All the particulars will be posted on our website as soon as possible. It's going to be a tough tour in terms of travel.

We'll be flying to a new country every few days and that can wear you out pretty fast but it will be balanced out by new adventures. I hope! And for all of you U.S. fans within traveling distance of Reno, Nevada, the concert at the Reno Hilton will be March 1st. Hope to see you there in force. Believe me, it will be worth the effort. At present, it looks like we'll be leaving for Manila on February 10th to begin the Southeast Asia leg of our tour. I hope we have some new movies on the flight over. God only knows that I can't take one more screening of "The Rock" or "Emma". We've all just about memorized most of the dialogue. When you're trapped in an airliner for the better part of a day, every little distraction is welcome to keep you from going mad.

I guess it's time for me to go out to the garage and locate those suitcases and pack up the drums. Time that this road warrior started to get ready to face "The Son of Roadzilla".

Chapter 11 - Almost From The Road

Dear Breadheads: I have some unfortunate news. The dates for the Southeast Asia tour and the Reno Hilton concert have been postponed. We are currently trying to re-schedule the dates for sometime in March. I hope to have more detailed information in the near future. As always, I will post any future concert dates on our website.

I'm sure that if you've been following this "road log", you remember me writing about the Rules of the Road. Well, this is just another example of that theory. As soon as I announced our departure date, it was changed. That's Rules of the Road!! It's our version of Murphy's law, except ours states: "If anything can change, it will; and at the worst possible time."

You can imagine how complex a tour of this dimension really is. In addition to the normal chaos of touring, we're also performing in several different countries on this upcoming tour. The paper work for immigration alone is overwhelming. So you can see, it's not unusual for things to be changed or re-arranged at the last possible moment. Anyway, as soon as the dust settles, we'll be able to give you a better idea of what venues will be included on this leg of the tour and when they will occur. :-)

Chapter 12 - From The Road?

Dear Breadheads:
What can I say? I was trippin' on that home groove so much that I forgot all about the journal. Well, now I'm back, I've come to my senses and I'm ready to rock...........eerr............ I mean write!! Don't get me wrong, I love being home but after awhile, my gypsy blood arouses the road dog in me and I have this strong urge to hit the highway. Of course, after a couple of weeks of hotel rooms and all the rest that goes with touring, I start to miss being at home. It's a strange, almost symbiotic relationship between my professional and my personal life. And yet, each one helps me to appreciate and enjoy the other even more.

Remember that song; "How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away"? Well, think about it! If you want to rekindle romance with your significant other, LEAVE FOR AWHILE !!! After all, it's said that absence makes the heart grow fonder (or was that abstainance). Just kidding! So, take a long business trip or visit some relatives, etc. It will not only give you a refreshing perspective on your personal life but it will also get you out of a lot of work around the old homestead. Anyway, it works for me.

Now, for all you U.S. fans. YES!! It's true!! There will be a limited number of concert dates. The U.S. leg of the tour is still in development but we do have some confirmed concert dates which we have posted on our site. So for all you fans who have been E-mailing us about a U.S. tour, hang in there! We might get around to your part of planet yet. We will update any info on U.S. dates as quickly as they are confirmed so check in on the site from time to time. Maybe we'll be playing in your community soon.

I'm sure that most of you cyberfans have already checked out Fran Hart's BREAD fansite. If you haven't, go directly to: Do not pass go! Do not collect $200. Fran has really put together a terrific site. He's also put together an amazing amount of information about the group and the individual members. You'd have to be crazy not to visit this site. Hell! Even if you are crazy, you should still visit this site. Nuff' said?

I guess I'd better stop before I start to ramble. Anyway, check in with this site once in awhile. And when you do, let us know what BREAD song and album (or C.D.) is your favorite. Again, I apologize for not keeping up with the journal more frequently but I'm sure as things develop, I will have plenty of things to write about. Bye for now. :-)


Dear Breadheads:
Yes indeed! Strange things are happening as you can tell by the most recent changes in our tour schedule. There are so many factors involved in a major tour like this that it's not too surprising that a number of changes will occur along the way. Come to think of it, wasn't it John Lennon that said "life is what happens to you while you're busy making plans".

Fortunately, the last minute changes only caused postponements and not cancellations of the many international concerts we have planned (there's that word again) for the near future. In addition, the postponed international dates enabled us to do a limited number of concerts in the U.S. during the months of July and August. I've been getting alot of E-mail from U.S. fans who were very happy to hear that bit of news.

Yes, strange things are happening. We're considering the possibility of a live C.D., perhaps a video as well. Granted it's a remote possibilty at this point but we originally had no plans for any new C.D. at all. So, again, just when you assume you've got everything planned (there it is again), something happens and BOOOM!!, you're running behind the train of life and trying to catch up to the caboose. That's kind of what's been happening to us except we're supposed to be running the train.

Speaking of recordings, for those of you who have voted for your favorite song and album, your votes have not been sucked into a black hole in cyberspace. I've been keeping a record of the votes and will start to post the results of the poll, along with updates, on our web site in the next few weeks. So keep sending in those votes!

Well, enough of that! Let's get back to strange things that are happening. I recently received a very interesting E-mail from a fan. It seems that there is a Larry Knechtel impostor running around loose somewhere in the state of Washington. Now, if some guy comes up to you and tells you he's Larry Knechtel, make him sit down and play a piano. If he can't play every lick from Johhny Rivers version of "Boogie Woogie Flu" and knock your socks off with a solo version of "Bridge over Troubled Waters", he's not Larry Knechtel.

I hope to see a lot of Bread fans in Vegas for our concerts on the 4th and 5th of July. Your support can mean alot in terms of future concerts. Well, bye for now but check in from time to time. You'll never know what you may find.

Chapter 14 - Viva! Las Vegas

Dear Breadheads:
God! I can hardly believe it. We're actually going out on the road again. And this time around, our U.S. fans have a chance to come and visit us for an evening of wonderful music ( if we can all remember our parts ). As you can tell from the title of this road log entry, we will be opening in Las Vegas at the Flamingo hotel on the 4th of July. Now you can't get any more patriotic than that! Besides, if it was good enough for Elvis, it's good enough for me.

I've received a lot of E-mail from fans who plan on attending our concerts in Vegas on the 4th and 5th. In fact there's going to be a brunch in the Coyote cafe at the MGM grand for all the Breadheads who can survive their hangovers from the night before. Now it's at 11:30, so that should give you enough time for a cold shower followed by 4 or 5 advils and some hair from whatever dog bit you while you were having so much fun.

Next, it's on to California, which will constitute all our West coast performances. So if you're on the left coast anywhere between Canada and Mexico, this will be you're only chance to catch the group. 'Nuff said?

I knew I had been home too long when I found my cats had turned my suitcase into a bed and my wife was asking me what I was cooking for dinner tonight. Good God! I was already watching the cooking channel, collecting recipes and coming dangerously close to tuning in Oprah or some other daytime trash, which is just bubble gum for the brain. You know, it has no nutritional value but it gives your mind something to do while you're waiting for something to happen. Needless to say, I'm very anxious to get out on the road again.

Well, I guess it's time I close this entry and start shinin' up my travelin' shoes. Now, if I can just remember where the hell I put them. Hope to see you somewhere in America!

Chapter 15 - From the Road

Dear Breadheads: I realize that it's been awhile since I've posted a new entry in the Road Log but I've been swamped with E-mail. Most of it has been from fans who attended concerts on the west coast part of our tour. Since we are leaving soon for the second leg of our U.S. tour, I figured I'd better get busy and let everyone know what's been going on.

The first concerts were in Las Vegas on July 4th weekend. Thank God, they weren't outdoor concerts. The temperature was in the triple digits which made a casual stroll outside feel like a death march through the world's largest pizza oven (without anchovies please). So, outdoor activities consisted, mainly, of moving as quickly as possible from one air conditioned building to another.

Opening night went extremely well (we remembered all our parts) and the reaction of our audience reassured me that we had some of the most loyal and devoted fans in the world. Some of those who attended had flown halfway across the U.S. just to see us perform. In fact, some of our fans attended all three concerts in Vegas. Now, those are FANS!!!

Next, was the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Being that close to L.A., of course there were alot of family and friends in attendance along with a very spirited group of Breadheads. Livingston Taylor (yes, James' brother) was our opening act and he was great. Someone backstage said: "Livingston Taylor is to songwriting, what Gary Larson (the Far Side) is to cartoons." As abstract as that may seem, I completely agree. He has a great sense of humor and was a delight to watch.

The next day it was time to jump in the van and head on down to San Diego. I love San Diego! There's the Zoo and great food, Mission bay and great food, Sea World and great food, Horton Plaza and .........well, you know! Although I was a bit disappointed with the venue because of poor acoustics, I couldn't have been more pleased with the audience. There enthusiasm was very gratifying. With fans like that, we could do no wrong.

The last concert on the left coast of our U.S. tour was in Konocti Harbor. I know, I know! Where's Konocti Harbor? It's in northern California, right next to Kelseyville. Where's Kelseyville? It's right next to Clear Lake. Where's Clear Lake? You'll have to check a map for that.

Anyway, it's a beautiful resort with a great concert hall and once again we had a fantastic audience. My only regret is that we couldn't stay another day or two. Hell, I didn't even have enough time to rent a jet ski. Of course, that falls into the rules of the road category which states: If you're somewhere exciting, like Konocti Harbor, you'll have to leave the next day. On the other hand, if you're in someplace like Peoria, you can bet you'll have two or three days off with nothing to do. That's showbiz!

Well, I guess it's time to close this entry, kick my cats out of the suitcase (which they turned into a bed) and start packing. I'll try to post another entry in a couple of weeks, after the second leg of the U.S. tour.

Chapter 16 - From the Road

Dear Breadheads: After the "West Coast Leisure tour" and a couple of weeks of r&r, we headed out into combat conditions for the other half of our U.S. tour. Well, I'm happy to say we just got back from, what I like to call, our "Planes, Trains, and Rollercoasters" tour about a week ago. We had to reacquaint ourselves with tight travel schedules, hard beds, fast food, bumpy vans, the normal amount of sleep deprivation and a few surprises along the way.

Let's start with Cincinnati (the Rollercoasters come later). We performed at The Music Hall. It's a great old theatre that I've played many times with Linda Ronstadt and Dan Fogelberg. Everything went really well, considering it was the first show of the tour.

Next, was Merrillville, Indiana at the Star Plaza. This theatre was newer but no less familiar. I've played there many times as well and it also had great acoustics, just like The Music Hall in Cincinnati. Since the hotel and, more important, the BAR were connected to the venue, you can imagine how wild and raucous the audience was that night.

Then it was on to another major metropolis, Jackson, New Jersey. Now, Jackson is about the same distance from Newark as Merrillville is from Chicago, about a one hour drive. What's in Jackson? Six Flags Great Adventure and that's where the Rollercoaster comes in. In fact it usually came around during the ballads, complete with death screams from the adrenalised passengers. A bit disconcerting to say the least but Se la Vie!

Pompano Beach, Florida was our next stop for a few days off. Unfortunately, our concert was cancelled so we had a little more time to relax than we had anticipated. In the morning we sat in the sun and ate while watching the thunder clouds roll in. In the afternoon we sat in the cabana bar and drank while watching the daily thunder shower roll through. In the evening we sat in the restaurant and ate and drank 'til it was time to roll ourselves up to our rooms. Exciting, huh?

Now it was time to get back to reality and head on down to Peachtree City, Georgia. The venue was in a beautiful new amphitheater. It was a great concert for a great audience and there was no Rollercoaster ride. Although there was a light rainshower, it didn't seem to dampen the spirits of those attending and it was a full house.

Next on our itinerary, was Six Flags over Texas. August in Texas!! It was like living in the world's largest Sauna. So, we played a little and sweat alot to an enthusiastic but also hot and sweaty audience. Oh yes! the Rollercoaster ride was back and strategically placed right behind the stage. Again, complete with adrenalised death screams and rail noise!

From Texas, we went up to St. Louis, Missouri to play at The Old Glory Amphitheater which is also a Six Flags venue. Ya! You guessed it! There was another Rollercoaster ride strategically placed at the entrance to the amphitheater. By now, we were getting used to the Rollercoasters. What we didn't count on was the steam engine ride that was also strategically placed right behind the stage and the engineer never missed a chance to blast us with his whistle as he came by.

Our final concert was in Kansas City at the Starlight Amphitheater. After our day off, which included filling up on ribs at Gates barbeque (no relation to David) and a few pints of Guinness at O'Dowd's Irish pub, we were ready for our show the next day. I can't remember how many times I've played at the Starlight but it's still one of my favorite venues. It was a beautiful night and the K.C. audience was fantastic. And best of all, there were no Rollercoasters or Steam engines. :-D

Chapter 17 Roadzilla- The Southeast Asia Tour

Hello Breadheads:
Well, to start, it was another night of the living Bread. Our departure time was 11:30 p.m. out of LAX for a 15 hour flight to Hong Kong. It's a truly amazing and unique city. After seeing Hong Kong at night, I think it must have been the inspiration for the futuristic vision of Los Angeles in Ridley Scott's film "Blade Runner". I almost expected Harrison Ford to park his airmobile in front of the hotel.

If you take New York, London and Los Angeles and put them all together on an island, that should give you an idea of the density and activity of Hong Kong.

This was the first concert of our Southeast Asian tour and it couldn't have been better. A great sounding venue, a warm reception from our Hong Kong fans and a near sellout crowd, what more could we ask. It was a real thrill to be there. Our second stop on the tour was Manila. I have to admit that I was overwhelmed by our reception at the airport. Judging from the amount of press, photographers and fans that greeted us, you would think that the royal family or the Clintons had arrived. No sooner were we at the hotel than we had to leave for a press conference at the Hard Rock cafe, complete with a police escort. Wow! It reminded me of the first time the Beatles arrived in the U.S. At the end of the press conference, we were presented with platinum records for sales of the "Essentials" C.D.

The concert was a standing room only affair of well over 8,000 of the most enthusiastic and vocal fans we've had in years. The people of the Phillipines, in general, displayed a spirit and love of life that was truly inspirational.

Next stop, Bangkok! Our audience there was a little more reserved and a little less vocal than in Manila but provided us with a very warm reception. Now I don't want to say there's a traffic problem in Bangkok but it took us over an hour to go from the venue to the hotel - a distance of about 5 miles. One thing's for sure, you can bet I'll never complain about rush hour traffic in L.A. ever again.

After shopping at the famous (or infamous) Pat Pong road for watches, laser pointers, road toys and other amusements, we headed out for Kuala Lumpur. We were supposed to do two concerts in Taiwan but due to circumstances beyond our control they had to be cancelled. That was unfortunate but the plus side was two days off at a beautiful Malaysian resort.

Malaysia is a beautifully picturesque country. Unfortunately, the natural beauty of both Malaysia and Thailand was somewhat spoiled by smoke from fires in Indonesian rainforests that were raging completely out of control. The smoke polluted the air so badly that, at times, it even blocked out the sun. Another reminder that we must take care of our planet if we expect it to take care of us.

We, too soon, had to leave our smoky little paradise by the ocean and take the bus ride back to reality for our concert in Kuala Lumpur. We had another warm reception by an obviously appreciative audience of loyal fans. A good time was had by all! Unfortunately, we were unable to see much of the city. The smoke in the air had become even worse. In fact, to the point of some of us having to wear surgical masks just to go outside the hotel. At the K.L. airport, flights were being cancelled because of the smoky pollution, which was bad enough to require instrument landings for all incoming flights. But worse than that, we all started smelling like cigarette butts. BIGGGG !!!!!!! cigarette butts.

We then headed off to Singapore, in hopes that our polluted lungs and bloodshot eyes would get a break. Well it wasn't as bad as our two previous destinations but it was still bad enough to close the schools and curtail much of our tourist activities. It was a shame too, because we were all greatly impressed with Singapore's cleanliness and beauty. It's truly a model city. And besides that, there's the 'Long Bar' at the historic 'Raffles' hotel, where the Singapore sling was invented. Mmmmm......tasty!

Unfortunately, the polluted air doesn't recognize national borders so the people of Singapore had to suffer the same smoky haze that we had been enduring for the past week. After ten days of not seeing the sun and breathing air that felt like we were inhaling ten packs of cigarettes a day, we regretfully decided to leave Singapore a couple of days earlier than scheduled and fly on to Guam.

We arrived in Guam at 6:00 a.m. and by the time we finally cleared customs and got to our hotel rooms, we were able to see the sun rise over a beautiful tropical island with a clear blue sky. What a relief to see a spectacular view of Tumon bay and finally breathe clean air.

After a couple of days rest and respiratory de-tox, we were ready to get back to work again. The enthusiasm of our audiences in Guam was very reminiscent of our reception in the Phillipines. They were so spirited that the energy level of the band was automatically knocked up a couple of notches to high. They were absolutely great!!

I'm now home again trying to catch up on my civilian life while preparing for our next adventure in the U.K. Although life has been busy and somewhat hectic for the past week or so, I've been able to reflect on how wonderfully we were treated by our many fans during our visit to Southeast Asia. It was an experience I'm sure we will never forget and I would like to sincerely thank all our fans throughout Southeast Asia for their love and support all these years.

Chapter 18 - Magical Mystery Tour '97'

Well Breadheads, I guess I've procrastinated as long as I could . It's just that to put the U.K. tour down in a few short paragraphs is nearly impossible. What made it even more special, aside from the great fans, was that my wife, Michele, was able to come along with me. It was a wonderful experience that we will never forget.

After landing at Heathrow airport, we all boarded the 'magic bus' which would be our land yacht for the next three weeks and headed off to Liverpool. Yes, the home of the Beatles. In fact, our first U.K. concert was at the Empire Theatre which was also where the fab four frequently played and I don't think it's changed a bit. Of course, we went to Matthews street (a Beatlemaniac's dream) to check out the pubs and shops, all seemingly like monuments to the four local mop tops who made good. And of course after all that walking, we quenched our thirst with the national drink. GUINNESS!! This ritual was soon to be a habit as the tour progressed.

We then went on a short drive to Manchester. Yes, the home of Oasis. We were given the same kind of warm welcome in Manchester that we had received from the fans in Liverpool. Although we had very little time there, we still managed to hit the streets to check out the city and then ended the day with a concert at the Apollo theatre for a great audience.

The third day of the tour, the magic bus took us to Nottingham. Yes, the home of Nottingham lace, Sherwood forest and Robin Hood. And no, we did not meet the sherriff. Again, we were unable to see much of of the city due to our tight schedule but we did find, as in Liverpool and Manchester, a great audience as well as some great local pubs where we refreshed ourselves with a pint of Guiness. Ah yes, a meal in a bottle!

The next morning, we once again boarded the magic bus and headed for Bristol. Fortunately, we had a day off and were able to spend a little more time there. Of course, my wife was delighted to find a flea market close by and within minutes of our arrival we were meandering the streets of Bristol, checking out the wares being offered by the various venders. And you know, all that walking kinda' made me thirsty. So later, we all met at a local pub for a ....................... oh! never mind.

Well, we had a great night off and a great nights sleep and the following morning, we had a great chance to see a great deal more of Bristol than just a flea market or pub. It was a show night and by the afternoon we were getting ready for our concert that evening for another warm U.K. reception from our fans in Bristol.

Bristol was the first of five in a row and next was London. Yes, the home of Charles Dickens and "Scrooge". We stayed in a wonderful hotel next door to Kensington palace but again we had to depart the next morning so we were hard pressed to see much of this fabulous city. The concert was at the Labbatt's Apollo and was very well received by our London fans. The last time I recall working there was with Linda Ronstadt ........ ah! but that's another story.

After a short but jam packed 24 hours in London, it was time to take the land yacht to Ipswich. Yes, the home of................. hmmm. Let me think about that one. Anyway, Ipswich was a charming town with a great old theatre, the Regent. Again, it was a sound check, a show, a pint of Guinness at the hotel (as a nightcap only) and then to bed.

The magic bus left Ipswich very early the following morning for a lenghty drive to the seaside community of Bournemouth, where we performed for another warm U.K. audience. Unfortunately, we were again limited to about 24 hours in beautiful Bournemouth.

First Bristol then London then Ipswich then Bournemouth to Brentwood (sounds like names for Santa's reindeer). Anyway, after another warmly received concert on a very cold night, we loaded up our land yacht for the long overnight drive to Edinburgh.

Three Days Off!!! And, I couldn't think of a more beautiful or romantic place to spend them. After an 8:00 a.m. arrival and a quick breakfast, we all hit the streets. Though somewhat tired and a bit rough around the edges, we were none the less enthused about seeing as much as possible. Edinburgh castle, the most dominant feature of the city, alone, took a full day to tour. And of course, we went antique shopping, which made us very thirsty. And then, we'd go to an antique pub for a pint of, you know what.

Our time in Edinburgh culminated with a concert at the Playhouse theatre for a wonderful audience and it provided a second honeymoon for Michele and I. It was a truly unforgettable experience we'll never forget.

Well, it was time for the magic bus to roll again. So we headed down the coast through some of the most spectacular scenery to our next engagement in Newcastle. Yes, the home of Newcastle Brown Ale! Nothing against Guinness, I just thought a little variety wouldn't hurt. Anyway, I remember playing at Newcastle city hall on our very first Bread tour many years ago, and this audience was just as receptive and enthusiastic.

Next on the itinerary was Birmingham where we had a day off. And within minutes, Michele and Vickie (Larry's wife) had ferretted out another local antique flea market. Amazing! It's like a sixth sense! Well anyway, we ended our rainy night off with a Guinness and a cigar at the hotel bar.

The next morning, most of us were out trying to see as much of Birmingham as we could before sound check that afternoon. The time, again, went too quickly but after all, this was a concert tour and we still had to perform that evening at Symphony Hall. It was a new building with wonderful acoustics and provided a wonderful audience as well.

It was now time to leave our land yacht and take a short flight to the "Emerald Isle". Our first gig in Ireland was in Belfast and since the cease fire, it's a changed city. You could sense the optimism. We had a great discussion about this at the famous 'Crown Bar' (est.1849) over a Guinness. Oh! And by the way, we had a fantastic show that evening.

Then it was on to party town, Dublin! Yes, the home of, you guessed it, Guinness!! Though we were there for only 24 hours, this was to be a highlight of our tour. What a city! Grafton street, St. Stephen's green, Trinity university and so many people it was a traffic jam of pedestrians. What energy! And the Dublin audience showed it that evening with their enthusiastic reception which included the entire bunch singing along with us. It was really quite amazing! The last time that happened was Manila.

Unfortunately, we had to leave Dublin far too soon and fly back to England for our last show of the tour in Sheffield. Yes, the home of "The Full Monty" (you'll have to see the movie). It was at this point I began to feel a bit meloncholy as I realized we were nearing the end of our journey.

At the crew dinner that evening before the show, I took a good long look at the faces of all the people in our little circus family that had helped to make this tour a once in a lifetime experience. There was Ian, the skipper of the magic bus, and Zee & Kirstie, our caterers, who fed us like royalty throughout our travels and the rest of our U.K. crew who got the show up and running everyday. I know I will miss them all but I won't forget them ever.

We had another great Breadhead audience that night but this show seemed special. It was not only our last concert in the U.K. but the last concert of our twenty fifth anniversary world tour. And the next morning, when we boarded the magic bus for the last time, it really started to hit me. It was all over and in a few hours I'd be back home in Burbank as if it were all a fantastic Rip Van Winkle dream.

I don't know what the future holds for Bread. So, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the Bread fans all around the world for there love and support over the last twenty five years and to all those people who helped to make our world tour such an unforgettable experience. We truly wish you the Best from Bread. Thank you and have a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

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