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Wednesday 23rd July 2014 22:24:00

Thunderstorms, The Big Cafe Gig and The Long And Winding Road

I'm back in England now, having not had much time to blog en route.

Sunday was the last day of the tour (bar the travelling) and I was due to play the cafe Grande in Camplong. But during the day having recovered a bit from all the driving, and positively boosted from the gig the night before I was able to join Pete and Lyn for a walk into town (Lamalou) with the dogs.

The old railway line behind their house has been converted inot a cyclepath that leads direct to Lamlou-les-Bains so the walk into town was much more civilised than my previous visit, though the route was still lined with trees giving some shade, much needed in the increasing heat. The cicadas and grasshopers were positively screaming their songs from the trees, though you could never see them.

One we reached town we stopped at the cafe opposite the old location of the Bar MaryJohn. I risked one red wine before switching to Café Blanc. As we sat there the sky darkened considerably and the promised rain arrived with thunderous accompaniment. Real rain! Pete was happy as his garden was being watered, but we couldn't walk home in that so another round of drinks...

Once the rain had slowed to a cooling drizzle we made our way back. The thunderstorm has broken the heat just a little.

That evenings gig at the Cafe Grande in Camplong, was bit closer that Saturdays night, a half hour trip into the mountains to a small one road in village, same road out, so go in with larger van you'd be stuck like a cork! Setting up was simplified slightly as I'd run out of minidiscs, so wasn't recording this one. I still planned to put up the video camera.

This one was a ticketed gig at €5.00 per person, we decided to ket smaller children in for free. Lyn did the door which was very helpful. Due to start at 8:30 people were already arriving in strength at about 8:15, building to around 50 by 8:35 I was ready to go on on time but le patron insisted I wait as he thought more were coming and also wanted to introduce me.

Well he was right! By 8:45 the audience had swollen to 75! I sold a few CDs before I even started. I couldn't really understand the introduction, but it resulted in a great and welcomeing round of applause as I started my acoustic set at 8:50 or so.

I swapped the set arround a little as I was awrae that a few had probabably seen all three concerts in the south so I didn't want to be too predictable. There was a gentle hubbub from the crowd, but agreat appluase at the end of each song, clearly having a good time. I managed more of my awful French whilst introducing somgs than I had so far, this audience was mostly French, so they deserved the effort, whether they understood me was another thing...

Knowing that Pete who had worked so hard to support me on this part of the tour was great fan of B.B. Kings "The Thrill Is Gone", I dedicated a rendition to him. It really hit the spot as the hubbub died down in total silent attention. Something I always find more gratify is an audience that stops talking to listen, rather than one that is slient from the start. You know they stopped because you were good, not because they were being polite!

I played a good 50 min first set then took a short break, before the switch to the electric. Plenty of good feedback and amongst the broken french english conversations, a request to play a venue in the English midlands, contact details were exchanged, I'll keep you posted as to the date.

Second set I started playing outside, wakling in with the electric after Pete's quick reintroduction, we were trying to push the show element with this one. The set progressed well and the walk arround in Sweet Little Angle was well received as ever, and with the crowd clapping along enthusiatically as I started up Mornin' Sun. (a John Lee Hookeresk boogie number of my own which lebnds it'self to sarting on tnhe move).

I had finished the gig the night before with Let The Goodtimes Roll, which meant I had to remain on stage (or just in front actualy) to the very end. Pete had commented that it would have been effective to walk off with the guitar, so this time I finished with Crossroads, and gradually worked my way out of the bar door. Not quite the same as walking out to the dressing room, but it had the right effect and I was soon back in playing Let the Good times roll as an encore instead. This was quickly followed by a second encore (an Elmore James medley). A fantastic end to this years tour which has been a good one overall.

Monday brought the journey home. A 12 hour drive but I didn't need to be at the ferry till 3:30 the next morning so there was no pressure to start too early, even so I was on the road by 9:30. The weather had cooled considerably and there were quite a few showers, which helped to keep things even cooler. It was along journey but quite manageable with frequent stops.

Two events of note, the first as I stopped to adjust the programing of the SatNav to avoid tolls having reached the first P´┐Żage section, I looked backwards and got a dramtac view of the mountains I had just crossed. A shame the camera was burried in the back of the car somewhere. The second having failed to get the SatNav to accept the way points I had planned to use (Orleans and Rouen) I was being directed through Paris, I expeted to go through the outskirst, instead I seemed to be in the very centre, talk about hectic traffic! And on the wrong side of the road! If there were sites to be seen I was concentrating so hard on the traffic I could driven under the Arc de Triumph without noticing!

Made it to Dieppe with plenty of time and so back to England. Next gig Wales on Saturday, then back to France for a private party the weekend after that!

I have three minidics and three sets of videos to check over now, fingers crossed they came out well.

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