I have always dreamed of having a band and going on tour. I’ve tried to put things together in the past, but it never really worked out. Sometime last year, we made a fan in England who really liked our music. It is amazing what the internet can do for you! Anyway, she really liked what she heard and told us that she was going to save up money to come see us in America one day. It made me start thinking about the whole “tour dream” that I have always had. Since the retirement of our original guitarist and the sudden passing of our original drummer, our band lineup has changed. I started to run the idea of doing a tour by my new fellow bandmates and they were very interested in doing it. This was it! This is the first opportunity that I have ever had to tour with our band. So after making a short list of places to tour, we came up with London as our destination. Little did our new fan from England know – we were bringing the band to her! The optimism and enthusiasm of my bandmates truly warmed my heart. This was destined to be the trip of a lifetime! And it was.
On day one of our trip, we all found ourselves at Don’s house as he was in the process of last-minute packing. He had everything all over the place – I should have taken a picture. After we got that sorted, our good buddy Jake Lee accompanied us to the airport. He would then be the guy to pick us up from the airport when our tour was finished. Thanks, Jake! The Virgin Atlantic plane was the coolest thing ever. The interior looked like a fancy music club! The purple lights and large headroom was something that I’ve never seen before on a plane. Even though it was pretty late, it was difficult to fall asleep because of the excitement of our trip and of course, it is always hard to sleep on planes. We landed in Heathrow and began our big trip in London by being picked up by a car service that would bring us to our hotel. I was the last one to get into the car, so the band saved the front seat for me because of my height. Of course, I went to get in the driver’s seat (according to the US cars) and the driver asked me if I would be driving today. Face palm.
Our hotel wasn’t the best but we all got to stay together in one room. It was just like how I imagined touring would be for a band on a budget! The best part was that we all got along so well. Once we figured out who took longest to get ready, we came up with a schedule that worked out great. We even had a phone/camera charging schedule.
I tried to document our trip each time we were in a place that had wifi. It was fun making the little posts on Facebook and getting responses from back home and seeing posts from people that were cheering us on.
Our first day was awesome! We got to eat at a cool little place called VX and played our first gig in London at Dirty Dicks (the oldest operating pub in London). Our friends from England came to see us, along with a bunch of new friends including Dawn (who became our fan online and helped to spark this entire tour). We were even joined on stage by Norda Mullen! (She is the flautist for The Moody Blues). Another new friend, Ashleigh, drove us back to the hotel after the gig.
After a successful and exciting first gig, we spent the next day at Stonehenge! This site is a personal favorite of mine. It was another fantastic day. Don and Arielle kept singing the Spinal Tap song. It was quite funny!
Our 3rd day consisted of watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, eating at Mildred’s (the top vegan place in London) courtesy of our dear friend Pastor Matt and then performing at Karamel Restaurant in the evening. The staff at Karamel were so nice to us and they had awesome vegan food for us too! The place had such a great vibe. Yet another fun gig to play!
We spent the next day at one of King Henry VIII’s many castles: Hampton Court Palace! A perfect day for sightseeing and then dinner with our friends at 222 (the second best vegan restaurant in London).
Day 5 started out with a visit to Abbey Road! Yes, we took the Beatle picture and crossed at the crosswalk. Later on, we went on a ride in The London Eye! We topped off the night with our 3rd gig of the tour at a place called Rise 46. It was another cool venue with a great vibe. We were very fortunate to meet up with fans and friends at all of our shows and Rise 46 was no exception. At this club, a friend of ours from New Zealand (Marian) came to see us!
On day six of our tour, we visited the Tower of London. We made a new band rule that day. Band rule number 1: Don’t lose Donnie. That became an important rule because we lost him in the Tower for about half an hour. After finding Don and eating lunch, we made our way to our fourth and final show of our tour to a place called The Cool Cats Cafe. This place was a wonderful venue that had tasty food and a most generous staff. Somehow, I lit my menu on fire while I was deciding what to order. I guess that was the rock and roll mayhem portion of our tour. Although we almost didn’t make it back to the hotel because we missed the last train, our good fortune followed us and one more unexpected train came to take us to our hotel.
The next day, we headed home from our London adventure! Our trip consisted of great gigs, great sights to see, great food and great friends. Who could ask for anything more?
Next stop: San Diego!