Sunday, 10 August 2008

Gidday from Paris

Well finally i made it here. After having Lufthansa ring me on the 6th and tell me their strike was still on so that i was being put on a US airways flight i had to ask whether that meant i could then get a US airways flight a day or two earlier. Ultimately it meant i got an 11AM flight on the 8th via Philadelphia, an incredible relief as this meant i would hit France on the 9th and get a good chance to get rid of jetlag prerace.
One last gig here with Shari and the Rhythm Addicts as support for 40 Points a band containing two of country music legend Willie Nelsons sons down at The Brixton on Redondo Pier (basically one beach down from Hermosa).
Possibly not the most organised night early on, firstly with the video screen outside advertising "Shair Puorto" (i'm sure their video editor must work for "Typo's R Us") and then an 8:30 start being knocked back to 9, with the first support act Megan Moreaux now doing a very short (4 song by memory) performance, not really long enough for me to get into her music but at least long enough to get some feeling for it.
Ultimately a shortened 45 or so minute set for Shari and the band, starting with some of her original songs such as "When i met you" and one of my favourites "Outta My Mind" (i know a title that sounds way too much like the average description of me :-) ), and finishing with various blues standards including "Shaky Ground", with the set cut short and time for only one of the 3 remaining songs an awesome rendition of "Hurts so Bad" completed their night.
As usual Shari was great with her usual bubbly energy and incredibly versatile vocal ability and stage presence, and the band were right on their game as well with Michael seemingly a graduate of the "Keith Moon school of drumming", Jake as powerful as ever on lead guitar (and proving that you don't need to play over the back of the head etc in the style of Jimi Hendrix to be good) and David definitely so far removed from the Bill Wyman style (ie just look bored and a bit above it all) of bass guitarist with a style of his own. Was great to catch up with them all just one last time this trip ended, certainly i know i'll see Shari again but considering my recent back problems the question should be asked whether i'll be part time roadie as well next time!!!.
Wasn't sure what to expect from 40 Points (, but they actually gave a real interesting and lively (and good) performance, Lukas Nelson on guitar and lead vocals, Micah Nelson on drums and then one other drummer (multi percussion actually having various other instruments i couldnt name) as well as a bass guitarist. I couldnt honestly name the songs but still these boys were good and had great rhythm, Lukas doing all the guitar tricks playing over back of head and by mouth etc and just having a ball out there.
Strangely by 11 it was all over, (pretty sure in downtown LA the gigs wouldnt even have started then, let alone finished), and was home by midnight probably a fitting end to the US leg of my trip.
I'd been told by US Airways to be at LAX 3.5 TO 4 hours early which seemed way over the top but still i did want to head to France asap so took no risks, only 1.25 for the bus to LAX from HB even cheaper than Palmie to Coolangatta! and spent most of the journey talking to a postal worker who recognised the Badwater cap and knew of the race. All the predictions of endless queues were far removed from the truth and by 9 i was sitting at the terminal with a two hour wait.
Most positive thing i can say about US airways is that they got me where i wanted to be, they seemed like a US Jetstar, 5 Dollars (no dollar sign on French keyboards need to get used to that !!!) for headphones, 2 for water, coffee or soft drinks, 7 for alcohol and 7 for lunch, so of course i didnt buy anything!!! on the trip to Philadelphia. With time differences arrived in Philly around dusk, so cant say i saw much of the city flying in and essentially only had time to go fron one end of the airport to the other to get the flight to Frankfurt.
At least dinner was complimentary, as was water, soft drinks and coffee im assuming because it was an international flight, however still booze was 7 dollars, so much for my standard method of sleeping on night time long haul flights (3 little - 170 ml - bottles of wine), meant i watched (But not paying for headphones didnt listen) The Bucket List (even without sound was a good film) and then dozed fitfully (with my bandanna over my head balaclava style did keep on thinking crew would kick me out for being a terrorist suspect !!!) all the way to Frankfurt.
Four hour wait for the next flight and finally arrived at CDG Paris at 2PM, thankfully no luggage issues this time and was soon on the metro and feeling quite at home. Had booked a cheap room for Saturday night as the place i had Sunday was full and found it easily (it may have been 2 years since id been here, but it felt like yesterday it was all very familiar ), well all i wanted was a bed and thats what i got, a room similar size to my walk in robe at home with a single bed and a toilet (shower downstairs 5€ ), slept till 9 almost straight away then wandered out for a feed, actually managed to find a little bar id gone to last time with a guitarist and a cheapish feed. Thought i may as well find my next hotel and i did, never dawned on me it was a block from the Moulin Rouge, dont think it will be a peaceful night tonight as this are is the home of every "Cabaret" and sex shop known to mankind (I had flashbacks to the tackiness of Las Vegas !).
Didnt get back till 1 and then had to call down reception, straight to bed and slept like a log till 10:30 typical Paris (The Melbourne of Europe weatherwise) its raining, thats why im in an internet cafe doing this long blog entry enroute to the next hotel. Once i check in i can go off and enjoy the city.

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