Friday, 3rd June 2011 in US Tour 2011.
Actually managed to get up and out by seven am with a paper cup full of strong coffee. We had to go all the way back to Kingman, past the Hoover dam and then through endless stretches of desert with just tall green cacti to break up the skyline – particularly around Phoenix. Got to Tucson by 3.30 pm and plunged into the blue pool. The room was large with a fridge and a microwave which is always a good idea because Hex’s don’t have restaurants and there aren’t usually any nearby. This one was near everything – you could have walked to the shops if it hadn’t been 100 degrees. Neil was looking forward to this gig because David Slates, the manager, had managed to find Neil’s favourite electric piano. The venue was part hotel, part bar, part theatre and right next to a railroad. The sound guy, Dana, had things sorted very quickly but Neil quickly saw that the piano did not have a sustain pedal. Neil uses one all the time and finds it irritating to play without it. So David looked around – it should have been with the piano they hired, but wasn’t . In the end Dana had a friend drop one off – not exactly the sort Neil uses, but he made the best of it. The audience was great, in spite of the fact that there were at least three things going on loudly in other areas. Must be a sign of the times that venues have to do this. Both of us had the feeling that maybe what Neil was doing was not relevant anymore, as crowds of young things clustered in the hall waiting to listen to and watch DJs. Except that the people who do come to see Neil are mustard keen and would be disappointed if Neil didn’t tour – but it doesn’t really make any sense financially. We do see America and meet some very nice Americans and that is the big plus, but maybe the touring is coming to an end. Or maybe we are just tired.