Bahn Bahn Bahn it’s the Autobahn
POSTED: August 15, 2009

I’m on a tour bus hurtling down the German Autobahn, headed from Wiesbaden to Fredrichshafen to play another show with my band. We’re on a short tour of outdoor festivals here and then we fly to Heathrow to do one show at the Snapes Maltings concert hall in Aldeburgh, a small village on the east coast of England. The Aldeburgh festival is primarily a classical music festival, but they’re slumming it with a Curtis Stigers concert this weekend. It’s a lovely place, a lovely hall. We played a classical festival last night in Wiesbaden, too: The Rheingau Musik Festival. It was a good show. The audience was more polite and careful than we’re used to, but we warmed them up. By the end of the show they were really into it. The night before we were in Jena, a town of 200,000 that was in the East before the wall came down. Great show, nearly 2000 people in the audience. We played a little ping pong backstage. The band and I were invited to an aftershow party with the Bergermeister (mayor) and some of the local business bigwigs. Carl Zeiss, the famous optics pioneer was from Jena and that’s a big business there. Talked politics with the mayor and the head of Jenoptics and drank too much wine. Good fun. We also had a return show in a little Circus-style tent venue in Kassel Germany called Kulturzelt. Once again they treated us to copious amounts of Pils (beer) and German sausages as we sat outside in the garden after the show. It beats working for a living…

Last week I was in London for the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall. I sang several classic numbers (Stepping Out With My Baby, Heather On The Hill, Our Love Is Here To Stay, Well Did You Evah? Etc…) from MGM musicals with The John Wilson Orchestra. It was amazing. Televised live and on radio, with several other singers including Baritone Sir Thomas Allen, and Seth MacFarlane, the creator and star of The Family Guy. It was an all-star orchestra, hand-picked by John Wilson, who has painstakingly re-constructed all the long-lost orchestral scores by transcribing them note for note from recordings. Even the rehearsals were inspiring. The violinists in the back row were section leaders in their own orchestras. Virtuostic playing. We had a lot of laughs (not only is Seth a very funny guy, but Sir Tom matched us joke for joke). You can see some of the RAH performances on You Tube. My family joined me for the whole lovely week in London. What a great way to make a living this is…

Sausages & Pils in Kassel

I’m home next week and then to Dublin for an August 21st performance of The John Lennon Songbook with John Wilson and the RTE Concert Orchestra, along with British jazz singer Clare Martin and actor/singer Mark McGann. We did the same show with the Liverpool Philharmonic last summer, and I loved it. Happy summer…