Sunday 13th August, 1995 ~ Columbus, Ohio.

   The weather just keeps getting hotter. We arrived in Columbus late- morning and I decided against checking into dayrooms in the middle-of-nowhere, in favour of staying on the bus and hanging around at the gig. The bus parked at the rear of the Newport Music Hall and quite a few of us tumbled out into the hottest day so far (and I mean HOT) in search of a café.

We found, as it turned out, "Café Insomnia" my favourite café of the tour.  I ordered a café mocha with coconut and cinammon and sat down with Pete, Mike, Grant and Alan. Ella Fitzgerald was playing in the background as we sipped coffee and slowly woke up. As it turned out, I was to spend most of the day in the Insomnia - the coffees and the fruit teas were great and the atmosphere perfect for doing a little catching up with the diary. I had nowhere else to go except the bus and outside was so incredibly hot and humid, one was better off inside. During the day I got talking to Matthew who makes the best iced coffee on the planet, and I invited him to the show. From then on, coffees were on the house, so I had even less reason to leave. I bought a tee shirt which says, simply, "Café Insomnia, Columbus, Ohio."

Around 3.00 in the afternoon I wandered into the gig and gave Grant a hand eq-ing the monitors. It was time well spent - I ended up with the best stage sound I have had so far. It's funny how some halls sound good for singers, while some, which sound good for the band - Toads in Newhaven is a good example - sound awful at centre stage. In my experience, the room has more influence on a stage sound than any amount of monitor equipment.

I was enjoying the sound and having the place to myself so much that I sang and played for longer than I should in the afternoon and wore myself out a little. I was singing Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City" when I noticed a black guy had wandered in off the street through the open back door and was listening and nodding in approval. He said "Wow man!.. You got SOUL!".. Praise indeed..

I did a little work on Pete and Mark's vocal sounds also, which made a difference, especially to Pete, whose pitching during "Easter" was spot-on. During the soundcheck, I mentioned to Wes that I'd always fancied one of those pink, paisley patterned Fender Telecasters. He agreed it was the kind of guitar that would suit me down to the ground and, moreover, that he knew where he could get me one for 500 dollars. His local music store in Tampa, Florida had one in the window. Heaven!  I asked him to sort it out, gave him a credit card, and he said he could arrange for me to have my hands on it before I leave America..  Whoopee!

The show was to be the hottest of the tour in both senses. There is no air conditioning in the hall, so the stage temperature was 100 degrees plus. During "The Great Escape" I felt that movement of everything which always follows oxygen starvation and preceeds fainting, but I took a few deep breaths and recovered enough to finish the song, sitting with my head between my legs during the guitar solo and giggling for no particular reason..

After the show, I sat outside in the street, somewhat exhausted, chatting and signing my name for the fans as usual, when a man with a vaguely familiar face asked if he could have his photograph taken with me. His girlfriend took the picture whilst he asked me who the astronaut was in the publicity photograph we'd done at Battersea Power Station. I said it was meant to be Buzz Aldrin. He said " I'm Rick, and my dad is Neil Armstrong and I want to tell you that some of the songs on your new album could be the story of my dad's life - the fame thing - that's just how it was for him."  Needless to say I'm still recovering from the encounter. I would have come to America for this conversation alone. I gave him my address and he promised to send me a copy of our photograph together, and maybe a signed photo from his dad.. I boarded the bus with my head spinning, well and truly starstruck!

We had a new bus arrive today to replace the one we started with, which was a substitute - there was some problem or other.. anyway, the new one is bigger, swisher and, crucially, has slightly wider beds and a smoother suspension. Each bus has it's own driver so we must get to know a new face about the 'house'. It was a shame to lose our previous driver, John - I had grown to like him. We returned to the "hotel nowhere" to shower up and Dan and Dana Sherman (WEB USA) went out 2.00 in the morning and procured the best chicken burgers I have ever tasted. Ate, got fat, went to bed full of regret. Dreamt of walking on the moon..

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