Well, the last day of the tour is here already. It’s been hard work but has flown by. I suppose that is because we have had no time to idle! The coach left Stuttgart at ten this morning and arrived in Regensburg at about 3.00pm. We are only having a half hour rehearsal today to tune the organ for Manfred and to let Helene Grimaud tinkle the ivories and familiarise herself with the touch of the piano.
Considering the late night enjoyed by all, there was a very large turn-out at breakfast this morning. perhaps people were being cautious about the instruction to take food to Regensburg as there is apparently not much available at the concert venue. It feels strange to have finally caught up with myself; where I am able to finally write in the present tense. The hotel here in Regensburg is very modern and very nice. It is a shame the view from the hotel window is akin to a ’70s Butlins/Pontins holiday camp. Never mind, it’s still been a damn good trip. Not over yet of course.
Tonight’s concert is also a sell-out. There is still the return journey to report on tomorrow. We breakfast at 5.30am and board the coach to Munich airport at 6.00am. Personally, I hate flying with a passion. All this rail and coach travel is fine by me. The waiting in the airport and the sheer terror of the flight are always the worst part of any trip for me. Ah well; it’s a living, as they say!
I have managed to get my ‘trusty’ 30 minute warm-up and maintenance routine done each day we have been on tour. This is unusual and puts my mind at ease. keeping in touch with your instrument is one of the difficulties of touring. The other is what they refer to as Montezuma’s revenge. One of my other trumpet professors, John Wilbraham, used to hate touring. He reckoned that the only two things he ever got out of touring were ‘sore lips and a sore arse!’ He enjoyed a very direct sense of humour!
The RLPO is just about to leave for the rehearsal, so more later…
The concert was yet another roaring success. The packed hall demanded an encore and cheered at the end when Vasily passed the large bunch of flowers he had been presented to the RLPO’s newest recruit, Rebakah Abromsky, on 2nd bassoon.
Back at the hotel the orchestra partied until the hotel eventually closed the bar. The 5.30am breakfast was a little more subdued than normal, as a result. The coach left for Munich airport at 6.00am. We arrived back at Manchester boarded the coach for Liverpool and all said goodbye at Philharmonic Hall until Sunday.
The Sunday afternoon concert in Liverpool is officially the last gig of the tour when we perform the RLPO’s award winning Manfred symphony for the last time for a while. Sunday is also mother’s day, so my first stop was at Liverpool Philharmonic box office for a pair of tickets for my parents for Sunday’s performance as a treat for my mum. She actually enjoys both kinds of music; Country & Western!
The next stop was to go to the Dog Whisperer’s house and pick up Scooby and to take them both to the Belvedere and give Ritchie his dog whispering ‘wages’ and tell all the locals about the trip. Today being April Fools’ Day is also the Dog’s birthday-ten years old today. A great excuse for a celebration every year.
The Belvedere, situated just around the corner from Philharmonic Hall, on Sugnall Street, is a wonderful grade 2 listed real ale pub in the Georgian conservation area of Liverpool and attracts many local artistic types and, of course is used by many musicians working at Philharmonic Hall. We were soon joined by all the usual locals and some of the touring ‘Russell Watson Orchestra.’ It was nice to eat a ‘scouse pie’ washed down by a few fantastic British real ales. Home’s home after all!
Saturday was another free day, but my long-suffering partner Joss was taking her ‘Brent Music Service Senior Band’ to the National finals in Glasgow. A lot of work had gone into the kids’ preparation so I spent the day doing a bit of gardening , practice etc whilst keeping a close watch on my phone for any news. Hooray! They won and also received a ‘Platinum Award’ for excellence. Well done Joss, I’m proud of you [and her son Joe, who plays some excellent trumpet in the band].
A shout of joy went up five seconds before the end of today’s rehearsal. Apparently the violins had organised a sweepstake on how many times Vasily Petrenko would say ‘particularly’ during the tour. Evidently, we had a winner. Helen Boardman had guessed correctly with 37. Well done Helen! This has been a good tour. Fast and furious but rewarding on so many levels. I am already looking forward to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra undertaking the forthcoming tour to Romania and the Czech Republic in September. I was reminded of the immortal words of Des Worthington [RIP], former second trumpet with the RLPO. The orchestra was travelling through the Swiss Alps, the weather was a glorious summers day and the scenery was gorgeous. Des, with can of bitter in hand turned to his colleagues and said, “…I f**kin’ hate this job!”