RAISE THE ROOF FOR NYE 2002 IN FLORIDA! ( errr WHAT roof??)
So here we are at the end of another year, and as usual Cheap Trick were performing a run of shows leading up to New Years Eve. This time it was in Florida, not the chilly Midwest like 12 months ago, so at least we were guaranteed warm and dry weather weren't we? Hmmmm
Friday 27 Dec
As usual with the current KLM schedules, I had to be up early, around 3am, and out of the house by 4.30am in order to catch the 6.10am flight out of Leeds/Bradford Airport to Amsterdam. Well, at least I'll have a long flight later to doze on. Again I discovered that I was travelling on the same flight to Amsterdam as "legendary" 70's group, Smokie! Well, they had a couple of Top 10 hits in the UK in the mid 70's!
Had a pleasant surprise when I was checking in at the Crown Royal Lounge at Amsterdam (one of the few benefits of flying so much with KLM and Northwest). I enquired about using some of my Flyer points to upgrade from Amsterdam to Miami, only to find that I'd already been upgraded, for free! I wasn't going to argue, and I looked forward to the 9 ½ hour flight a little more. KLM's Business Class was very comfortable, and a nice way to start what was to be a very intense trip.
It was 73 degrees in Miami when we landed at 2.45pm. No trouble with my checked through bag, and I quickly met up with good friend Mari from Japan, who'd arrived from Nagoya the previous evening. We got an idea of how bad the car rental would be as 4 full Alamo buses declined to pick us up. We got the 5th, and it then took an hour waiting in line before I managed to get the car I'd booked. Waiting in line for a CT show never bothers me; waiting in line to pick up a rental car does! By now it was 5pm so we crawled out of the airport area, but at least this time, unlike last January, I managed not to get lost! I still maintain that Miami Intl is one of the worst airports for driving from, very confusing.
We eventually headed north west and got onto 75N heading across southern Florida and north up to St Petersburg. It was dark as we started across Alligator Alley so no chance to show Mari anything of the scenery. The car CD player was programmed to random play, which played havoc with albums such as "Abbey Road". We couldn't work out how to get back to normal play until daylight next day. Still, it was interesting trying to guess what would play next! The other odd thing that we noticed were the number of abandoned cars by the side of the road, both along Alligator Alley and beyond. We must have seen at least 40, and it wasn't like there was anything nearby for the drivers to walk to. Does southern Florida have a remarkably high incidence of alien abductions? Do killer alligators hold up cars at night and eat the occupants? I've no idea, but it honestly became bizarre, and we noticed the phenomenon during the rest of our travels in Florida! It became as natural as breathing to drive along and point out another abandoned car. Weird stuff, something else to put into my upcoming book about my travels in America! (Only kidding about the book folks!)
We drove straight to Tampa-St Pete Airport, where we met up with fellow Trick-fans, Patricia, Dawn and Carolyn, who arrived from Chicago around 11.30pm. It was a squeeze but everyone plus their baggage just fitted into my car, and we headed back to downtown St Pete, where we dropped the girls at their hotel before Pat and I headed over to St Petersburg Beach where we'd be staying. I was glad to fall into bed at 1am, it had been a very long day.
Sat 28 Dec - Cheap Trick in St Petersburg, FL
The day started sunny but cool, and it was nice to walk along a beautiful sandy beach in late December, even if it didn't quite feel like t-shirt and shorts temperature! We got to downtown St Pete around 3pm, to find a few of the diehard fans already in line! Nice to see more Japanese friends, Junko, Hiromi and Mutsumi. During the afternoon, more of the diehard fans arrived, like Adam (Lord O), Nance, Danny Saint, Ohio Dawn, Jimmy, Rhonda and many more! As always, it was good to see familiar faces and catch up on things! And during the show it was a big (and nice) surprise to see Aussie Steve and Lisa wave from the other side of the crowd!
Bun E arrived for soundcheck around 4.15pm, and started warming up on his new drumkit. This was a beautiful orange coloured Ludwig kit (the official colour is "Amber Marine Pearl", with a 26" kick drum and a new black and white graphic of the psychadelic bunny. The rest of the band arrived nearer 5pm, and soundcheck started at 5.15pm, the band playing Taxman and Shelter. Very cool, two of my favourite songs. Ricks amps featured the two licence plates given to him in California a few months earlier, Daria's "RBNZNDR" and Victoria's "<heart>CTRICK".
The venue was as described in my Florida review from Jan 2002, enclosed courtyard with a good sized covered stage. It had been a pleasant sunny day, though the high was only about mid 60's, so when the sun went down it quickly became chilly. And chillier! Gates opened at 7pm, and the first opening band were on at 8pm. "Barely Pink" were a local 4 piece, and played a 30 minute set of good, fun power pop. Next up were Harmony Riley, who played a great 45 minute set (Don't Get Off The Ride, Falling, It's Over Now, Lost Too Long, Hold So Tight, Falling Away, Love Yourself, Cowbell, Roll Away). During the set, Miles announced that the zip on his jeans was broken, so if anyone had a needle and thread, he'd welcome some help.
By now it was COLD, surprisingly so, and when Cheap Trick took to the stage at 10.35pm, their stage attire reflected the temperature! At least they were wrapped up and warmer than most of the crowd!
RN - Black shiny suit, black t-shirt
RZ - Black ski hat, black pants, black roll neck sweater, black leather jacket with sleeve patches
TP - Red ski cap, blue pants, dark sweatshirt, dark winter jacket
BEC - Dark pants, white patterned t-shirt over a grey, long sleeved shirt
Hello There, Big Eyes, If You Want My Love, He's A Whore, I Know What I Want, I Want You To Want Me, High Roller, Tonight Its You, Words, My Obsession, Ain't That A Shame, Southern Girls, Surrender // Voices, Dream Police, Goodnight Now
After "Big Eyes", Rick wished everyone a Happy Christmas, Happy Honnekah etc, and said "Here's a whole bunch of tunes to keep you warm", and it was cool to see lots of swaying arms at the start of the next song, "If You Want My Love". Rick again referred to the temperature after "He's A Whore", joking that it was " great to be back in the warm climes of Florida!" Now given the cold, I was particularly surprised to see a woman way off to the side on Tom's side expose herself during "I Want You To Want Me". She was standing close to a security guard in a raised area, as her upper body was clearly visible above the general level of the crowd. After first exposing one breast and getting talked to by the security guard, I was surprised to see her lift her shirt to expose both. I guess she must have been warm inside from a few beers or something, but to me she looked cold! After "Tonight Its You", Rick accepted a Japanese doll of himself from a Japanese fan in the crowd. He also mentioned that the band were supposed to play on Drew Carey's show recently but were replaced by the Goo Goo Dolls. During this long chat break, he did the usual pointing out of several children to come onto the stage except they couldn't because of the barrier etc, so he eventually abandoned that. "Surrender" saw the flat thrown out, one side was the black logo on a white background, the other was a black and white "sofa" shot from the Hangovers CD. It's probably getting increasingly hard to get KISS album covers to throw out. The original setlist showed "The Flame" as the first song of the encore, but that got changed before the show to "Voices". "Dream Police" saw a big ending, but instead of going into the last song on the setlist ("Scent of a Woman"), they went into "Goodnight Now", first playing it without vocals, then starting over and Robin sang the familiar lines. An odd ending as such. The lights came up, people started milling about, looking for picks and so on, and it was a surprise to hear an instrumental version of IWYTWM playing through the PA.
We milled about with everyone after the show, and all agreed that it had been a good show despite the cold weather, though the temperature did affect people's enjoyment a little I think. We ended up leaving around 12.15am, it was nice to get into the car and get the heating on! And it's not often you hear that said about Florida!
Sun 29 Dec - Cheap Trick in Ft Lauderdale, FL
Another beautiful morning saw me saying goodbye to Pat before heading downtown to collect Mari and Dawn, and drive in a two car convoy with Rhonda and Carolyn over to Miami. We got nice views of the Everglades as we passed through Alligator Alley, spotting a few gators basking on the mud banks, as well as birds. And we saw more of those abandoned cars that I mentioned earlier!
We reached our Days Inn at Hallieh, quickly checked into adjoining rooms, and soon set off all together in Rhonda's rental car for the 30-40 minute drive up to Ft Lauderdale. The hotel wasn't exactly in the most picturesque location, but it was really handy for the freeway! We reached the Culture Room venue around 4pm, situated in a strip mall near the downtown area.
The place was pretty small, with a capacity of maybe 500 in the main "hall", though it had another similar sized room next door, with bar, tables and chairs and the merchandise booth situated in there. The stage wasn't a bad size, not too small considering the size of the venue, though it had a 5 ½ ft tall barrier at the front of the stage. The dancefloor wasn't large, perhaps only 40ft deep, though part of that space was taken up by a bar and a riser for the mixing board. There were stairs at the rear of the dancefloor, leading up to a balcony and bar on Tom's side. There was a small balcony on the opposite side too, but only accessible from the stage. The room was painted black, with black painted wood behind the stage, though the wall at the rear (opposite the stage) was mirrored.
The band arrived for soundcheck at 4.35pm, and it transpired that Magic Christian, who'd played keyboards with the band during the early to mid 80's (he's seen on the German Rockpalast TV show of 1983) would be a guest for tonight's show. He'd be playing keyboards up on the small balcony to stage right. Soundcheck started around 5.15pm and they played "Tonight Its You" then "Voices". Both songs are regulars in the current setlist, and may have been chosen for soundcheck to ease Magic back into the flow.
Doors opened around 7pm, and Harmony Riley took to the stage at 9.15pm to play a similar set to last night in St Pete. Again Miles mentioned his broken zipper (I guess he didn't find time to repair it during their journey to Ft Lauderdale) and surprise, Dad Rick came out and fiddled with the zip for a moment before walking off!
It was fun to have Florida based fans, Kenny and Sharon standing next to me on the balcony, he's the guy in the checkerboard shirt in the "Silver" CD centrefold, with Sharon beside him! So the three of us from that picture were again side by side! We had a really great view right across the stage, and it was cool to get a rare, clear line of sight to be able to watch Bun E at work. Just before the show, actor Jeff Garlin came out from backstage and stood at the steps to the side of the stage to watch the show.
Cheap Trick took to the stage a little after 10.30pm, and dressed to suit the dark décor of the place!
RN - Bronze/black striped suit, black t-shirt with Junko graphic
RZ - Black pants, black jacket with fine white piping, black sparkly shirt and black tie
TP - Black pants, black shirt with white piping, long black jacket
BEC - Black t-shirt, black pants
Magic Christian - Hawaiian style shirt, pants
Hello There, Big Eyes, If You Want My Love, She's Tight, I Know What I Want, I Want You To Want Me, High Roller, Tonight Its You, Words, My Obsession, Ain't That A Shame, Southern Girls, Surrender // Voices, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodnight Now
The crowd mostly filled the venue, but it wasn't crushed tight. After "She's Tight", Rick mentioned the upcoming "Daddy Daycare" movie in which they and Uncle Dick feature, and pointed out one of the film's stars, Jeff Garlin at side stage. "After "IWYTWM", Rick announced that it was Japanese fan Junko's 100th show, and proceeded to both tease and embarrass her a little! He mentioned a word in Japanese, but neither Junko nor two other Japanese women fans in the audience would confirm that it was Japanese for a male part! After "Tonight Its You", Rick got young Brandy from Illinois on stage, and she answered Ricks questions perfectly! Her favourite band were CT, her second favourite band were Harmony Riley! Rick got her to sit with Jeff Garlin and his party at the staps to side stage, and he paid her a lot of attention throughout the show, very cool! Rick then pointed out Magic Christian, saying that this was their first show with him in 17 years. "Ain't That a Shame" saw Rick sitting with Brandy at side stage at the beginning, and later saw a terrific extended ending, which featured Magic quite prominently. It started to get a bit confusing whose turn it was to play a chord during the end duel, so Rick almost became a "conductor", gesturing whose turn was next during the ending! It was very cool, and the song highlight of the night for me. Fun to watch two people fight for the best part of 30 seconds over the flat thrown out during "Surrender".
When the band came back on for the encore, Rick gave Junko his towel, Tom gave her his pick, and Bun E gave her his drumsticks. The setlist said "Dream Police" and "Scent of a Woman" were to follow "Voices", but instead they launched into "Auf Wiedersehen" before ending with "Goodnight Now". Awesome stuff, but I couldn't remember the last show I'd seen, if any, where they didn't play "Dream Police".
The fans milled about after the show as usual, many chatting with and saying goodbye to the guys in Harmony Riley, who were driving back up to Illinois after this show. I was asked to watch some gear before it got loaded onto the truck the stuff I was watching was last to get loaded, so Rhonda and the others had to wait for me for an hour. Again, my apologies to them. But it was interesting to see the truck get loaded with all the stage kit with military precision. We finally left at 1.15am, and I fell into my bed in Miami at 2am.
Mon 30 Dec
The warm and sunny morning came too soon, and we were up around 9.15am. We soon headed towards the downtown Hyatt, where Rhonda had to exchange her rental car for one in which the windows went up as well as down We then went down to Bayside, wandered through the shops and had lunch at the Hard Rock Café by the marina. Mid afternoon we headed north, first through the extremely cool but crowded art deco district. The architecture was wonderful, and the streets and pavement café's crowded. It's a popular place to see, hence the traffic literally crawls, but that gives you all the more time to admire the surroundings. We eventually got back onto the interstate and headed north towards Orlando. Coming into Orlando on beautifully lit up International Drive, we drove past cool looking places such as the newly opened Hard Rock Vault (topped with an upside down pyramid), Wonderworks (the exterior is of an upside down building!) and Ripleys (the building is slanted as if sinking into the ground!). We arrived at our conveniently located Days Inn (just off International Blvd) around 9pm, checked in and then headed to nearby Universal. I only realised later that we'd not come anywhere close to downtown Orlando during our stay, we were solely in the International Drive area. Anyway, Universal was only a couple of miles away, we easily parked in one of the huge multi-storey parking garages, and walked through to busy Citywalk. The place was all lit up and fun, comprising of shops, restaurants (both theme and regular) and cinema. It was a dry and balmy evening, very pleasant. We found where Cheap Trick were to play the following evening, and spent quite a while walking around before heading back to the hotel to sleep. Tomorrow would be another long day!
Tues 31 Dec - Cheap Trick in Orlando, FL
Another warm and sunny day, and we all headed back to Universal at 11am. We got to the stage area to find it empty, apart from CT's crew who were getting ready to load and set up everything on stage. It was starting to cloud over by lunchtime, and it was known that there was a threat of storms later in the evening. Carla stopped by briefly, and said that the band might go on stage much earlier than their first (9.45pm) slot and possibly playing a shortened show if the storm came through as predicted. Carla asked me to let as many fans as I could know about the possible earlier show. I'd been checking the Weather Channel online before I left England, so I knew a week ago that it was forecast to rain today, so Universal should have known too.
Interesting that the leaflets and signs promoting NYE here were saying "Why drop the ball when you can RAISE THE ROOF". It was interesting because the stage that had been set up for Cheap Trick had no roof, or covering of any kind. The stage was large and set up over a waterfall/cascade feature in an outdoor plaza between the Pastamore restaurant and the Universal Store. That area and the upper part of the Citywalk were fenced off as they'd be open only to $99 ticket holders later in the evening, though for now the area was open.
We were told by security to leave at 1.15pm, and not allowed to even line up outside the entrance because of potentially blocking a "major pedestrian throughfare". Hmmm So we took a couple of tables outside the adjescent Pastamore restaurant, and settled down for the afternoon. As time went on we were joined (off and on) by other fans such as Mutsumi, Junko, Hiromi, the two NY Adam's, Danny, Nance, Jimmy, Dawn from Ohio, Jill and husband from Omaha and others (apologies to anyone I've forgotten to mention!).
After watching Phil take about two hours to set up the ropes to form a queuing area, we got in line at around 4pm. Soundcheck took place at 4.40pm, which we heard but couldn't see due to the green fencing. CT played "Oh Caroline" and "Ghost Town", and soon after soundcheck was over, Rick stopped by the line before heading off with his wife. Off and on during our time waiting for the gates to open to the concert area (at 7pm), people went off to get food or look around. The Motown Restaurant played great music and had some cool items on display, and other nearby places of note included the NBA City/Restaurant, Hard Rock Café (with a motor coach outside which featured in the Beatles movie "Magical Mystery Tour") and the Nascar Café. And we had fun in the line too, singing and keeping in good spirits for the anticipated New Years Eve party ahead.
Shortly before the gates opened at 7pm, we felt the first ominous spots of rain, but it was still only spotting after we got in and all went to the CT stage. Most other people who came in behind us headed straight up to the bars and music joints on the Citywalk upper level, and I didn't see anyone stop in front of the other stage a couple of hundred yards away where Three Dog Night would be playing. The rain became heavier as we stood at stage front, and one of CT's crew threw us a roll of large plastic bin bags to fashion crude rain protection from. The bands stage equipment had already been covered over. But the rain got heavier and heavier, and despite many of us having gone off to buy plastic poncho's neaby (I got mine in a fetching zebra design!), we got wetter and wetter. My feet were soaked through.
We'd tried to keep our spirits up, but by 7.25pm all of the CT fans had taken cover and we eventually headed to the upper Citywalk area where the buffet was being served. That area in between the clubs and restaurants was mostly covered over though the water still flowed through on through as the walkway sloped. There were various tables serving foods such as filet mignon, jumbo shrimp, jambalaya, lobster and so much more, and the food was excellent. Some people went straight to Pat O'Briens Bar, but many of us stood in the walkway, eating, drinking, and trying hard to keep our spirits up. The rain continued to pour down, and despite the optimistic words of the two "hosts" who were broadcasting over the PA, it looked unlikely that the CT show would happen. By that time it had already struck me how stupid it was for a billion dollar place like Universal to be so cheap as to not put any type of covering over the concert stage, and to seemingly have no contingency to place CT in any indoor venue in the event of bad weather. Particularly as rain had been forecast for this day at least a week ago. To be fair, there was no way the show could have gone ahead, even if the stage had been covered, as there was lightning as well as heavy rain, and it just wouldn't have been safe for the performers or the crowd. But to have no back up plan seemed crazy. There was nowhere else CT could play, with the other music places (such as the CityJazz venue) already full with patrons and having other entertainers already performing. We could only look longingly across to the Hard Rock Live building across the lake, where a couple of young bands were scheduled that night. Around 10pm I saw the crew unloading the stage whilst just yards away the Citywalk compere's were still talkng about consulting the weather forecasts and hoping for breaks in the rain D'UH!!!! Get real will ya? At least don't insult us with crap information. And all the while, piped pop and rock music was being played over the PA, but they wouldn't accept our plea's for just one CT song.
By 11.30pm our group was split across three or four places, and I honestly can't remember who came and found my group soon after that to tell me that CT would be playing a short acoustic set at the Hard Rock Hotel, some ¾ mile away. I later heard that friends of the band at the hotel had been trying to find/contact me and any other fans to let us know, and that finally they'd got hold of Brian from Dallas. There were no other CT fans around that we saw other than the hard core ones, and I know of at least a couple of people who'd left before 11.30 since it didn't look like anything would be happening. Anyway, the group of maybe 15 of us headed out into the still heavy rain to get to the Hard Rock Hotel. I was at the back of the group with Dawn from Chicago, and we lost sight of everyone ahead of us, who'd gone running ahead! We half ran through the wet walkways, trying to skirt pools of water inches deep, and the grassy grounds of the hotel were sodden. Dawn and I got in at 11.50pm, just in time to find a spot on the floor in the hotels lobby lounge area where microphones, speakers and stools had hurriedly been set up. The lobby lounge was packed with hotel guests, having a drink and watching TV coverage of NYE on a large screen TV wall behind the stools where CT would be performing. They'd certainly be getting a bonus in seeing CT too!
Cheap Trick squeezed through the crowd at 11.54pm, all but Bun E took to a stool (Bun E stood behind them).
RN - Black suit, black t-shirt, maroon scarf
RZ - Black suit, maroon shirt, black tie
TP - Blue jean jacket, black trousers
BEC - Blue flowered shirt, blue jeans
I Want You To Want Me, Surrender, Auld Lang Syne
Using borrowed equipment, the band started their short acoustic set with "I Want You To Want Me", followed by "Surrender". During the latter, both Rick and Robin were aware of the screen behind them which showed the countdown to midnight. They had to cut short "Surrender" by maybe 30 seconds as midnight came upon us, and they led the coundown from 10 through to one, until with a big cheer, 2003 was welcomed in! The band then played "Auld Lang Syne" before leaving the crowd, and us fans hugging and wishing each other a happy new year. The fans took numerous group photo's of each other in the lobby, and even managed to persuade Carla to join in a few. After that it was time to go into the bar and celebrate, along with some of the crew and Carla. Most of us were still pretty wet but happy that we'd managed to at least see a CT show of sorts, and thanks to them for doing something at such short notice. The rain looked to stop around 2pm, and we all finally left the bar at 2.30am to head back to our respective hotels. The five of us had to walk all the way back through Citywalk to the parking garage, some 1 ½ miles away. The pathways from the hotel were still flooded and the air was moist and mild as we walked, and surprisingly there were still a few other folks walking back through Citywalk too from other events. We got back to our Days Inn after 3.30am, for a few hours sleep before checking out next day.
Weds 1 Jan 2003
Rhonda, Carolyn and Dawn left the hotel around 10am as they all had lunchtime flights back to Chicago. Mari and I checked out at 11am and had a slightly easier day as we just had to get to Miami. I know all of us still had soaking wet shoes that morning from the night before!
Mari and I headed back down International Drive and stopped in at the Hard Rock Vault. Opened only a week before, it houses a large amount of the Hard Rock's memorabilia. After paying to go in, you find yourself in a large circular room which houses several cabinets of different memorabilia. There are large pictures of musicians around the ceiling, including a cool picture of Rick. At regular intervals you can join a small tour group, to see a number of special rooms. Our tour guide was a cool dude called Ogie, very friendly and who definitely loved his job! He mentioned that Rick and his wife had been on one of his tours yesterday, so it was cool that during the tour he mentioned Rick/Cheap Trick a few times. The first room is devoted to the punk/new wave era, and the cool thing is that the exhibits aren't behind glass. You can't touch of course, but you can certainly see the things up close. The tour was a mixture of narrative, plus video clips/interviews on TV screens. This room held, for example, one of Lou Reed's leather jackets and Sex Pistols stuff. There was so much more, but I'm afraid I didn't take notes! Other rooms featured pop stuff such as Madonna and Michael Jackson items, a suit of James Brown's, one of Gene Simmons' stage outfits, stuff from the psychedelic scene and more. The room containing Beatles and Stones stuff was very cool, and I can imagine that Rick would have enjoyed seeing some of the Beatles guitars. And the tour culminated in rooms highlighting Elvis Presley's early and later career. Some of the costumes etc from his Vegas period were cool, and I found it quite moving to see the black guitar he played during his 68 Comeback special.
After the tour, we wandered to see more, and Mari decided to cut a CD at the Sun Studios recording booth. Sadly they had no CT otherwise I might have done a number, but Mari chose Abba's "Dancing Queen" and she sang a great version, twice. The first is a practice, the second is a take. Along the last corridor before leaving is a cabinet with badges, pins and passes, and cool to find not only a couple of CT pins but also a CT Dream Police shield badge, which seems to sell for over $100 these days on Ebay! For any music fans who find themselves in Orlando, I really would recommend the Hard Rock Vault!
We left Orlando at 2.30 and in warm, brilliant sunshine. We headed south on the Florida Turnpike, and we witnessed a horric accident about an hour south of Orlando. It happened perhaps ¼ mile ahead of us, I suddenly saw a puff of smoke and a car roll over and over and fly off the road into the vegetation by the road. Of course I slowed down, and by the time we reached the scene monents later, several cars had already stopped and people were rushing to the wreck to help. I didn't think we could do anything to help, so I continued on down the road, but that really was an unnerving experience. I didn't hear or read anything of the crash next day, I just hope it wasn't fatal.
Mari and I reached our Days Inn near Westland Mall late in the afternoon. We checked in, went out for a light dinner before getting back to finalise packing our respective suitcases and to grab some desperately needed sleep.
Thurs 2 Jan - Friday 3 Jan
It was an early start next day, up at 4.15am, as we needed to get Mari to Miami Intl Airport to catch her very early flight to Houston and then on to Tokyo. We said our goodbyes at the airport, and I was back at the hotel by 5.30am to get more sleep. I did a little shopping late in the morning as I slowly made my way back to the airport to drop off my rental car (over 1150 miles driven in 6 days!) and check in for my flights home. The Northwest Airlines counters were busy, so it took me over 20 minutes to check in at the Business Class desk (even though I flew economy). Eventually took off just before 5pm on the 9 hour overnight flight to Amsterdam. It was warm, crowded and a long evening, and as usual I got little sleep. Had a while to kill at Amsterdam before getting my connection back to Leeds/Bradford, and it was with foreboding to hear the Captain announce that it was currently snowing at my home airport! But I needn't have worried, I saw the snow line literally cut through Leeds. Where I lived had no snow, but it was very white at the airport. Got my bag OK from the baggage claim, got my car, and unusually I drove home instead of work. As it was Friday morning, I'd decided to give myself the weekend to recover. As it was, I needed far more as I suffered both jetlag and a heavy cold. No surprise I guess after such a tiring trip.
As always it was a fun trip, great to see some many Trick friends at the shows, and it was "fun" to experience some unusual shows. A regular CT trip this was not! Many thanks to Pat for allowing me to stay at St Pete Beach, thanks to my travelling companions from Japan and Chicago (Mari, Dawn, Rhonda and Carolyn) for providing much fun, thanks to everyone I met for their warm friendship, and as always, thanks to Cheap Trick, Carla and the crew!
Kim Gisborne, Leeds, England, Jan 2003
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