I was pondering how best to title what will be a bit of a series of blogs over the next 4 months or so while I'm away touring and thought that ‘portraits’ would be ideal as I hope to bring you a little feel for what it's like when one is away from home for so long (doing what I love to do admittedly) whilst also bringing you a flavour of some of the places that we get to visit on a world tour.
So, we left the UK last Wednesday on a pretty long flight (ten and half hours or so) for Seoul in South Korea to begin Il Divo's 'A Musical Affair' World Tour.... we'll be pretty much on the road now until mid November. After a day to get acclimatised and check that all of our gear had arrived and was in good order it was straight into two back to back shows in Seoul and Kwang Ju, both very large mutipurpose venues for sports and music (the Jamsil Indoor Gymnasium was one of the venues built for the Seoul Olympics). The audiences were clearly delighted to be at the first two gigs of the tour and the 'Korean Divas', as they are known, were out in force - it was a great way to kick off the tour. All too soon and we were on another flight to Japan where we'll spend the next sixteen days or so and, I must say, we were looked after fabulously by the lovely people at Japanese Airlines - very relaxed, extremely efficient and totally charming. It has to be said that of all the places that I've been to, Japan is possibly my favourite country in the world. I love everything about it, particularly its uber contemporary feel (especially in the cities..... we are currently in Tokyo), and its unflinching attitude to tradition and respect. As many of you know, I'm a boy from the valleys of South Wales and when I was growing up the latter was certainly true of life then.... tradition and respect and if you ever forgot them there was always a Nana to remind you. It does make me a little sad that perhaps some of these values have been lost now at home but, there is no doubt, they are alive and well here in Japan.
The food, as you can imagine, is both exciting and wonderful and as I like my fish in all its glorious forms then I could not be in a better place. Trust me, when a slice of a knife from different angles makes a simple fish taste this good then what's not to like? Work here is also so easy - nothing is too much trouble and any problem you may have will have already been anticipated before your arrival and there will be a number of options or solutions in place already. I have the most wonderful group of young and enthusiastic musicians in my orchestra here who all speak competent English and are just a joy to be able to count on as colleagues. They come prepared to work hard and take on my rehearsal advice with a relish that belies their apparent lack of years - it is so refreshing that one can't help but be energised by it. We are here, as I said, in Tokyo now and we have a couple of shows at the iconic venue that is the Budokan before we head to Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima and Kanazawa before returning to Tokyo again at the end of this leg to give two more shows at the same venue..... this time, though, we will be recording for a TV special so no pressure there!!!
Those of you who have joined me for blogs before will know that I like to put out a little of what I'm reading, listening to etc at the moment so to keep that 'tradition' alive...
What am I watching? Well, downloaded to my iPad I have the second series of Breaking Bad. Wow, what a show!
What am I reading? Mainly guide books and local travel stuff for each of the countries as we get to them.
What am I listening to? The amazing voice and talent that is Mr Gregory Porter.... also because I know my lovely lady will be doing likewise.... x
What do I miss most? No contest...... Team Chalk!!!!
PS don't forget to post a comment. Good or bad it all helps to keep me in contact and plant my feet firmly on the ground where they should always be!