Al Jarreau’s Diary from SE Asia 2008 Tour with George Benson

Hi everybody,

I haven’t made a diary entry in a very long time. I don’t like that…but, I got swamped and so busy that I had to let go of some stuff. Still, somehow I’ve got to check in with you at least intermittently, even if briefly and update you. Losing touch for so long is not okay. So, I apologize and will really try to talk to you more.

I’ll save the general catch up highlights for another time. Right now, I must mention that George Benson and I just closed out a seven city asia tour. Seoul, Beijing, shanghai, manila, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and last night our closer in Jakarta. It was wonderful!

This tour was a continuation of the world tour which began just after the release of our ‘givin it up’ record. I owe a really special thanks to all of the promoters who invited us. There’s no sure thing in the concert biz these days and so promoters are always a little nervous, especially international places where you’ve never been. Thanks guys!

Here’s another special thank you to Eric John and wife, the American ambassador of Thailand, who had a beautiful reception for us at their home. That’s wonderfully thoughtful U.S. officialdom… they even met us at the airport.

Going to Asia is so rare and wonderful that it’s always a little frustrating that there isn’t time for sightseeing and ‘getting the feel’.

We arrived in Beijing between the close of the 2008 Olympic games, and the start of the Paralympics. The air was just buzzing with the energy of the games, and when I mentioned ‘congrats’ on what great hosts they were and the china medal count – they erupted.

Shanghai was buzzing and banging and klanging with all of the new building going on. It’s eye-popping, jaw dropping the amount of new construction. Canyons of glass and steel, and new bridges of the most wonderful modern design.

By the way, there was a terrific 2 page Time Magazine Asia article, with Sarah Palin on the cover. Thank you time magazine, I’m so flattered. Thanks Fiona for all of you hard work.

And of course BIG HUGS and KNUCKLE BUMPIN to our fantastic band and crew. Also, to our tour manager Anna, and our management rep Joe Gordon. This was a band made up of some of George Benson’s band, and some members of our band. Larry Williams, Joe Turano (my musical director), David Garfield (George’s musical director), Mike O’Neill (has been with GB for 20+ years), Stanley Banks (of the ‘Breezin’ record), Thom Hall, and Mark Simmons playing drums during Both sets.

Thank you band, You were fantastic! Standing ovations, and encores all over the place.


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