Bordeaux, France – 2015

Bordeaux, France – 2015

Some of the best red wines in the world come from the vineyards in Bordeaux. And my guess is that only the French know that it’s way down south near the border to Spain. I was surprised to realize how long it’s been since I played a concert here- I say the name so often because of the concerts that we continue to do in the nearby region (Toulouse, Marseilles, etc.).

When we walked into the concert venue, I immediately smiled and chuckled and said, “Oh yea, baby!” It was a room that was basically a box with a top on it. No seats, shoulder-to-shoulder, belly-to-belly, with the first row pressed right against the front of the stage. It’s on! And so it was.

They screamed when the band walked to stage before me. Intimate? There was a boy down in front seven feet away from me with fingers laced through the barricade like a kid on the playground. And a woman to my right 20 feet away who bounced up and down with every punctuation and drum lick. I tried to hear what she was shouting to me between songs but couldn’t and still I knew what she was saying. All across the first 8 rows of standing people I was so very aware that they were singing the lyric right along with me. WOW! For me it does not get better than this.

And so…the situation got some of the best innuendos and nuances out of the band and me. We put together a program for this summer that has some new songs and new approaches to old songs. All of that came together beautifully there in Bordeaux making the band and me feel like we’re right on target. Philippe Saisse would have cracked up hearing his song “Says” with French lyrics just pop and spark so wonderfully here last night. I try to keep from mentioning new music that we do. In these situations the planned out solos on horn or guitar or flute or drums from Joe and John and Larry and Mark are well appreciated beyond the norm taking things to a new and overall level. There was lots of stuff like that all night long with interactions between the guys on stage and me that we sparked and fueled and caused by the audience’s reactions. I really have to study the show tape and make some asterisks.

Enough Ooohing and Ahhing…

I had some guests after the show who are really important to me. Sassoune was a brilliant jai alai player who came to his first Al Jarreau concert in Biarritz (Basque country, Bilbao moon). I even wore a beret on stage that Sassoune gave me. His wife is from Milwaukee and so they brought me cookies and sweets that she baked for their local restaurant called the Milwaukee Café. Amazing!

Also backstage, with her daughter, Maxime, was the cutest red cheeked Dutch delight that Holland has to offer. Monique is her name. She could be on a postcard in front of a windmill with a traditional apron and dress wearing wooden shoes. She had come to Bordeaux to look for an apartment for her 21-year-old daughter who’ll be a student at a nearby university. Amazing. I first met Monique long ago, when she was a student backstage screaming and giggling and loosing track of her ride back to her apartment. She jumped on the touring bus with me and the guys and we took her back to her place. How wonderfully similar the circumstances are. She brought her young daughter to hear me and sure enough they missed their train so we gave them a ride once again. What a scream! We laughed so hard about that.

Well anyway, we’ll head on into the summer tour with another date at the Olympia in Paris all hopeful and excited about the idea that there are people who still want to hear what we have to say. Thank you, Father!

See you in Paris.



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