Amazingly, this is the end of the MOR tour diary. I’ve loved being out on the road, I’m totally honoured to have spent so much time with such great people and I’m currently sitting on a train from Dover to London, absolutely exhausted but happy beyond belief. I can’t wait til I can bring you another one of these – watch this space! – but until then, thank you so much for sharing the journey with us. It’s been beautifully, magically wonderful, and if you’ve seen a show you’ll know exactly what I mean.
This is it for the MOR tour diary, but for all of you who’ve asked what touring life is like, I couldn’t quite resist writing a little something on it. From no showers for days on end to the sheer wonder of meeting so many incredible people every day, head over here.
See you next time!
How on earth has it come to the end already?! It feels like we’re just getting started. We’re finishing off the tour at the 16,000 capacity stadium in Vienna with Queens of the Stone Age, so at least we’re finishing it in style, but I’d give anything for it not to be over. Before the tour I was so looking forward to exploring Vienna, but today I’ve been feeling far too sad at the prospect of the end to do anything except mooch around the venue – how fun is that! I think the tiredness has started to kick in rather now, and now that’s mixed with end-of-tour blues, it’s a potent combination! The venue’s amazing. It’s a wonderful stadium, and it’s fascinating to be able to watch QOTSA setting up for a full set. The sheer amount of work and equipment that goes into a show is amazing, and the atmosphere beforehand is pretty damn cool too.
We had an hour long set, and I feel absolutely no shame admitting that I had a tear in my eye by the end of it. They absolutely smashed it, and it was such a proud moment to see such an enormous crowd lapping up every second of it. Chris was absolutely on fire, and every song was utter perfection. The band were in their element, jamming away and making every note count. I watched the show from side of stage, and it’s going to go down as one of the happiest moments of the tour yet. I don’t know if there’s anything that could’ve made the last show a better one to finish on.
It’s our last headline show, and I honestly can’t believe how quickly it’s gone. It seems like only yesterday I was on my way to get the bus in London, absolutely terrified about the tour, how I’d get on with the band and what it would be like to spend a month on a tour bus in Europe. Already we’re coming to the end, and it’s really quite heartbreaking. I feel like I’ve totally settled into a routine and I could carry on for months on end, and the bus seems like home. So much has happened, and I’m taking so many amazing memories home, so today is rather tinged with sadness!
The show was absolutely perfect in every way. All the stops were pulled out, the band jammed like there was no tomorrow and I was totally blown away at how lucky I’ve been to be able to see them night after night, never putting on the same show twice and see such musical genius in action. The club crew were some of the best I’ve ever worked with, and happily I yet again got to watch the show. It was the perfect show to end the headline run on, and I’m not going to forget it in a hurry. Onto Vienna, the last show with QOTSA and the last show of the tour…
Well, yet another day off… This time we had the utter pleasure of spending the day and night in Munich before the show tomorrow. It’s such a wonderful city! It’s going on my list of ‘places I’ve got to do touristy things in’. Top of things to do in Munich – watch the amazing bells as they strike on the hour, every hour. We tried to see them three times, and failed abysmally on all counts. We first went at 6, and ended up totally missing them because somebody (mentioning no names. It was the drummer…) stopped to take a recording of a busker in an alleyway. We tried again after some brilliant food and the ______ to catch them at 10, but got there and got told they weren’t in action at 10, just 11. So, we carried on faithfully drinking and waited til 11, only to find out they meant 11 in the morning…utter failure.
Still, the day was magical. It’s a stunning city, full of promise and hope, and after a 12 hour drinking session the place only seems better. It was the most amazing day, one of those totally unexpected pleasures – the thought of Germany had never really appealed to me before now – and when I rolled back to the bus at gone 6 the next morning (oops) everything was right with the world.
I was so excited about going to Luxembourg. The sheer fact that it’s so tiny has always appealed to me, and I’ve always been fascinated at the thought of the place. Sadly, going to Rock-A-Field festival didn’t actually show me any of the country – we drove in, played the show and drove out again…
I must admit, I’ve got a slight case of festival fatigue now. We were playing on the day with the much lighter bands – QOTSA, Volbeat and loads more were playing on the day after, but we were playing alongside people like Seed and The Script – a rather odd combination! Still, the show was busy, great fun and rather sad for me – even though I’m not getting excited about festivals as I was at the beginning of the tour, it’s a sobering thought to think it’s our last. I don’t want to go home!
Show day in Belgium. Leffinge’s another village where it looks like nobody lives. There’s a church nobody goes into, one shop selling drinks, notebooks and pens that looked 30 years old and lots of wool, and that’s pretty much all I found. The venue, however, was absolutely incredible – clean, big, and with a stunning stage – such an odd find in the middle of nowhere!
The village has got a population of 2000, and it seemed like a very fair proportion of these had come to the show. Fans enthused about how good it was to have the Masters there, people had driven from miles around and the show was another level. I shot MOR for the first time this tour – quite a shocking realisation – and it felt fantastic to be back behind the camera shooting a band I’ve grown to love so much. They played “The Eyes of Texas” for the first time in 20 years, and the show was magical from start to finish. Words can’t describe just how good it is to see them every night. Tonight also marked the night I made the move
from music journo to crew in my mind – I got more excited about being given an enormous roll of duct tape than I did about somebody thanking me for this tour diary… (Although to be fair, I’m so unbelievably made up that somebody would come up to me and thank me for it. But duct tape is very useful.)
The night finished off with the most bizarre encounter with some very, very drunk Belgian guy who kept telling us that the show was great, but that Goss needed to add more death metal vocals in there… I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard at an impression in my life – utter genius. We also found the most amazing windmill, and went exploring – it’s been there for absolutely centuries, and it’s just in the middle of the village, surrounded by houses – totally beautiful place to be at night. Yet another perfect day.
Another day, another city, another day off. It’s getting to that stage in the tour where having an actual day to do nothing at all is beyond heavenly. It’s a chance to rest, recharge the batteries and spend some time together that’s not pre-show, during show or post-show, and it’s absolutely invaluable.
We spent the day in a fantastic coastal town in Belgium (it’s got to that stage where I honestly don’t know where we were. The venue was in Leffinge, but we spent the day somewhere else…) and we just did nothing. We took a stroll up the beach front that lasted hours, enjoyed the ultimate in tacky and kitsch shops, and finished the day with the most delicious meal in a restaurant specialising in fish dishes. We had wine, the most delicious fish on earth and finished it off with possibly the biggest ice cream, cream and chocolate sauce dishes I’ve ever seen. Utter heaven. Heading back to the bus to watch films afterwards we felt so, so much better – it’s incredible to realise just how much good a day off once in a while does!
After the beautiful surroundings of the Bad Bonn, getting into Zurich city centre was a bit of a disappointment. Still, finding a shopping centre that sold literally everything you could ever want made up for that – I came away with a ‘hatching dinosaur egg’ for my little sister – seriously, who could want a better pressie than that?
The venue was a bit special – velvet curtains, spotlit tables and everything else you’d expect when you walked into what used to be a strip club. The show was another amazing one- Safi put on a fantastic set and we also had The Shit supporting – a cracking rock band, and one to check out whenever you get the chance. I got to watch the MOR guys from the back of the venue – always one of my favourite things to do. Even this far into the tour, I’m not getting bored of the songs, and each night’s as fresh and exciting as the last. I’m getting genuinely upset that the tour’s coming to a close – each night seems to be absolutely racing by, and I don’t want it to end!
Time to actually play the Bad Bonn… before the gig we had hours to kill, and one of the huge attractions of the place is the most stunning lake literally a 2 minute walk from the venue – hello Alpine swimming! I’ve got to that stage of the tour when a dip in a lake feels just as much, if not more cleansing and good than showering, so I reckoned that swimming somewhere like that negated the need to shower. Again. The lake was fantastic – warm, totally deserted and utterly still.
After a rather delightful afternoon and a venue-provided 3 course meal (utterly delicious) it was time to see if people actually turned up. When you’re playing a gig in the middle of nowhere like this, it either turns into an utter disaster with the farmer, the farmer’s wife and a couple of village idiots standing around watching, or people pile in from far and wide and you end up with half the population of the surrounding areas crammed into a small space, rocking out and drinking like there’s no tomorrow. Tonight’s gig was happily the latter. You could barely move in the place, and we even had a couple of mosh pits going at the front. It was a pretty damn wonderful night, made even better when the last person had faded into the distance and we were surrounded by nothing but trees and utter silence – a truly stunning place to be.
Another travel day… Happily, because we’d left the festival at a decent time ewe got to Switzerland very early, with plenty of time to enjoy the day. We were parked up at the Bad Bonn venue (if you ever get the chance, go there) and they’d given us food, drinks and left us at the venue for the evening. The venue had a BBQ – actual heaven. Even though the place is in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by industrial estates we found a Lidl, stocked up on as much meat as we could carry and spent the night drinking, watching the stars and eating meat. Days off remind you just how good it can be to be out on the road, and even when you’re surrounded by pretty much nothing, they can still turn into some fantastic memories. It’s incredible how great the people are in places like this too – I went out for a walk and met the lovliest woman who was coming to the gig the next night, who gave me a pot of homemade elderflower jam- amazing!
Today kind of turned into a ‘I don’t want to be at another festival with no bands I want to see and nothing going on’ day. Our set was at 12:40 and we weren’t leaving til 9, so we had HOURS to kill. The set was fantastic – it started raining at the perfect point in the middle, and the sun came out and illuminated the audience at the end – picture perfect!
Instead of hanging around doing nothing afterwards, a walk was in order. Thank fully it was gorgeous – you know when you’ve longed for rain for weeks, it’s such a joy to see a storm move across the most stunning sky, when a beautiful rainbow brightens up the day, it’s so peaceful that nothing, (excluding maybe no German rap) could’ve been a more unexpected change from made-in-Europe festivals, and with it the hour long ‘make me better’ shower that I took to wash my hair properly, I’m considering it a very successful day.
Well, today was totally surreal. With a sold out crowd of 10,000 supporting QOTSA again at the most AMAZING venue – the Citadel in Berlin – the day was MAD. It seemed like we’d just arrived, loaded in and set up, and the people started arriving. Right from the word go it was packed, with heaving masses of people everywhere.
There was a massive crowd there for the MOR set, and happily for me our merch stall gave me a great view of the gig – it was just amazing!! So so wonderful to see them performing to such an audience, and the number of people streaming to buy things afterwards and waxing lyrical about just how good the band were gave testament to how great a show it was.
Oddly, the first support for the night were The Virginmarys, a wonderful rock band who hail from literally half an hour away from my house- it’s a small world!
Southside Festival was a biggie for me. My wonderful friend Zippy was there, and I could not WAIT to see her! We had a gorgeous slow-motion embrace in front of a manoeuvring tour bus – he wasn’t too pleased, but it was worth it. I think it’s safe to say we all hugely enjoyed Southside. There were Jager girls giving it out free, and with our (fantastic, let’s be honest) set early in the day, we had the whole day off afterwards to eat (European catering, how we love you), drink (lots. And lots. And lots.) and be merry. Which we were – very!
Our day finished off standing side of stage and watching QOTSA pull out an utterly blinding performance in front of an enormous festival crowd. It was such a beautiful moment – I had one of those ‘I honestly can’t believe I’m here, doing this, with such incredible people’ moments, and I’m going to bed feeling stupidly lucky to be here, so content with life and so, so happy.
Today started as a disaster, and ended up being possibly the best day ever. Thanks to an enormous traffic jam out of Paris last night, our drivers ran out of legally driveable hours and we had to stop somewhere for a minimum of 11 hours. Totally in the middle of nowhere, we pulled into Frieburg football stadium. Instead of telling us ‘Health and Safety wouldn’t allow it, sorry” and telling us to f*** off as any English club would probably have done, they told us where to park our bus, let us plug in so we had power, gave us free wifi access and when the sun came out, brought us tables and chairs to set up outside the bus. The kindness of strangers totally made our entire day into the most relaxed, happy and memorable day we’ve had all tour. We went swimming in the river, (Well. I intended to go paddling, fell over and then decided to call it swimming.) we walked, and we found the most AMAZING restaurant. It was some kind of a sports club – they had an athletics track, high jump, tennis courts, everything – and when we walked into the room, there wasn’t a single person under the age of 60 and not playing cards. Instead of kicking out the (maybe a little scruffy) band who’d just piled in from nowhere, they looked after us, made us feel so so welcome and gave us some rather incredible food. Schnitzel – it’s gorgeous.
Not content with just one meal there, we decided to make the most of a day off in such an amazing place, and everybody headed back for a ‘wine and steak’ night. It was literally the perfect day – I’ve text about 37 people tonight saying “Nothing could be better than this. I love tour!” and I’m going to treasure the day as such a precious memory.
What a difference a few days makes. We were literally on the exact same ferry heading back to France in the early house of this morning (The Pride of Canterbury, for all those who were wondering), the sun was coming up over the sea, the sky was casting stunning shadows over the ocean and all was at peace with the world. We had a new bus to play with, and we were on our way to our first gig with Queens of the Stone Age. After a delightful afternoon parked at a museum with wifi (that utter tour staple) we headed to the Trianon – what a gorgeous venue! Massive ceilings, the sights and sounds of Paris through the window and, most importantly, warm showers. (The Cathouse in Glasgow – literally freezing showers. Running in, screaming, running out kind of showers.)
It was odd to be the support for the first time on this tour, and it was a bit of a change to be playing such a shorter set while not at a festival, but their music translates so well to the QOTSA fans that the night felt great. It’s been absolutely fascinating for me to be able to see MOR and QOTSA play together and hear both bands in the same evening – the influences there are so obvious, and there are so many throwbacks in the music to that signature style that it’s a lesson in how music changes and develops in every song.
London baby! I was not in the best mood today. I wasn’t in a bad mood, just a little irritable. I nearly punched the guy at the venue who patted me on the back and called me ‘dear’ when I was trying to carry something, but I’m pretty sure he realised as he brought me a massive bag of Haribo. Legend of a man. Every cloud and all that. Still, London soon worked its magic and as people piled through the door, including some very dear faces, my mood lifted! We had two supports tonight – The Mighty Stef and Safi again. Both put on a great show, and by the time they’d finished the place was well ready for MOR.
There’s something very magical about London for me. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve grown up with it as ‘the big city’, but it’s got an indefinable quality that makes everything look better, sound better and feel better. The show was incredible, and for a last night in the UK it couldn’t have been better. I think I’m tireder than I thought though – I hugged the girl in GBK when I went to pick up my food. Like, a proper full on hug. She was a bit surprised…
London also finished with possibly the greatest excitement of the tour so far- a new bus! It’s a double decker not a single, and we’ve actually got space to move around, store stuff and sit when we’re not asleep – pure heaven. I frigging LOVE tour buses.
Glasgow. Where to start?! I got a taxi to pick up our laundry, and literally didn’t understand anything the driver said. From what I could make out, he was talking about eggs and the X Factor?! I thought I’d be ok just nodding and agreeing, but I managed to really rather offend him and just kept saying “But it was in the NEWS!” No clue…
When I was setting up merch for the night, I asked if they had another table I could borrow, as we have a LOT of awesome stuff (Shameless merch plug..) and I got the reply “Ach no, they’re all bolted down so they’re not used as weapons.” Looking forward to the gig… My lovely friend Amber came down for the night, so already I was made up, and watching the band pay the sweatiest, dirtiest, most gritty rock show I’ve seen them play yet was pure magic. The venue was completely buzzing – a mixture of music, sweat and an undercurrent of anger made it all so damn good. This tour just kicked up a notch.
What a difference a day can make! Beautiful sunshine and DOWNLOAD BABY!! Download feels like my home turf. I know everybody there, and it felt like coming home. I’d taken over the press side of things for the day, and I was in my absolute element! Possibly one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had was being able to stand side of stage watching MOR playing to the biggest audience all tour at one of my favourite places in all the world. It’s one of those ‘money can’t buy and unless you’re really incredibly lucky you won’t be able to blag your way into it either’ experiences. I’m feeling so, so unbelievably happy to be on this tour, and the day finished with another job offer – what could be better!
My love of ferries has slightly diminished today. I made the (very bloody stupid) decision not to sleep before we got on the ferry, and after a 40 minute wrangle with the border people about the Americans, none of us were in the best moods. Watching the sun come up as we crossed made it marginally bearable, but the subsequent waking up only a few hours later, parked in a service station carpark on a bus with no power for 24 hours knowing that Download Festival was going on just down the road brought it right back down.
I can safely say there’s nothing to do in service stations except eat, and spend craploads of money. I managed to hit WH Smiths, Waitrose, Starbucks, Burger King AND Papa John’s all in one day. I don’t think I’m very proud of myself.
Pinkpop festival!! The joy of playing festivals hasn’t quite worn off yet, and Pinkpop is one hell of a festival! Everything worked so smoothly, and apart from us spending 20 minutes looking for the trailer keys without realising local crew had already unloaded our trailer and we didn’t need them, the day was fantastic. Masters had an amazing set with a great crowd, then I was one of the privileged few who watched Queens of the Stone Age play a 3 song acoustic set in a tiny container. It was my first experience of QOTSA live, and they just blew me away. Masters took to the same acoustic stage later, and again – just amazing. 3 songs, with an audience so so different from the normal – mainly teenage girls, all clapping along to everything and raising the roof with cheers afterwards. Such a good idea to do, and such an amazing vibe there.
The day just got stranger and more surreal for me the more it carried on. We spent the night in our dressing room, but the number of people who walked in! Chris has, obviously, done so much work with the QOTSA guys, and although I think I’m just about managing to play it vaguely cool, there’s something that turns me into a startled rabbit in headlights when Josh Homme just saunters into your dressing room, grabs a drink and introduces himself. Madness!
First day off today! And I spent it…emailing mainly. I did have a wander around Amsterdam, get proper touristy and bought windmills, tulips and possibly the most gorgeous dress known to mankind. Now to find somewhere to wear it…
Today probably goes down as really rather a bad one. We got to Amsterdam 6 hours before we could check into our hotel, our bus broke down and had to be sent off for repair and we had to sit in a dressing room waiting, just waiting to be able to do something. We had a bit of an explore, but when you’re tired, hungry and you don’t know if you’re going to have a bus at the end of the day, it doesn’t put you in the best of moods!
Strange, though, how a day like that can translate into the best gig of the tour. With a packed out Bitterzoet venue, a sold out show full of fans who absolutely adored the band and people knocking on the door every 5 minutes to see whether there were any spare tickets, the atmosphere was absolutely immense. There weren’t any support bands on, and the band played an absolute blinder. Everybody poured out of the venue hot, sweaty and absolutely raving about the night they’d had, and the band signed countless CDs, Tshirts and arms and legs. Worst day so far/best gig so far. Madness, but there you have it!
Today didn’t get off to the best of starts. A wagon drove past our bus and smashed its wing mirror off. Our wing mirror then flew into the car in front, knocking its wing mirror off. The police got involved, we had to attempt to fix it before being able to move the bus, and that’s not easy to do in the middle of Cologne when you don’t have a clue what’s around. Happily our driver’s now managed to do something to it, so at least we can move. My day got better with the arrival of my auntie for a visit – one of the great things about being on tour is being able to see friends and family in other countries. I’m writing this as the band are finishing their set, and sadly the merch stand is outside the main room so I can’t see the action, but on a mad dash to the loo in the middle, I saw a busy room, the guys looking great onstage and I keep hearing massive cheers from the audience. At least the crappy start to the day preceded a great show – so much better than the other way around. And Chris had some fun with a moose. What more do you need?
However, I learnt that Blu-Tack doesn’t exist in Germany. For a supposedly efficient country, I’m shocked and appalled. Their “pritt-buddies” or whatever the hell it’s called just doesn’t do the job. Poor form Germany, poor form.
Today was a day where the glamorous life of being on the road started to kick in. I woke up covered in mosquito bites (I’ve got matching ones on my knees. Attractive or what.), I realised I hadn’t showered for two days and it was beginning to show, and I’ve kept my sunglasses on for days and now have massive white patches around my eyes and a tanned face. Oh the glamour… At least we had a relatively chilled day to look forward to. We pulled into Cologne with literally 2 minutes to spare on the driver’s allocated hours for the day, and had a few hours to kill before we played a very small, intimate few tracks at the merchandise store in Cologne who’ve done all our rather stunning merch. I’d love to say that I leapt out of the bus, full of the joys and did touristy things, but instead I caught up with emails. Rock n roll or WHAT.
The instore session was fantastic though; the Lo-Fi store has got some great stuff – check them out here. It’s a shameless plug I know, but they’re seriously great. We had a good crowd, and everybody absolutely loved it. They’d even brought the most amazing cake for David’s birthday, so all in all, bites notwithstanding, it was a relatively relaxed, really rather lovely day.
After a marginally late one for me last night, I woke up feeling not-so-full of the joys as normal. There may have been alcohol concerned…
It’s a great club venue, and it’s just opposite some Vietnamese eating place – I have absolutely no idea what I had for tea (I think it had salmon and steak?), but it was absolutely gorgeous. I also discovered something very interesting today – having been trying to learn how to use chopsticks for YEARS with no success, it turned out that all that was needed was to have delicious looking food delivered with chopsticks, and no forks anywhere – I’m now an expert. Necessity being the mother of invention, etc etc… Also, for those of you who know my utter obsession with tea (and if you don’t, you soon will), you’ll be very pleased to hear that Chris found me an Early Grey teabag – literally amazing.
Even with the sun shining outside, people poured in to see Masters of Reality. Germans Safi started the night off for us. A female fronted band mixing some amazing vocals with a great band behind them, they were a great opener for the night. They’re supporting us for 8 of the shows we’re doing this tour, so expect more about them soon.
As I write this, MOR are coming to the end of their first ever show in Denmark. It’s been absolutely bloody BRILLIANT. A couple of songs in Chris announced they’d be “doing a jam because it’s an intimate show”, and we were treated to the most intimate jam session I think I’ve ever seen. He brought Leamy up from drums onto the acoustic guitar with him, the guys played around with the music, brought the audience into it and generally amazed everybody. I’ve never been at a gig with a more intimate, close-together feel, and the positive comments that poured in from the audience after showed that too! I feel so unbelievably privileged to have been a part of it, and this tour is going to be FANTASTIC.
As first shows go, Sweden Rock was pretty damn cool. It was only an hour long set and the band opened up the second stage, but they had a decent sized crowd there, a good proportion of those singing along to every word and some great feedback after the show. Now, I promise that I’m going to try and make sure that this doesn’t turn into a “what we ate today” diary, but the catering at Sweden Rock just HAS to be mentioned – an absolutely 3 course meal, complete with as much beer as you could drink. (I managed one bottle of cider. Pathetic.) The band hit the hotel pretty early to try and catch some sleep, as they were all still on LA time, but I was pretty damn happy to have to stay til the end to pick up our merch – what a wonderful excuse to watch Rush! Oh, it’s a tough life…
Hello, and welcome to the very first Masters of Reality tour diary. I’m Felicity, and I’m on tour with MOR selling their merch, writing their tour diary and generally attempting to make myself useful. Our story starts in London, and if I’m honest, as we spent the first 32 hours on a coach, there isn’t much to report from them. However, we did go on the ferry from England-France and from Germany – Denmark. As I’d never been on a ferry before, this was the height of excitement for me, and I drove the rest of the crew crazy insisting we staying outside in freezing conditions. Still, they humoured me, and I’m sure they enjoyed it really…
The fun started when we got to Denmark and met up with the band. I’d never met any of them before, and the prospect of spending a month on a tour bus with a band I’d never met was, quite frankly, terrifying. But, (as I’m sure you’re all aware), they’re a fantastic group of guys, and we were all chatting away in no time. We had a rehearsal studio booked in Denmark, and the plan for the day was to rehearse, grab some food and get an early(ish) night in readiness for the first show in Sweden. First marginal disaster – the studio keycode didn’t work. Picture the scene: you pull your tour bus up outside what basically looks like punk squats. There’s some (possibly evil) Danish guys lying on the lawn outside, and we’re basically in the middle of the docks, attempting to get into this building. After half an hour we finally got in touch with the studio guys, and they gave us a (totally different) code. Then the fun began… Walking up to the studio was proper horror movie stylies – up loads of flights of dark, smelly and questionably stained stairs, down a long, completely black corridor and to a small door at the end. Happily, we weren’t greeted with any ghosts, dead bodies or bloodstained walls, and we got started on the rehearsing. 12 hours later, and everything was perfect – the band were rehearsed, the Danish guys turned out to be in a band themselves and shared their beer with us, and we were pretty much ready for Sweden.