At the halfway pont.
We are now past the halfway point of the tour and have made it to Shanghai where we have a bit of time to recharge and reflect on the carnage of the past ten days. This leg of the tour has been more intense with more traveling, less sleep, covering numerous cities and gigs all whilst honoring Eric's Lonely Planet guide itinerary!
From Lijiang we arrived in Chengdu where we had the evening to check out the venue which was part of an old converted weapons factory and try some of the local food which nearly blew our faces off as Chengdu is famous for its spicy food.
The next morning we were up early to get to the Chengdu Panda Research Center which is one of the countries biggest panda conservation projects. We arrived just before feeding time time so managed to see an array of pandas up close feasting on piles of bamboo.
It was then back to the city where we were playing at Mini Live that evening. This was the 'grungiest' venue we had played so far. The new rockier material went down a storm and it felt good to run it through the huge PA at Mini Live. After a few drinks it was back to the hotel where we grabbed a few hours sleep before we were back in the cab at 4am to catch our flight to Guangzhou.
For the next couple of days it was hotels/soundchecks/gigs with no time for much else. Despite the sleep deprivation it didn't feel like the performances suffered and it felt like we were playing some of the best gigs we have done. We have been working on a lot of new material in the lead up to this tour so things are getting much more familiar now and more artistic liberties are being taken.
Another gig done we are back in the taxi at 6am this time for a train to Shenzhen. All of these cities we had never heard of before visiting them and they are all as big if not bigger than London. The scale of this country is truly mind blowing.
Once we found our hotel we were off to the venue for soundcheck. We were playing at T Union in the center of town. It once again had great gear and a big stage but was also a cafe and a music shop at the same time so it felt like a bit more relaxed to play in this setting. Asaf Sirkis's trio were playing at another venue so we went over after our gig to hang out with them before heading back to our hotel.
Another early start to catch our flight to Shanghai. By this time we were so tired we gave in and had our first Starbucks of the trip and made it to Shanghai for our afternoon masterclass at the conservatoire. We then headed to the JZ Club where we played that evening. The room had a great sound and a real 'club' atmosphere. They packed the audience in and they were with us from the moment we played our first note.
After our first lie in in what felt like an eternity we met up with Kevin Glasgow and Tassos Spiliotopoulos from Asaf's band and explored some of Shanghai. We have a few days off and then we are into our last leg of the tour and looking forward to what we have in store.