Gainesville - first gig and old friends
Woke up in Gainesville after having slept well - its a nice town, but principally, its pretty much a giant campus for the University of Florida, even our hotel, a regular Holiday Inn, is called the University Hotel. Although its autumn (or fall as they call it in the US) the temperature is a pleasant 27/27 degrees - but you'll need a sweater in the evening.
Here we are on our way to the pre show ukulele workshop. The band have put up a few carols on the UOGB website and these have been integrated into the show and we will invite uke players in the audience to play along with us. If the truth be told, its a bit weird, playing Christmas carols in the humid heat of Florida at the beginning of December with no sign of Christmas in the shops, no lights or bunting etc. But its a good connection with our fans who are very loyal. We also did a Q&A prior to the show.
For some reason, Doug, our sound engineer (far back, black t shirt) sat in on the workshop, and looking at this photo, he may have missed his vocation as a stern Scottish preacher/patriarch, keeping a wary eye over his flock!
On the way to the gig and MORE backs of heads! Probably the best bit of UOGB merchandise EVER, are these canvas bags, which we were given when we toured Japan in 2004. They are absolutely indestructable and will carry as much as a suitcase - perfect for travelling.
Here's some Spanish moss which grows in the trees here and has always fascinated me, as I've only ever seen it in movies and it only really grows in the south of the US.
Dominating the huge University Campus is the Century Tower, which is next to the venue. The last time we played here we were given Gator pins (Badges) its the name of the college football team who are quite good. This time we were all given Century tower lapel pins, which are elegant and cool, I'm going to wear mine till the end of the tour.
Vaulting in the university auditorium
Finally here are Ricky and Ruby Upton with their cousin. They have been long time friends of the UOGB and made the two day drive from New Orleans to Gainesville to see us, bringing fantastic presents - beautifully carved wooden long hands perfect for scratching backs. Thank you Ricky! Thank you Ruby - there is never enough time!