Buildings centuries upon centuries old, ancient historical sites, gray skies as imagined, labyrinthine streets, soul-soothing hot tea, odd cuisine, thickset accents, drizzling rain and meat in their pies. I just got back from a week and a half trip with Kelby and the band in the U.K. and here is my not-so-brief recap…this shall serve as my journal as well, otherwise I may forget something I may never do again.
(For those of you looking for pictures/videos and a short description of my trip it went something like this; climb out of my bunk, figure out what day it is and what city I was in, find breakfast, drink hot tea to warm my hands, walk the streets of the city, maybe shop a little or find something old to see, snap pictures, Kelby goes to sound check, I nap, dig through my suitcase, find the hotel or the green room shower, get dinner, get ready, pre-show cocktail or two on the bus while listening to music to amp up the guys before the show, be lead through 45 doors and 7 staircases, down 4 hallways to the stage, watch the guys rock the very attentive faces of 1000’s of U.K. fans in historic theaters and music venues, feel the energy of the shows, be very impressed by all I witnessed, after show drinks or pizza and wake up and do it all over again the next day.) You may now proceed to skip the details and watch videos and scroll my pics if you so wish… *throat clear* Dad. Ha!
In reference to the very attentive crowds, Kelby compared it to, “playing in a coffee house that holds 1000+ people”. The crowds sang every word to every song at every show. Hanging on the last verse, then between songs, the fans stood quietly waiting for the next power-driven riff. The fans were there for the music and the voltaic showmanship of the band. I was proud of Kelby and all of his and the band’s hard work, excited to see the guys and crew play to crowds they so much deserve. To be a part of this was, for lack of better words…pretty badass.
Here’s the lengthier version of my trip to the U.K. on the first leg of the Don’t Forget the Whiskey Tour for you word readers out there.
Why the title you ask? Well for starters we left 80 degree weather here in Nashville for cold and rainy days and nights in England and Scotland. The “mysterious” part…well that’s a reference to finding a bathroom across the pond. The British call restrooms plain old toilets and to find your way to any of them they are down a hall, through a door, through another door, maybe down some steps, or perhaps up some steps and probably through another door. We searched for heat, breakfast, a good shower, wifi, and toilets on most of the trip, but I’m not saying my trip was at all lackluster, I had a fabulous time and I feel endlessly grateful and lucky to get to take such trips with amazing people and my favorite person in the world. To experience parts of the world that I never thought I would see with my own two eyes, I feel very fortunate.
Day 1; after checking approximately 25 bags at BNA we headed to Atlanta for our connecting flight to London, 7 hours later we arrived in the gray cold city of London. It was 8:30 am, the bus picked us up at the airport, we loaded up and headed to a parking garage under the streets of London to sleep before heading to Manchester that night. Kelby and I napped that afternoon and evening in London then woke up to walk around and find dinner. London reminded me of an older version of New York City and San Francisco riddled with winding streets and rain puddles. In London they are kind enough to paint which way to look, “Look Right” or “Look Left” at the crosswalks for those of us who would otherwise look the wrong way and become roadkill. I held tight to Kelby’s hand on this trip, as I do most of our trips…he reads the maps, leads the way and is basically my personal tour guide who deals quite well with my traveling anxiety.
Day 2, Manchester, England. We woke up to the sun shining which was a pleasant surprise. Every morning of the trip the first thing I did after climbing out of my top bunk was pop into the back lounge of the bus and pull the shades to see where I was. On tour they drive through night so each morning you wake up in a different place.
As Kelby and I exited the bus the first day in Manchester, there was already a fan outside waiting for autographs. That’s dedication, it was only 11am, the show wasn’t until 9pm.
I generally don’t sleep as much as I did over there, but we were all out of whack, so lunch came in the form of breakfast most days. We found our way to a Starbucks for wifi in order to find an all day breakfast place. With the suggestion of some locals we found a delicious little spot called the Teacup Kitchen.
After Breakfast we did a little shopping in a cool old 3 story building with vintage flea market booths and shops full of art, antiques and vintage clothing. It was cold…did I mention that already? It wasn’t any colder really than it gets here in the winter, but I wasn’t ready for it, I stayed layered up and wrapped in my giant scarf and beanie on head for most of the trip. After taking in a little of Manchester, we headed back to check out the venue, scope the green room’s shower and prepare for the first night of the tour.
Rumor had it that the green room shower was sufficient with hot water so I tried it out that night, I failed at working the contraption they called a shower and took an extremely short shower trying to wash the most important parts in intervals of scalding hot and freezing cold water bursts. The glamorous life of touring musicians is a false perception in some aspects. However they do treat you nice and keep you stocked with booze.
The crowd was fantastic and it looked like everyone had fun including the band. There was a cute little canal behind the venue near the backstage door where I fed some geese some bread before the show. Nerd alert.
I guess my excitement got the best of me that night, after the show and keeping true to my “Night 1 Lindsey” band dubbed nickname they have so accurately given me, I drank my fair share and dragged Kelby around to some bars and clubs for dancing where I proceeded to have cocktails with very little ice in them, dance with strangers, while Kelby tolerated taking pictures with fans and danced with me until I finally surrendered to some late night food and my pajamas. After getting that out of my system I would behave the rest of the trip.
Day 3, London, England. I nursed a slight hangover with some hot tea and a proper English breakfast minus the baked beans (that’s weird).
We took the subway, or tube if you will, to the Natural History Museum where we got to take in a few dinosaurs before being called back for soundcheck. Taking the subway and a British taxi was different than in the States, the cabs are much bigger and the subways and trains much cleaner than in the likes of New York city.
After sound check we found some delicious Indian food and more hot tea. We asked for our tea hot and the guy was confounded by what we meant by “hot” tea. Silly Americans all tea is served hot.
The show was in a historic theater where it seemed everyone in the history of music had played. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, David Bowie, Prince to name a few. Sold out again with almost 2000 people in attendance.
After the boys spent time with U.K. label people after the show, and I still nursing my hangover a tad, Kelby found me some fast food chicken and that was all she wrote. On to the next city.
Day 4 Cambridge, England. A cold, rainy, college town or University as they would say. Not much to do, we found breakfast (shocker) and some little antique shops that afternoon. I found a couple of creepy things for my collection including an old poison bottle and a book called “Bedlam” about the oldest insane asylum in England. After a nap ensued it was back to daily ritual of the pre-show routine and to another packed house and sold out show.
Day 5/6, Glasgow, Scotland. We had a day off in Glasgow. For starters, the accent is so heavy in Scotland that they might as well be speaking a foreign language. The only night we stayed overnight in a hotel was in Scotland. It drizzled rained and spit snow while we were there. More Indian food and a lovely little pre dinner dessert per my request, of sticky toffee pudding that was delicious,
just before a sleepless night in a tiny room with a rather hard bed, it was also the night of the election so it was a restless night for most of us. It was odd to be in another country with such a controversial election happening at home. Kelby woke me up with a, “Holy Shit Trump won” where I replied with a “are you kidding me?”. We discussed our feelings and decided to drop it, and we skipped social media for the day. Later that day we visited an old Cathedral built before the late 12th century, and Necropolis Cemetery, a large ancient cemetery with elaborate tomb monuments. Ancient Greek νεκρόπολις nekropolis, literally meaning “city of the dead”, right up my alley.
I didn’t get any good pics of the show that night…but found some on Instagram: via @thecadillac3 account.
Day 7, Birmingham, England. The city where a little band called Black Sabbath was formed. Breakfast, Tea, an outdoor market and we walked thru a fish market that smelled lovely.
Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown join the boys for a little Honey Bee cover during the encore. They killed it every night. If you haven’t checked them out click the link above. Great band.
Day 8, Bristol, England. I think this was a favorite city to visit. I’ll let my pics and videos show you why…
Though it was chilly the sun was out and this little tea shop had the best back patio area
The city was full of art and very cool shops, I did a little Christmas shopping too.
Kelby and I had a drink at the oldest pub in Bristol, established in 1606.
we ran into a fan with some cool shoes that Kelby signed for her…
and had a nice Italian dinner before the show at Sergio’s
a peek at one backstage area…
The red light hall
I can’t explain how crazy it is to get to go on these trips as I try to wrap my brain around where I am and how I even got there. It’s because of Kelby’s job and how hard he and the rest of the band have worked over the years that I get to do these things and I am most thankful to be a part of it all when I can. Its all a give and take, I miss him tons when he is gone, and though it may all seem very rock and roll, the travel is exhausting. I know these guys are accustomed to this lifestyle after touring for over a decade and finally all that hard work is paying off for them. The band and crew work their butts off to do what they do. You have to love what you do very much to live this way. There is a glamorous side for sure, but also a not so shiny side, the constant travel, long hours, lack of sleep, shaking hands, taking pictures, occasional cold green room shower, and being away from your family that these guys endure 45+ weeks a year would be too much for most. I know these guys love creating music and without a doubt are one of the best bands you will see live, bias aside. The Cadillac Three have some of the most die hard fans I have ever seen in my years of working in music venues here in Nashville. I’m most impressed with the level of loyalty and respect that the band shares with their steadfast fans, all while gaining new devotees at every show. I think the coolest thing about their fan base is that they are music fanatics of all ages, men and women. This isn’t a Justin Bieber concert with little girls screaming…they share their fans with the likes of iconic bands from decades ago whose music is still on the radio today. I wish them the best of luck in all they do and here’s to more unique trips that I hope get to be a part of.
Thanks to Evyn, Jaren, Chelsea, Neil, Grainger, Ben, Brandon, Jefferson, and the bus drivers for such a fun trip. And Kelby for wanting me to be beside you for the ride.
Odd things from the U.K.:
- They say “cheers, bye”, instead of good bye
- At pubs you order at the bar and give your table number
- Ice, well if any don’t expect more than a cube or two
- Clerks/cashiers say, “Can I help” instead of “next in line” or “can I help YOU”
- The outlets turn on and off with a switch
- Hotels have hot water pots for tea, not coffee makers
- Lots of Indian food restaurants.
- Fish N Chips are served with peas.
- Sugar cubes make so much sense and less mess
- Most toilets have two buttons for #1 and #2
- A traditional English breakfast is served with baked beans, mushrooms and cooked tomatoes
- Paper towels are shorter in width
- Hotels are much smaller
- Instead of “watch you step”, they say “mind your step” or “mind the door”
- Some of the grocery stores have clothing stores in them
- And the have T.K. Maxx instead of T.J. Maxx