Monday, April 3, 2023

Down Under for Reel and Good Day Mate!!

Paul Giles,Dean

Lynda Bird

Tristen Bird

The Band

 Dreaming of Kamgaroos and Koalas and all things Australian,I finally made the trek due to my great friendship with Dean Bird who I met in Ireland in 2019.Dean is a well respected musician in Australia and we started planning for 2020 but the powers wouldn't  let us be until 2023.Dean went to work on setting up a wonderful tour schedule and one cold November Day in my hotel room in Buelah,Mi. ,I made the final arrangements. With your regular awful Michigan winter nagging on me ,I could only pray everyday for March 14th and my departure from O'Hare field.The usual travel nightmare ensued and I barely made my connecting flight to Melbourne, a quick 15 hours it was over the vast sea. Of course I couldn't sleep even though the plane was quite empty. Landing in Melbourne the next day I realized they drive just like in Europe on the wrong side of the road. Thanks to Richard Branson I jumped on my Virgin Australia connection to Adelaide with no further delays.Dean was waiting in the terminal and I knew I was in a great country when you are still allowed to greet guests inside the terminal. We got my bags and set off with his friend Woody to his beautiful home in Victor Harbor. It looked just like Southern,California .passing beaches and hills and the vastness of the Indian Ocean. I greeted Dean's wife Lynda and settled into my room for a long sleep.I was playing great venues almost every night and doing Radio interviews everyday but we managed time for sightseeing, and Kangaroo and Koala  sightings .Most of my gigs were with a world renowned Blues Guitarist  named Chris Finnen He is revered in Australia  and it was an honor  to work with him.What I like about Chris was that he had a wonderful  Dauschund named Queenie plus at least 300 guitars which he let me pick out  whichever ones i wanted to use .We packed them in at the Wheatsheaf Hotel,Murray Delta Juke Joint and Semaphors Working Man's Club where Tank cooked delicious Yabbies( Crawfish)
Dean opened up all the shows and gave a wonderful introduction each night . Another highlight was finally meeting Dean's son Tristen Bird .Tristen is an awesome musician and owns Palamino Recording in Myponga .During the day the Boss,Lynda Bird a poet in her own right cooked incredible meals for us including Prawns, Chicken and Lamb.I was living the life of Reily walking to the beach everyday ,watching the Surfers and meeting a fishing legend named George. He became the theme of the trip and Finally took me fishing as well. It just so happened he was an excellent musician and attended one of my concerts as well. Adelaide  is an exciting city and it was great to perform at Memphis Slims House of Blues with the great Paul Giles on harp.
Chris Finnen
.I found out the Beatles had drew 300,000 people in 1964 in Adelaide and a drummer named Jimmy Nicol had filled in for Ringo there. One of the trip highlights was riding the Historic Cockle Train to Goolwa and going to the Murray Mouth on Hindmarsh Island. The Murray is Australia's biggest river. Every night when we drove home from the concerts I had the honor of being on Kangaroo watch. They are really sweet animals but I heard then can deliver a massive punch if you get too close.With the trip winding down,I said a final goodbye to George and had a wonderful Vietamese dinner with Dean,Chris,and Lynda.They dropped me off with an emotional  goodbye and I got ready for my early flight to Sydney. It is a massive airport and it was quite the trek to get through customs but I made it and had time for a quick stop at the gift shop before the 13 hour full flight to San Francisco. This time I decided to watch Jaws as we crossed the Pacific to enhance the journey.Hope to return Down Under sooner than later, As they say in Australia " Good Day Mate"   

Dean Bird
Bobby Blues
Australian Salmon
                    Semaphore Beach


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