Wake up at 5.30am. Feel more dead than alive. Get an early morning cab to the airport which is really really far out of town. Catch the plane and get to Shanghai. The fast train from Shanghai station connects to the metro train system and takes 8 minutes to go 30km. It makes me wonder why we don’t have one in Melbourne. Off the train and lug all the stuff to the hotel.
Andy is on the hunt for baby clothes so we go to a big shopping area where we are surrounded by locals crazily going about buying new clothes. Not much luck with the baby clothes but it’s an exciting part of town and interesting to see. From here we go and meet Tom at a place called The Camel. It’s an Aussie sports bar and feels like we are at some shitty Sydney pub. There are TVs everywhere showing AFL and Rugby. Andy is keen to watch the Tigers game which is being broadcast live. They get thrashed. The best thing about this pub is that they have a TV built into the urinal. You can watch the footy and piss at the same time.
Back to the hotel to get our stuff and then off to the gig at YuYinTang. At the show we meet up with Rhys from Bang! Bang! Aids! He is living in Shanghai now and his band Pairs are playing tonight. The first two bands on the line-up are great. First band is a sixties surf garage band that play some Sonics covers and stuff like that. The second band is a hardcore band with an expat singer. Like the Camel, YuYingTang has lots and lots of expats although the locals are well represented here too. Pairs sound a lot like Bang! Bang! Aids! which is fine with me. They put on a rocking show. Digger and The Pussycats starts pretty late tonight, around 12.30am. By this stage everyone has patroned the bar quite a bit and is ready for a good time. Get through the set and head back to the hotel. On the way we go into a convenience store where both the attendants are fast asleep.
Up really early and on the train to Wuhan. The train ride takes forever and stops at a million stops on the way. Wuhan is a university town and has some of the worst traffic congestion I have ever seen. Wuhan seems like the real China, busy, crazy and exciting. Very few Westerners on the streets unlike Beijing and Shanghai and really busy everywhere. We go to eat hotpot with Tom and drink some exciting hard liquor that tastes like metho. The hotpot is really good and really spicy. Do soundcheck and hit the streets. Being Saturday night people are out everywhere and getting ready for a big night. No one on the streets seems to be over 28. People everywhere, on the streets and in bars and in restaurants. Andy finds more DVDs to add to his pile of watching when he gets home. The show tonight is a support for a big underground Chinese bands named Subs. The show is really well attended and they take to us straight away. It’s the first gig I ever remember where girls scream like we are The Beatles. It’s pretty funny. Talking between songs goes down pretty bad here but I use some of the old Axl Rose moves and point to myself and sing and then hold the mic over the crowd. Winner every time! Even get a bit of cricket style slow to fast clapping started. Finish the show both playing in the audience. People get in close and I wonder whether they get sprayed with sweat and spit and can smell how bad Andy smells? If they are getting it, then they love it. Subs rock the place to the ground. The locals really really love them. They sound like a cross between Dr Invisablo and Ouch My Face and are fronted by a young lady that reminds me of the singer from The Grates. She gets on top of the crowd and crowd surfs a few times and they love it. Even Tom gets up on stage and tries a big stage dive in the encore. Unfortunately for him nobody catches him but he’s keeping the dream alive. I love how excited he is about local bands and gigs. Shows in China remind me heaps of playing all ages shows when I was a teenager. People are excited and they haven’t seen heaps of bands so they just stand around and watch between songs and clap quickly and wait quietly for the next song. After the concert we hang around the bar a while and talk to some locals and the guys in Subs. Tom gets stuck into the Jager Bombs. After a while we head downstairs and get some street food. Tom comes down and orders for us and then heads back to the bar for more party. We head off to bed.
Wake up and call home. Miss my girlfriend heaps. What a great tour it’s been. Really exciting and lots of fun although there has been heaps of early mornings and travel, I feel pretty good. I’d love to come back again next year and do it all over again. The shows are over but the travel is far from it. Get onto a train at Wuhan station and head back to Shanghai. Train stations in China are like airports at home. They are massive and some of them are quite a way out of town. Back in Shanghai after 6 hours on the train we get a great meal and Andy buys more DVDs. Then sleep.
Up early and off to Shanghai Hongquai airport. Catch a flight to Beijing and then off to San Francisco. But that’s another story altogether.