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Jack's Diary: 1998



16 August 1998

Hello to everyone from the lovely old city of Brussels in Belgium. Tonight we play the "Marktrock" festival in Leuven a small town near here.  Let me try to update y'all on what's been happening with the Ringo and The All Starrs menage in Europe. Ringo and the All Starr Band are:

Ringo Starr (Drums/Vocals)
Peter Frampton (Guitar/Vocals)
Gary Brooker    (Keyboards/Vocals)
Jack Bruce    Bass/keyboard/accoustic guitar/Vocals)
Simon Kirke    (Drums/vocals)
Mark Rivera    (Saxophones/Acc. Guitar/Percussion/vocals,Musical Director)

We had rehearsals in London for a couple of weeks and the set we came up with is as follows.

1    It Don't Come Easy    (Ringo vocal)
2    Act Naturally        (Ringo )
3    Whiskey Train        (Gary)
4    Show Me the Way        (Peter)
5    Sunshine of Your Love    (Jack)
6    Shooting Star        (Simon)
7    Boys             (Ringo)
8    Love Me Do        (Ringo)
9    Baby I Love Your Way    (Peter)
10    Yellow Submarine    (Ringo)
11    Solo One
12    Solo Two (These two numbers are performed in rotation and I do either Theme For an Imaginary Western or Ropeladder To the Moon)
13    Conquistador        (Gary)
14    I'm The Greatest    (Ringo)
15    The No No Song        (Ringo)
16    La De Da        (Ringo)
17    I Feel Free        (Jack)
18    Alright Now        (Gary)
19    I Wanna Be Your Man    (Ringo)
20    Do You Feel        (Peter)
21    White Room        (Jack)
22    A Whiter Shade of Pale    (Gary)
23    Photograph        (Ringo)
24    A Little Help From My Friends    (Ringo)

So Far we have played Helsinki, Finland; Zofingen, Switzerland; Skanderborg, Denmark and Stuttgart and Chemnitz, Germany. It's been a lot of fun so far and the group are great to travel with being as we are a heady mix of Yanks and Brits. (I of course am the token Scot.)

The weather - wow I'm sounding like a holiday postcard from the edge - has ranged from cold (50 in Finland) to searing (high 90's in Stuttgart) but the audiences have been unfailingly warm and appreciative.

Tomorrow we fly to Lisbon in Portugal and I'm looking forward to a little sea air and Bacalhau. I'll keep you posted always providing I can get "on-line."

By the way special thanks to all who write in comments to the site. I can assure you I read them all and your kind words make it all worth while.

All the Best and Keep On Listening


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Jack playing "Theme"

16 August 1998

The Marktrock Festival was great fun. The stage was set up in the ancient town square of Leuven and there were 15,000 people crammed in there. We followed Anouka, a Dutch singer - very good and very loud and the wonderful Ian Dury and the Blockheads. Before our set I got to spend some time with Ian, a writer, well more a poet really that I have always admired. He told me that he used to come and see me play at the Plough, Ilford, a pub in London, when I was with the Johnny Burch Octet This would be around 1962/63. He was kind enough to say that he thought it was the best jazz band he ever heard in England. Unfortunataely the Octet never had a chance
to record. It was great to hear Ian's songs "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" "What A Waste" etc. He was in great form and the band was very tight.

The All-Stars wern't bad either and we left the crowd shouting for more as we screeched away through the narrow old streets back to Brussels. On then to Portugal.................


23 August 1998

Greetings to everyone from England where I am enjoying a quiet day off before leaving very early tomorrow for Russia.

Now where was I? Ah yes.

Portugal was very nice in the end and the concert was fun. It took place at the site of Expo 98 witnessed by an enthusiastic crowd of 10,000. I did fulfill my ambition and had a delicious meal of Bacalhau at a simple restaurant al fresco. Al sends his regards.

It was a thrill to at last have a chance to play in the Republic of Ireland a place I have longed to visit as it is the spiritual home of many of my favourite writers of English - Joyce, Wilde, Myles na gCopaleen (Flann O'Brien), Sean O'Casey, and even the Ginger Man himself - no not Baker, but J.P.Donleavy. It was wonderful to be able to walk over the O'Connel Bridge, past St. Stephen's Green and on down Grafton Street, the haunts of the great flatulent himself, Bloom. Why I even bought some Jil Sander clothes in Brown Thomas! "His heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes." The show at The Point was good, but without a doubt the high spot of the tour so far was the Empire, Shepherds Bush in old London Town. It turned out to be a real old-style rock' n'roll gig with hordes of screaming girls both inside and out - just like in the days of Beatlemania! I played an even madder than usual bass solo specially for the kids who had never seen a real bass guitar player, reared as they have been on synth bass!

And so it's on to Moscow. Should be interesting. I'll let you know how it goes. Best wishes to all and special thanks to Kari Keino who said such nice things about the Helsinki Show.


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Playing "I Feel Free" in Chemnitz, Germany

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Jack at Lisbon's Rossio Square: Jumping Jack?

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Jack in Lisbon

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Gary, Ringo & Beet (Jack's Technician)

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Jack & Peter playing "Do You Feel" in Lisbon

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Jack playing a solo in Dublin

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Dublin Jack

(Thanks to Mark Rivera for the Dublin photos.)   


29 August 1998

Hello folks! Greetings from Princesse Grace Avenue in Monaco.

From St. Petersburg to Monte Carlo - the sublime to the ridiculous! The concerts in Russia were wonderful and it was a moving and humbling experience to be able to play there after so long. People were telling me they had waited thirty years to see me play. Better late than never! They also told me that because the old Soviet regime prohibited western rock music, they made illegal records called "Bones" because they were produced using old x-ray film and sometimes you could still see the x-ray photographs! I wouldn't mind having one of those. We travelled by night train from Moscow to St. Petersburg and it was sad to see the poverty of the people at the stations. We left Moscow Central at midnight and all the people there looked exhausted -  almost beaten. They have given so much and suffered so much over the centuries the Russian people. I hope with all my heart that better times will come soon for them.

And so we arrived (eventually) in the very fleshpot of Europe, the tax haven Monaco. The three gigs here are among the strangest I have ever had playing as we are for billionaires in a sort of lounge. I have to play so quietly in front of these old fogeys and you just can't do White Room under these conditions. As far as I can see most of Monte Carlo is covered in poodle crap! -Weird. Sorry if I sound grumpy but I can't wait to get to Germany where we play some real concerts in front of real people!

By the way the strangest gig I ever played was Streatham Ice Rink with The Creams where the audience actually skated by every so often!

I'll be in touch from Germany.

Best wishes


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Comrade Bruce in Moscow


7 September 1998

Hello again from England.

So the tour has ended. It was really a great relief to get to Germany after the vicissitudes of playing three nights for the burgers (yes I did say burgers) of Monaco. The last night there were 900 lawyers in the audience. 'nuff sed. (Sorry to any lawyers reading this!)

The first gig in Germany was in the Grugahalle in Essen a place I played in during the 80's with the Police and Graham Parker for Rockpalast, and it was a blast to be there again. The gig was really good as we were able to play our full set which lasts for about 2 hrs 30 and the audience was very real and very receptive. German crowds are among the best anywhere and it is always fun to play there. The next night was Hamburg, long a favourite city of mine and of course where it really all started for the Beatles. The people there are real rock 'n' roll and although it was rather chilly by
the end it was perhaps musically our best show. Bonn was the next night and we rocked. It was great too to talk again with Kurt Renker who lives nearby. He it was who co-produced Somethin Els, Cities of the Heart and Monkjack while I was with his great and sadly now defunct label, CMP.

Then we returned to England for the last show, Gary Brooker's event at Wintershall, Surrey. This was a lot of fun although the last night of a tour is always tinged with sadness. I had a chance to meet some old friends again, and had a nice chat with Bob Geldof and Mike Rutherford. Mike joined us on stage for a jam at the end of our set, and we all said goodbye with "Rock and Roll Music."

And so it is over at least for the time being. Never say never again.

I would say the tour was a success musically and it was great to be able to visit some new places as well as revisit some old ones. Thanks to all the great people who came to the shows. I look forward to seeing you again either with The All Starrs or my own band.

Keep listening - I'll keep in touch.

Very best wishes


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Jack & Peter in Koln

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"The Lads" in Koln, giving a nod to the cover of The Beatles '65.


More photos from the All Starr Tour, courtesy of Ace International.

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(Ginger Baker is on the left.)

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