Well a day off in this ethereal city– that is a good thing. The first couple of shows back have all been fun and right back to the July excitement level. Our first time in Salzburg at the Frequency– great place to start and a very cool site for that festival, out in the hills not far from town. On to Budapest and the Sziget Festival, another one the band had never played before. Really unusual site, on a huge island in the Danube, in a forested, dense area that had some 60,000 people there for 6 days–definitely one of the happenings of the summer for the whole region, with 60 stages/performance areas and a pretty interesting array of choices for the fans. R.E.M. played on the Saturday night and had a Dublin/Italy-like crowd in terms of enthusiasm and noise and general raucousness. The band responded with a crackling set and one of the best shows of the tour. We don’t get to go to Budapest that often, and the combination of the city and the show was a real fun first weekend back.

And any weekend that includes walking across the Chain Bridge in Budapest one day and the Charles Bridge in Prague the next day is a pretty good weekend. Both cities have that heart of Europe, bustling feel to them, and our times here in Prague have been especially rewarding, from the 3rd time’s a charm date in August of 1995, then the indoor show in the winter of 2005 and Jem Cohen’s filming of part of the E-bow the Letter video here on the trams of the city in 1998. Last night’s show at Slavia Stadium certainly added to the band’s love for this place, with an awesome crowd and another corker of a set, this one including West of the Fields early and Imitation of Life, Rockville, Circus Envy, and End of the World late. . . and the tremendous band the Duke Spirit to open with one of the best supporting sets of the tour– great band, great record, really enhanced the show last night.

Anyway, tomorrow we head to the heart of Germany for shows in Stuttgart, the legendary Loreley and Wurzburg, before the UK this weekend with shows in Manchester and Cardiff, then Southhampton, over to Paris, back for London. . . all in the next 2 weeks. Check out our Tour Site for the latest… meanwhile a blessed day off in Prague– happy to be here.


p.s. there must not be many bands who are linked on Kanye West’s blog for their new video and also a week later being covered by Sugarland– we hear that they are covering Nightswimming in their set but since it isn’t on YouTube yet it must not be true!