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Week11

Well, here we are with my final weekly update before returning home for Christmas....

On Sunday 14th December I was up at 06:30 as I had to drive from Las Vegas to Beverly Hills for another open-air concert, this time to see Jennifer York and her band. The 300 mile journey back to LA went without incident, but unfortunately I left behind a glorious day in Vegas for a very wet and miserable Los Angeles. Jennifer York is the 'Denise Van Outen' of Los Angeles, spending each morning in a helicopter above LA reporting on the traffic news for the KTLA television station and by night playing the bass and double bass in her own band.

The York Quartet has been together for some 11 years now, and are regularly seen in clubs around LA. This gig was slightly different though, in the open air on a cold & wet afternoon, and Jennifer thanked the 28 (yes, twenty-eight) of us who turned-up as she amusingly counted the number of people who had turned up to watch and support them. Nevertheless, the lack in numbers sat watching nor the weather conditions did nothing to detract from the performance they delivered, which was excellent. All of the band members were superb and the two 45 minutes sets on stage passed very quickly.

During the interval I met Jennifer, had a brief chat with her and got her to autograph a cd that she is featured on. I posted the photos from the gig on my web-site a couple of days afterwards and I have subsequently been in touch with Jennifer and she plans to include a number of the photos on her web-site. You can see the photos of the York Quartet here.

On returning to my car in the car park I found Beverly Hills Police Department had issued with me with a ticket for having an out of date tax stamp on the license plate, in fact it had run out at the end of September. I had a chat with PC Plod and he advised me to just take the ticket back to the car rental firm and hand it to them, so that's what I did two days later.

The rest of the week was a bit of a mad rush, three days spent in the office, one day working from the apartment and Friday spent getting ready to fly home and finishing the last bit of Christmas shopping. On Friday evening I went to the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts for the 9th concert of my 11 week visit. There were four artists on the bill: Peabo Bryson, Sheena Easton, Christopher Cross and Irene Cara. Irene Cara had been taken ill, and the remaining three walked out on stage to say that they had a very special replacement - and out walked Natalie Cole onto the stage. Now, given a choice between Irene Cara and Natalie Cole I would choose Natalie every time, so I (and it seemed the rest of the crowd) was very happy. I've seen her twice before, including once when I was on assignment for Blues & Soul magazine.

Peabo Bryson is my all time favourite male vocalist, this also being the third time I've seen him, and he didn't fail to deliver. He wowed the audience, Christopher Cross was very good performing renditions of his most popular hits, Natalie was excellent as always, but the highlight for me was Sheena Easton. The original 'Pop Idol', she looked and sounded stunning. Her vocals were absolutely awesome and her interplay with Peabo Bryson a complete joy to behold. It was the first time that I had seen her in concert but I'll definitely be hoping to see her again during my second stint in LA.

On Saturday 20th December I flew home to Heathrow. I arrived at LAX about 4 hours before take-off so I had to wait a while before the check-in desks opened. When it did my problems started! After checking my two cases in with Virgin I had to take them off the scales and wheel them over to the scanners - the bit that happens behind the scenes at Heathrow & Gatwick. I then had to wait whilst my suitcases were put through the scanner.

The first case went through ok but the second case aroused the suspicions of the operator so she called me over for the key to the case. I then had to wait 20 minutes whilst she gave the contents of my suitcase the third degree. Each of my four boxes of chocolates were individually wiped with a special cloth which was then put into the explosives detector. Obviously no explosives were detected. The operator next paid close attention to a number of videos that I had taped over the weeks, and then a Xmas gift was unsealed, took out of the box and inspected closely. Meanwhile, I was f-this, f-that, etc. I'm sure you understand! At the end, my expertly and carefully packed suitcase, (to ensure nothing got broke during transit), was not so expertly re-packed, locked and wheeled away.

I was then able to make my way airside and through the metal detector, but to get through this I first had to take off my shoes and put those on the scanner belt, I then had to take the laptop out of the laptop bag and put the two through the scanner separately. What a performance. Anyway, the flight left on time, went without incident and arrived at 3pm in London on Sunday 21st.

I return back to LA on Friday 2nd January, for another 3-month stint, so until then I hope you've had a good Xmas and I wish you all the best for the New Year.

Click here for photos of the York Quartet.

PS. Since my return to England the parents of Paul Jackson Jr. have been in touch to request prints of some of the photos I posted on the web-site of him, which is a very nice compliment.

I've also updated my database of flights with my latest transatlantic travel and I've also added to the site a page listing all of the concerts that I have attended over the years, which is now well over 100.

Photos

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Week15
Week17
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Week20 - page2
Week22

  
  (C) 2004 Mark Sykes