Travels with Phil resumed today as the band rode 45 minutes to the Manchester Airport and bid an emotional farewell to yet another bus. Large lettering on the facade of the terminal at this airport indicates "Welcome to the World's Best Airport." Okay, then why do departing passengers have to go up escalators with their luggage and equipment in two different sections of the airport? Is it because weary travelers enjoy these types of challenges? Shouldn't arriving vehicles be able to drive up a ramp to the departing area? One more important contribution from the infamous architect Frank Lloyd Wrong. If this is the world's best airport, can you imagine what the world's worst airport is like? Several days later, we were to find out.
Upon our arrival in Amsterdam, we got our luggage, Brian Lynch stepped away from the band for a moment, and the rest of us found the bus. Brian subscribes to the Clark Terry philosophy that when asked why he stays so animated in his never-ending performance travels, CeeTee replies "because it's harder to hit a moving target!" Bad timing this cycle, Brian, as a crowd and marching band quickly assembled to meet the Dutch soccer team as they returned from being eliminated from the World Cup finals and then an additional defeat in the consolation game. The crowd went wild as an impromptu parade was formed to escort the team bus containing the returning losers. I can't imagine what the crowd would have been like had they won. Our bus was ready to leave via a side road but . . . where's Brian? He's on the other side of the parade unable to break through! Waiting it out until the unconquering heroes pass.
The band rode past windmills and arrived at The Hague within one hour. The night's performance was at the North Sea Jazz Festival, The Hague. This three-day, $60-per-person-per-day event has been referred to as a "Jazz Supermarket." Several stages operate at once with well-known jazz performers, very crowded, and not always comfort oriented, plus they charge the public 50 Dutch cents to enter the lavatories. Isn't this discrimination against folks with bladder problems? I'm thinking about applying for a lavatory assistance grant. The PWBB followed the Maria Schneider Orchestra and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. We were able to say hello to two formidable musicians in the VJO who often perform with us in Pennsylvania and New York City: composer and piano virtuoso and former member of the Phil Woods Quintet, Jim McNeely, and the accomplished trombonist Ed Neumeister. Hang potential was impeded as the VJO had a 4 a.m. departure the next day. Two thousand people attended the concert and it was broadcast on Dutch radio and TV. Hang rating: 6.12.