In March 2020, U.K. Red Special meet-up organiser Jon Underhill and I travelled to Phoenix, Arizona to hang out with Luke Holwerda and attend the first organised Red Special enthusiast gathering at The Rocky Point Restaurant & Bar. The agenda was quite loose with demonstrations and band jamming. See embedded videos included below.
The event was attended by around twenty people including Ron Smith of The Cybershop who brought along some of his Red Special hardware range for inspection. This included a mounted ‘top hat’ style control knob which is identical to one that he recently made to replace the original that Brian lost during a Queen + Adam Lambert performance at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX during the 2019 Rhapsody Tour.
Luke chose the early March date so that it wasn’t too blisteringly hot for us British guys and, in retrospect, this proved to be prescient because many countries around the world would soon enter lockdown to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Surprisingly, this was my first ever visit to the USA and we took the opportunity to go on a brief guys’ road trip to California (Disneyland resort and Los Angeles taking in Guitar Center and Hollywood) then the Grand Canyon West in Arizona.