Pat and I went completely around the planet on this tour. I don't think I have ever traveled so far and so fast. We were in Russia for 16 days and having been home for over a week now, my body's clock is still completely miswired. Fun, fun, fun!
Our first gig was in Vladivostok, which is basically right next to Japan and practically touching North Korea. Seven (that's right, SEVEN) time zones east of Moscow. So, being right next to Japan you would think I could just fly straight there from Seattle. But, no Mr. Wizard. Nyet, nyet. I left Seattle on Monday morning and flew overnight to Amsterdam. Then to Moscow, arriving on Tuesday. After about five hours in Moscow with my pal Pat, and our promoters <the Two Dmitry's>, we got on another plane and flew overnight to Validovostok. Arriving on Wednesday afternoon.
The first hotel in Vladivostok was pretty special. No city anywhere near to be seen.
(click for larger images)
We made the best of it, until going into our rooms to shower with no success (after 48 hours of travel.) Pat couldn't get the shower to turn on, and mine went completely cold after three minutes. Nope, we must leave the Cowboy Motel and fast. We renegotiated a new hotel in town, near the gig and life got better and better. Off to the Strawberry Hookah Bar for an interview and some nice long puffs of vanilla sheesha. Then off to bed.
Our second day had us setting up at Zabrieski Point, the club in town. It was the 10th anniversary of the club and Michael, the owner, had virtually brought us in a birthday present to the club. It wasn't an easy show, as Pat and I were quite tired and it was hard to tell how our vibe was going over to a very quiet audience. In fact, after we left the stage I half-wondered if we were even convincing at all. But, speaking with people afterwards we discovered that they were more stunned by the experience than they knew how to respond to. So, good one after all. (No kilt tonight. I just didn't have it in me.)
Jacaranda - Zabrieski Point, Vladivostok
We flew back to Moscow for a press conference at The Dmitry's Office. Super crazy wild office. They had a live Marmoset Monkey in a big glass cage. Her name was Anastasia and I fed her cream from little coffee creamer containers. They had a very large mammoth skull hanging the wall. There were paintings of Putin and Medyedev playing chess on New Year's Eve. There was a separate office just for blind lawyers and another just for deaf workers. And finally, they brought in a woman from the Moscow Tea Museum to make serious tea for us!
Pat looked quite dapper and I mimed playing baseball in some obscure reference that no one can explain.
Our next stop was Yekaterinburg near the Ural Mountains. Fantastic place and one of the nicest theaters we have seen. The local crew and soundman were fantastic, and we played wonderfully. Plus we got the best photos of the tour. Possibly the best live photos ever of TU. (click for large versions.)
Sitting on the Bank - Yekaterinburg
Back to MOSCOW
Flew back to Moscow the next day and then got up early the following day for the Moscow show. Club Gogol'. We were greeted by our old friends Olga and Nikita. Very nice club and super audience. Two things that contributed to a fantastic show.
Can -- Club Gogol', Moscow
Starless Schizoid - Club Gogol', Moscow
Untamed Chicken - Club Gogol', Moscow
Next we flew to Perm. Back to the Urals area. Perm was one of the last closed cities to be opened to the West at the end of the Soviet era. I seem to remember hearing that it was closed until 1989 or 1990. It snowed while we were there and got down to 4 degree Farenheit.
For this gig we met up with Kimmo and became KTU for the final Russian show. Thankfully we got a full day's rehearsal, the day before the show. Not having played with KTU for about 12 months, we were extremely happy to be able to get back under each other's skin in a hot rehearsal. After our rehearsal we went out to a local pub and were befriended my many young, and drunk, Russians. They asked what we did for a living and we said we were musicians. Then we asked them what they did, and they said they were Football Hooligans. This proved true when Kimmo followed them outside into the snow and wound them up in a Football Hooligan cheer. Shirts came off and much dancing and shouting followed. Kimmo is the low voice:
The show was fantastic. Great theater, great sound, superb audience. You couldn't ask for a better final show here in Russia.
KTU "Optikus", Perm
KTU "Purga", Perm
KTU "Aorta", Perm
Three flights back and I was home sweet home in Seattle!