March 1, 2015 Uckfield, UK – Trading Boundaries
Great venue. Very similar to some of the Swiss shows and the the French show. More like a theater scene where there is a built in, season-ticket-holding audience who comes particularly to this venue to see what they are putting on. At least that what it felt like to me. Could be that this was a really a room full of Eigenharp fanatics who were suffering Gabriel tunes in order to feed their Eigen-Fevers.
The folks running this are super fans. I saw a poster for Toyah and The Humans for upcoming gig (with fresh Crimsonoid, William Rieflin.) When I met Tracy, one of the owners, she said that Robert and Toyah had come in for tea before.
A rather strange venue. It is a furniture shop/restaurant that gets converted into a venue a from time to time. This conversion is a pretty serious chunk of work and the staff, and our crew, busted their asses to make it happen. All the tables and chairs have to get moved around and many of them taken outside. Then the stage has to get put together, which means removing big chunks of wood and hauling them outside. Next to deal with was that the stage is quite small and in the spots Jerry and David would normally be are these two, rather small alcoves. They would not both fit there, so the call was made to put Jerry in one and then bring David up to the front. With lot's of hemming and hawing and chicken-scratching it was sorted out. Sadly my normal view to Jerry was blocked by a big column. I will have to dance around tonight in order to make contact with my rhythm buddy.
Well, here again, our best show to date. I guess the short story is that we just keep getting better and better. We added “Solsbury Hill” to the set tonight. We have been discussing this one for over a year now. To be blunt, I have been opposed to having it in the set. For a variety of reasons. But since everyone else is keen on it, I'll give it a whirl –- I had similar reservations about “Biko” and it works really well. We rehearsed it a tiny bit in soundcheck and then discussed the changes back stage. Rather than muck about, I pushed for us just going ahead and playing it tonight. Even though it wasn't ready. Partly a bad attitude on my behalf (I'm totally fried, loopy and cranky) and partly a WTF let's just give ourselves a challenge, lay our goods out on the table and make it work on the fly. Also mixed into this for me was the story of Tony Levin recording the piece. Robert said that he recorded it in a single take after only one listen. So, I should be able to follow Tony's lead. ;)
Which reminds me of something a fan said to me the other night. That I am onstage playing Tony Levin's parts with this project and he is out (periodically) with Crimson playing some of my parts. A fun concept.
Interesting tidbit about this place. Roger Dean lives nearby and there is a gallery here of his cover work for the “Yes” records along with his “Virgin Records” logo.
A beautiful ale was shared afterwards.
March 2, 2015 Sudbury, UK – goodbye to the bus
Yes, the day had finally come. We will say goodbye to the bus. Like a foot fungus, I am happy to see my life move on from it. And yet, I have grown accustomed to applying the appropriate medicines and following it's progress as it crawled its way deeper around the toenails of my psyche.
Very long day/night from East Sussex up to Liverpool. The bus ride to its home was short and we ended up there only a few hours after leaving the gig. A short sleep until morning, where Michael handled the finances with the bus company and then our day's adventure began. First to get a rental car and then to drive it, five hours, up to Liverpool. Of course, this is rock and roll so expect the unexpected. Or maybe expect the expected. Which meant getting dropped off at the rental car place at 9:00am to be told our car isn't here and won't be here until 1:30pm. So hustle-hustle, bustle-bustle, many phone calls later, and another two hours of our lives lost for ever and ever and ever and ever, and we have a new car at a different car rental place. Finally we are driving. And driving. And driving. Thankfully the weather is fantastically gorgeous. England seems to be enjoying the same effects of climate change that we are in Seattle – no real winter.
And now we, also, say goodbye to our driver. The Welsh Captain: Chop. Chop, who hates being called Chops, also hates being called Chopsy or Chompsky. So our tortures for him had easy focus. When Chop isn't hurdling through the winding roads of Europe on the Behemoth Bus we will no longer be calling our love-nest-away-from-home, he is living on two narrowboats on the canals of the UK. His boat-home is only 6 feet wide! Chop likes it small. For those unaware, these canals crisscross the whole country for 2500 miles. They are extremely narrow in spots, hence the narrow-ness. Some of the canals are actually very high aqueducts. See the photo of Chop's boat crossing one of these.
Here is his blog about his boats. One of which has a crane to hoist his motorcycle on and off.
March 3, 2015 Liverpool, UK – The Arts Club
Back in Liverpool and Final Show!
Very, very cold in the venue. Both in the sound check and during the gig. And I mean really cold. I was playing in my sleeveless vest while everyone else in the room had their winter coats on. See, I am prepared to suffer for the fans!
Finally, I can say that this was not our best show to date. It was damn good, no doubt. But a bit strained. Long, difficult day. Our long travel day yesterday and all the UK folks heading back to their homes for the night combined with general worn-out-ness and a tough, but shortish, business meeting we had to have right before the show, all wove together to add some thicker sauce to the pudding tonight. It is always very challenging to play in your home town. So, Brian had extra credit to deal with.
It is hard to explain to people why a hometown show is challenging. You are surrounded by friends, so the support should be like a warm nest. And it is. Yet, at the same time, knowing people in the audience – having so many personal relationships represented in the performance – can be a challenge. In some mysterious way, playing to strangers is much easier than playing to friends. In my experience, when you can get beyond personal relationships then something impersonal can come into the performance. Not impersonal, like uncaring. But something beyond the individual, or even beyond individual-ness. Fripp and I occasionally spoke about this in regards to extraordinary experiences in a performance. That something extremely impersonal AND something extremely personal is taking place. But it isn't taking place from the direction of the person, or the personality, of the performer towards the audient having the experience. It is coming from somewhere else.
Anyway, a long-winded way of saying hometown gigs can sometimes feel pinched.
I don't know if Brian was having this kind of home-town experience tonight. I do know he delivered an amazingly professional performance. He was really feeling his voice needing another day's rest. But got up and really delivered it regardless. Even though he felt like he wasn't fully firing. Personally, I feel like when a performer isn't fully pushing the instrument 100% that you get the best performances and the best, balance within the music. When a drummer isn't playing at peak volume there is always more space in the music. And there is reserve for them to kick it up a notch and back down again. This felt like the space Brian was in tonight. Pushing the voice to 4th gear, but 5th was still sitting there. Just my 2 cents.
Brian's Scouser let loose tonight, as well.
Scouse is an accent primarily found in the Metropolitan county of Merseside, and closely associated with the city of Liverpool.
Unbeknownst to me, Brian has been altering his accent onstage during this tour to be less Scous-y and a bit more Brit-y. But he warned us tonight that was going full Scouser tonight. Otherwise he would come off as a Ponce.
To be honest, I didn't notice any change in his voice or delivery. But the Liverpool crowd was loving everything about him and our performance. They were definitely the wildest audience so far. Shouting here and there. Brian told me afterwards that he was nervous that his home-town folk might not be as respectful of my “Here Comes The Flood” intro as I have been used to. I wasn't concerned. My sense was to go full-on heavy for it anyway. Perhaps in response to this feeling. Either way, nary a peep was heard. Until Brian's voice came in on the first verse – then mega-applause.
Once the show fully delivered and we were backstage, Brian asked me to pass him a 'Richard'.
Richard = Richard Gere = Gere sounds like = Beer
next up: Tomorrow is Liverpool Beatle-Action
previous tour diaries