SUMMER 2012 – WEEK TWO
By the time we began week two of rehearsals for this summer’s European jaunt, we had all pretty much hit our stride. Small changes in song sections were being remembered, the new Generation X song was sounding great, and the kinks and bumps had been ironed out – we were powering through the set comfortably. So it became about equipment (at least for me) – Jimbo was feeling better and was on top of things in my corner. I had discovered a few guitars that were misbehaving so we took the opportunity to get those sorted out, and got some much needed fresh cables made as well. We also started to load up the wardrobe cases (which is a task in itself!). These cases don’t just hold clothes – they are pretty much our only way of getting anything we want with us over to Europe. For instance, Billy, McG and myself plan on doing some motorcycle riding over there, so our helmets and riding gear go in the wardrobe cases. But I think I may have gone a little too far this year! The European busses do not have individual monitors in the bunks, so I decided I would take a Playstation 3 (games and a bluray player) and a TV. Yep – I actually went out and bought a 19” TV and put that in the wardrobe case as well!
Towards the end of the week, the itineraries arrived, amidst a parting of the clouds and the sound of an angel’s chorus. These little books are very important – they are the source of all the information you want to know about the tour. What hotel are we staying in, who else is on the festival bill, how far the next city is etc etc. Once the itinerary is in your hand, you can figure stuff out – when would be a good time to go scuba diving is one thing that immediately crosses my mind!! I can see a couple of days off near the ocean and I start to google “scuba+Portugal” – plans are being made! As I sit drinking coffee and perusing the itinerary, I can hear Billy and McG going over some vocal harmonies in the other room and it’s note perfect. A smile spreads slowly across my face as I have a strong “fuck me, this is very cool” moment. I can get lost in the minutia of setting guitars up, learning a new riff, or dealing with a hum from my amps….. but moments like this, when I am relaxed, confident and allow the reality of what we do to settle in, are exactly why I love this business, this job, this way of life so much. I look around at the inordinate amount of flight cases, all with “Idol” sprayed on the sides, and listen to the two of them sing harmonies – it’s gonna be a good tour, I can feel it.
We’ve kept a few new Idol tunes in the set for this tour and I have to say they’ve really come a long way – they seem to fit perfectly and sit nicely amongst the hits and the Gen X stuff. “Postcards From The Past” didn’t change much from the way we were doing it last October – Steve’s solo has developed and we all feel comfortable with the song, so that pretty much felt right. “Too Far To Fall” got a work out and a whole section of the song became so much more than it was last year – Steve wasn’t happy with one section, and over the course of a couple of days, we all worked at it until it really sounded killer. Steve has some effect on his guitar at the beginning that I can only describe as the Devil Pedal…. Every time we launch into the song, it sounds like Beelzebub himself is clawing his way out of the Marshall cabs…. It’s huge!! And it’s nice to see “Kings And Queens” make it into the set again – this was one of the first songs that I wrote with Billy and Steve and I love it. All the new ones feel right and I’m really looking forward to getting out there and playing them live.
The week comes to an end all too soon, and we’re done. Ready. Prepared, rehearsed and loaded up. The crew descend on the equipment like a swarm of worker ants and shit starts to disappear into cases. How these guys do it, I really don’t know – it seems to me like there’s way too much gear everywhere, but everything has a home, everything has a place, a slot, a hole….. they know where every cord, battery and screw live, and they set about tearing the room down. The next time we see all this stuff will be in Moscow, Russia. How it all gets there, I have no idea (and I have no wish to know either) – it’s that magic part of the job….. it seems to magically re-appear on the other side of the world, looking and sounding exactly like it did in the rehearsal room in Los Angeles. And its all thanks to Jim, Dave, Steve, Charles, Robert, Matt, Lloyd, Karel, Joel and Martin. Muchas Gracias, amigo’s…. without you lot, etc etc etc.