Tony MacAlpine European Tour Part 4: We Turn Left

February 27, 2012 Nurnberg, Germany We froze on the bus last night – Mark had asked the driver (Gary) to keep it as cold as possible to slow the spread of Bjorn’s cold. It was 42 degrees inside the bus. Our individual bunks were probably ten degrees warmer, but I had on my long underwear so I was okay. I think I may have caught it – stay tuned for updates. We arrived with some time to spare, and I got up, made some coffee, and finished yesterday’s blog in a leisurely fashion. The venue had breakfast/lunch all laid out and we had some breakfast. Nili and I went out to explore and found what seemed to be a German Wal-Mart situation. The store had everything, so we shopped around a bit. I found the liquor aisle and got the last bottle of Maker’s to surprise the boys on our upcoming off day. Load-in went very quickly and we had the stage set up with time to spare. There was a bit of drama, however: Bjorn attempted to assist and walked into the trailer, putting his hands on a guitar cab in it’s road case. Mike said, “you got it?” Silence. So Mike turns around to continue working and Bjorn attempted to get it down the ramp by himself. He didn’t have the strength, and lost control of it, ending up underneath it while narrowly missing a parked car. He then went off, calling Mike a “crazy roadie” and telling anyone who’d listen how Mike had thrown the cabinet at him. Poor guy, no wonder he didn’t want to...

Tony MacAlpine European Tour Part 3: How’s Your Mom?

I was unaware that Tony also studied classical piano. Here his skills are showcased as he hurts some feelings in Berlin. Throughout the show he effortlessly transitions from Uber-shredding on the guitar to melting faces with his keyboard chops. Did I mention he also has perfect pitch? Sickening. February 26, 2012 Berlin, Germany Berlin was, at first impression, very gray. We were to play at Crystal, in the back of the Columbia club, across from the old USAF airfield. There was litter everywhere and it was cold. Tony and I walked in and said: “this is a great room!”. The stage hand says “yeah, but you’re over here.” Hello, basement. While not actually underground, it was small and reminiscent of the club I’ve played more times than any other. Tony and I decided to wander around and see what we could see. We wandered for a bit, everything was gray and most of the shops were closed, as it was Sunday. We found a coffee shop and had a cup and sat around for a second, then decided to keep searching, this time going past the club in the other direction. We passed this gigantic red-bricked gothic building, almost like a complex, trying to figure out what it was. Turns out it is a police compound, large enough to actually house all the cops and their families. Literally as big as a NYC block. The plaque at left was on the wall. We walked around this building and headed back towards the club on the other side. We passed an intersection on the right and saw a beautiful gothic...

Tony MacAlpine European Tour Part 2: Bringing The Pain

February 25, 2012 Sneek, Netherlands Sneek proved to be a very cute little hamlet, with cobblestone streets and a Euro-style canal running through the center of town. We walked around a bit and checked out the promenade, which was very nice. The venue was easily the nicest we’d played: separate dressing rooms for each band with two clean showers apiece, a home-cooked dinner in their kitchen, and as much coffee and Amstel as we could drink. The stage was gorgeous, the monitors and PA top-notch, the crew competent and attentive. All in all, we were prepared for a great night. It didn’t quite turn out that way… Our set went okay, I gave it a B+, but I had problems in the solo in Desolate Supreme. After two good solos the first two nights, I haven’t been able to string it together for these last two. Later today I’m going to work out some stuff ahead of time to be more prepared. After the quick changeover, I thought I had time to take a shower and still be able to make it backstage to cover for Aquiles during their set. I came out to the side stage area during their second song to find Aquiles frantically trying to get Mike’s attention (whose eyes were riveted to Tony). His hi-hat had completely failed, the chain becoming detached from the pedalboard. I couldn’t figure out how to fix it, and Tony’s set is like a freight train: once it has started, you get on or get out of the way. I asked one of the stage hands if they had a spare...

Tony MacAlpine European Tour Part 1

February 19-24, 2012 London and Manchester, UK Kerkrade, Netherlands We started with 7.5 hour flight direct from Atlanta to London’s Heathrow Airport. It was surprisingly much like any other flight, just longer. We left at 11 p.m., and due to the time zone differences, arrived at noon the next day. From there we were picked up at the airport by the tour bus and headed through London to pick up our rental gear. John Henry’s in London is the largest backline facility I have ever seen. Imagine the warehouse at the end of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, but filled with drums, guitars, amplifiers, keyboards, P.A. equipment, the works. I counted six or seven rows of just drums. Upon arrival, our gear was waiting for us stacked neatly in the hall, and we immediately had doubts about our trailer being able to hold it all. We squeezed it all in, just barely, and Mark declared we’d pick up a larger trailer the next morning near Manchester, the site of the first show. We then drove to a parking facility in Greenwich and all trudged out to find dinner. Mark led us to a nearby pub, where we had some dinner and drinks, and began to really break the ice. So far everyone seems to get along well. Daniel and Aquiles spent some time chatting it up in Portuguese, as they were acquainted before the tour, and they are both from Brazil. There was a lot of friendly “sizing-up” going on, and some folks were quiet and did not share drinks, while others were boisterous and had many. Aquiles was...