February 27, 2012
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 help before, he just can’t do it. We finished load-in without further incident.
We had a little chill time, and started warming up for our 8:30 hit. The show went very well, I finally felt comfortable (a little) on Aquiles’ setup. I didn’t have to look for every cymbal or drum I wanted to hit. The monitor was drowned by the drums themselves, so on some complicated passages I just had to concentrate and hope for the best. Another decent solo in Desolate, and Aquiles was hanging out backstage for the last two songs.
Tony hit the stage, and Nili was on fire. They all seemed pleased with their show, no major technical problems. Mike and I relaxed enough to have a beer or two on watch, and the house brew proved to be top-notch.
Watching Aquiles from our vantage point, I could see more clearly his foot technique. The man has some chops. He seems built for speed. In simpler passages, he’s very on top of the beat. The faster and more intricate the part is, the more accurately he plays. He improvises blistering 32nd-note and 32nd-note triplets with apparent ease, mixing up voicings effortlessly. The show closer, Hundreds of Thousands, is a tour-de-force of guitar pyrotechnics and blistering, melt-your-face double bass.
Breakdown was in record time: 50 minutes from the last note, we were closing the trailer. A few of us got showers and we started our nightly ritual of beers and hanging out. The conversation was particularly loose and weird, everyone is comfortable enough to really let their hair down, even Aquiles. He went to bed, leaving us with a stream of Portuguese that sounded like it involved my mom and some of his friends for a day.
A little after 2 a.m., I decided to head down to brush my teeth and get in bed, but Mark had opened up the Glenfiddich and it turned into a Scotch party, with nearly everyone making it downstairs. That lasted for another 45 minutes for me, a couple of hours for everyone else.
Next stop: Cologne, Germany