My day started with a good swim in the hotel pool,I also managed to get in a visit at one of the local music shops and managed to negotiate a sizeable discount on a piece of kit as well,One because of being cheeky made the assistant laugh for the first discount then when he found out that Tomasz the Sax player who was with me came from Poland he took off another fifty dollars because it turned out his father originally came from Krakow then by the time it came to pay at the till I managed to haggle yet another 20 dollars off by promising him a guest ticket for the show.Making a total discount of 100 dollars,man was glad I made that trip to the store.Anyway we got back to the hotel just in time to leave for the venue..It was only when I was walking to the stage to put the mallets and music on the stands that I realised I had forgotten something yep"MUSIC SCORES" and in that moment I could clearly see them still in my room at the hotel in my Laptop bag.This was the first day that I hadn't taken my Laptop out of the hotel with me so it was an easy mistake to make.Fortunately the hotel was 5 minutes away so I managed to get a lift and get back before the Soundcheck had started!Sound check was short and sweet running through a couple of Ellington pieces and a couple of Bach movements as well,followed by the first proper run through of Nigel's number "Ssshh".Then it was off to eat dinner.It was only while trying to get a good phone signal as we are two floors under the ground in our dressing room and there are no signals happening there that I decided to venture outside of the theatre but as I opened the door I was greeted by a full scale thunderstorm!Yep lightening, thunder the works absolutely chucking it down out there!
What then happened was flash floods and chaos on the roads that led to major traffic jams all over Melbourne.Needless to say that this affected people trying to get home from work and those trying to get to the show,so we ended up delaying the start of the show by about 25 minutes later than the scheduled start.
When we finally did go on stage it was to a warm reception from a full to the rafters Hamer Hall.The music seriously worked and the whole ensemble were absolutely on top of everything.Nigel was beaming from ear to ear and as always had some hysterical rapport with the audience.
He threw in a couple of numbers that we hadnt rehearsed as well with just the inner band playing they were "Perdido" and "Caravan" that gave a nice contrast to the large Ellington pieces.He ended the concert by kicking a football into the Balcony area!
A great first Concert and reception from the Melbourne audience on the opening leg of the Australian tour and Backstage was definitely a very happy place to be last night.The assistant from the Music store did come along and claim his tickets plus I also fixed it for him to get backstage as well and he had a good laugh and a few drinks with the guys.I wonder how many of them will be down to his shop for discounts on gear before we leave for Sydney?