Melbourne went very well and there has been good reviews etc in the press! The last night of Melbourne was complete mayhem with the guys out on the town making the most of it all!I was out on my feet tired and fighting the last traces of Jetlag and the time difference so I turned in early missing the last night party completely.We did however meet and hangout with some great people in Melbourne and the Orchestra was full of some fantastic musicians and lovely warm people.
Anyway now for Sydney leg of the tour! Some of the band are staying in a house in the area known as Palm Beach with Nigel further down the coast.They have true to form also had a few scrapes already, starting with a couple of the Polish musicians struggling to swim ashore after getting into difficulties with local currents,These includedfor help to a lifeguard who obviously couldn't hear him at all!He should of waved his arms to attract his attention,Fortunately both he and Tomasz made it back ok and have both decided to stay out of the water ever since,Coincidently at the same time on another beach nearby the Bass Player Adam was also swimming and managed to get into difficulties as well with the currents he ended up crashed on to rocks were he waited to get his breath and strength back and then swam like mad to the shore, sustaining a cut to his leg in the process on the rocks! he has also wisely decided to keep out of the sea for the rest of his stay there.
The guys have also managed to get themselves seriously sunburnt enough to make them look like red Michelin men in the first couple of days!Oh yes andand Piotr the sound monitors technician were bitten and scratched by bracken,brush,bush and insects lurking in their garden while looking for a mobile phone thrown away in anger by one night that manage to bounce off a chair out of a window and straight into the overgrown bit of the garden. Apparently Gary our sound Engineer was repeatedly shouting out helpful things like "Watch out for the Tarantulas they're the size of rats here" that made them even more panicked while frantically using the light from another mobile phone to illuminate the ground around them to see! So now they are finally understanding why everyone has been advising that they use sun cream when you go outside all the time plus we have been enjoying slapping them on the shoulder when ever they walk past just to hear some lovely Polish swear words of which there are many.
Back in Sydney the rest of us are luckily staying in a hotel and doing a lot of sightseeing,taking in the Harbour bridge,The Opera house,the Botanical Gardens and a visit to Darling Harbour on the monorail.loads of huge shopping areas as well.
Rehearsals of the Hendrix Music!
This happened in the gymnasium of a high school based outside Sydney called "Pittwater High".Steve was finding it a challenge getting us into a regular rehearsal space for a late night rehearsal so this worked out perfectly.We also met up for the first time with local Organist Clayton Doley who has a nice style that works well on the Hammond organ he is a good player.Rehearsals were full on didn't sound as if we had only just met.
Opening night at the Basement club was a full house and the venue being one of the best if not the best in Australia for live music never fails to disappoint with a great atmosphere and a hell of a lot of good Jazz memorabilia on the walls,ceiling etc. I saw some posters of a young looking Steve Williamson and Courtney Pine that brought back happy memories.In fact I was last at the Basement in 1987 with Courtney before going on to do shows in Mebourne,Adelaide,Perth followed by a trip to Japan for shows in Tokyo.Although this was in the original Basement club based in another zone back then but I could still feel the same fantastic atmosphere as then and it was real pleasure speaking with Basement owner Chris who remembered me from that tour.
The 1st set we played consisted of "3rd Stone" "Little Wing" followed by "Fire" to close.
The 2nd set consisted of "Drifting,." "In 1983 ( A Merman I should turn to be)" ending the night with "Purple Haze"all pieces were written and arranged by Nigel as extended compositions featuring various musicians at particular moments.Some serious kick ass solos from all the musicians including some blistering Guitar work from Doug Boyle bringing the house down made the backstage area the place to be after the gig,The guest back stage included "Leo Sayer"who told me that he has now settled in Australia.
Our drummerthrough the pain barrier of some serious cramp in his right leg at the end of the first set that had us a little worried but fortunately he managed to do a lot of stretching exercises with Piotr working on him that calmed any concerns we might of had about him playing the next set.In fact he played a huge solo on the "In 1983" piece that also received an ecstatic response from the audience.Nigel was on form and even walked through the crowd at one stage letting people use the bow on his violin while he played!I was using the new lightweight model of the Mallet Kat pro as a Midi controller with a Yamaha Motif xs rack for sounds going through a GT 10 guitar processor, a Mooger Fooger pedal and a stereo volume pedal all going through a Roland Keyboard amp and cab of immense proportions, that still could only just about be heard amongst the mix of ,Marshall,Vox,Rivera and various other huge amps and cabs on stage.The Hendrix stage set up is huge and of course its some great music.I can't wait for the second instalment tonight.Let you know how that goes later!