Our first visit to Montreux was most definitely an adventure. First of all, when we arrived in Switzerland our guitars didn’t. They apparently never got on the plane. We were scheduled to perform that night so they had about five hours to find our guitars. They did eventually find them but the stress level was profound. When we finally got on stage (we were the opening act for the festival, as if we needed more pressure) the heat coming off the stage was crazy hot. My guitar was drenched by around the fifth song and went horribly out of tune. I tried in vain to retune it while I played. Finally I told Al (awesome bass buddy) to take a solo while I tuned up, and that did the trick. The MIDI sounds in my set up (synthesizer sounds, which I blend with the regular sounds) were mixed much to loudly by the sound guy, and therefore it was difficult to hear the regular guitar sounds. But we managed to adjust and in the end the performance went pretty well.
After that first night we had several days off before we would be on stage again. We tried to rehearse but could not find a place to play. So we just took in the sights and watched the other bands perform. On Wednesday we played on one of the outside stages. That was fun except they gave me a transformer to use that wound up blowing up my Axon (synthesizer thing). Being the overly prepared monkey that I am I had another one with me. So I just broke it out and everything was good again, though we did loose about 20 minutes of our playing time.
We sold the most number of CDs from that performance, and added many new fans to our list. If you go to check out the performance at the montreuxjazz.com web site, check out the drunken French guy who keeps dancing into the camera view. He was at many of the out side shows we saw and has a very unique way of moving to the music. We enjoyed watching his wine induced interpretive dance steps.
Later that evening I played with BB King.
I had a great time and BB said very nice things. There was this other guy though, an older Kentucky blues man, who was having a lot of difficulty. It seemed like he was really struggling with the whole “Play with other people and follow a chord progression” thing. BB was very pleasant about the whole thing. He never said a cross word to the guy. A perfect gentleman.
Even Later that same evening (3:00 am to be exact) we played as a band again. This time we played at the Jazz Cafe. This might have been our finest moment over there. Even though it was so late (or so early, depending on your perspective) the place was packed. We’d had little or no sleep for two and a half days and were running on straight adrenaline. The audience was totally pumped though and we were inspired by their energy. They were screaming, I was screaming, we were all screaming (no ice cream though). I was so happy when we finished that last set. I felt like this one was a pretty good representation of our “Thing”.
I’ve been getting lots of cool e-mails from the people who saw us over there. Please keep them coming.