After encountering one of the smokiest backstage in the history of mankind between sets, and quickly discussing the details for the second half of the concert, the band returned to the stage ready to play. We’d shaken off any nerves and worked out the acoustics, it was time to dig in and let go. As we walked out on stage you could feel the heightened sense of expectation from the audience, bouts of applause and shouts of enthusiasm. I walked up to the mic and said thank you in Ukrainian, “Djakuju.” The crowd erupted with a roar. It was one of the most exhilarating moments I’ve ever had in front of an audience, and it was made possible using a language I don’t understand. From the first moment of the second set it was clear that the band now owned the music, the group performed superbly, ending the show to a standing ovation and demand for an encore, which we didn’t have. I threw a quick-form improvisation together while we stood backstage and we walked back to play; not the most cohesive music in the world but a joyful noise nonetheless.
Afterwards the band went to the hotel to drop off equipment before heading to dinner. As I unloaded my horns from the back of the van, the driver gave me a huge package- a folded banner. “For you,” he said. What was I going to with a two storey high photo of my face? “Thanks very much,” I replied as I put the package on top of my suitcase. He drove off with a wave. As I stepped up on the curb I slipped on the ice and the banner fell, opening a bit as it hit the ground- it was the advertisement for batteries.
Dinner was fantastic, everyone in an incredibly good mood despite being worn out and being faced with another 5am departure. Nervously, I walked up to the man in charge in Lvov as he sat talking with many friends at a large table. Without his help there wouldn’t have been a second concert for the Resonance project, Marek had contacted him last minute after a cancellation in Poland and he quickly organized this incredible opportunity for the band to play in the Ukraine.
© 2023 Ken Vandermark – musician & composer | Disclaimer