26 April 2012

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The current European tour started as a Double Tandem gig in Novara, Italy. From that point the concert pattern with Paal Nilssen-Love has been a long travel day (Novara, Italy>Glasgow, Scotland= 9 hrs, 10am pickup/7pm arrival; Glasgow>Jena, Germany= 10+ hrs, 10:45am pickup/9:30pm arrival; Jena>Oradea, Romania= 16+ hrs, 8:15am pickup/2:30am arrival [3:30 w/time change]. The hardest aspect, however, has not been the long travel; the hardest part has been establishing a performance rhythm.

There has been either no way to travel the necessary distances with flights and trains and make it to shows on the same day, or the concerts had to fall on the date after our arrival due to the fact that they were part of performance series falling on a specific day of the week. It may have been the nearly 17 hours in trains and a car to get from Germany to Romania the day previous, or the huge traditional barbecue the day of the duo show on Wednesday the 25th, but I think it was the fact that for 3 gigs in a row we had had a day “off” (traveling like that is not a day off) between each performance that made it so difficult for me to find focus during the first half of the show in Oradea; after about 30 minutes I began to gain creative clarity and ground, by the end of the concert things were really cooking, as evidenced by the request from the audience for two encores. Further proof that having a performance “rhythm” is essential came the next day when Paal and I had a duo performance in Komarom, Hungary at the Mediawave Festival.

We left the hotel at 7:30am after getting to bed around 3, then buy paxil traveled with a train that arrived in Budapest an hour late, which meant we missed our connection, eventually arriving at our destination 2 hours late, another 8 and 1/2 hours in transit- time for a late lunch and a quick nap before heading to the festival to play. In Komarom, despite more sleep deprivation and another full day in transit, plus the seemingly regular issues meeting the requirements of the drum rider, Paal and I hit the stage running- from moment 1 we were deep inside the process, feeling connected to the flow we had left at the end of the concert the night before in Romania, and taking that somewhere new in Hungary. The crowd responded with total enthusiasm, asking for 2 encores, the only frustration during the gig occurred in the middle of a drum solo when Paal had to stop mid phrase to ask a photographer to quit climbing up onto the stage to take pictures. It’s surprising how often people taking photos seem to lose track of where they are- at a concert- that their motion in front of the stage is a visual distraction for the audience and that the clicking of their camera shutters (or the sound of this still needlessly set on their digital cameras) is an audible disruption during quiet passages in the music. More cooperation and respect for the musicians from people documenting the performances- whether with photographs, filming, or recording- would lead to a better concert environment for everyone involved, and better creative results for everybody as well.

Speaking of a photographer who works with respect for the music, some shots by Elena Márquez from the Free Fall concert in Vic, Spain during February http://www.flickr.com/photos/lacautiva/sets/72157629178565940/show/