13 Jul 1999 - Rod - St John

When we take a big production out on tour - which is pretty well always - we usually find somewhere a bit off the beaten track to prepare the show. We take about a week in a large hall with good staging and rigging points to 'fly' the lights and some of the PA. The first few days are crew only getting everything up and tested and ironing out any last minute technical problems.

The band then go in for final rehearsals and a run through the full set a couple of times with full lighting ,PA and pyro. This is very important for the pyro so they know where to stand at certain times so as not to get blown up - which has happened occasionally. We then play if possible a pre-tour show to sort out any last minute glitches - or at least that is what we hope! It's also a thankyou to the fans in that area who usually treat us very well. And this time was no exception so thanks to all you fans for making us so welcome these last few days. And with Janick especially in town l'm sure the local bars were happy.

This time the place was St. John in New Brunswick, Canada which is on the Eastern seaboard and quite away from any large cities and, more importantly, any major media centres as we ,like anyone else, like to make our mistakes quietly and out of the press.

Also St John can be a trial to get to which would put off many journos looking for a scoop - as l found out to my cost, taking 38 hours to get from my home in Sussex to the hotel in St John. British Airways were 3 hours late when l left on Friday the 9th so l missed my connection out of Boston so had to stay there overnight. However this wasn't so bad as coincidentally Merck was in town with one of our other bands, KULA SHAKER, who played a blinding gig at the Karma club so all was most certainly not lost. Anyway it was up bright and early the next day to set off for SJ changing at Halifax Nova Sotia. It was a beautiful day and all went well until the weather closed in near to SJ and we couldn't land!! So it was off to Fredericstown and then a cab back to SJ……but we got there in the end…….and the ride was OK as the scenery was amazing-this really is a very beautiful part of the world with massive forests, lakes and the sea.

So on arrival it was straight down to the gig to check out the show with the band-and it looked just great. For personal reasons H was unable to be there that day so we had a run through running tapes and went through the whole show in terms of lights and pyro but Steve is telling you more about all this so l'll leave it.

Local lobster and fish soup, a few beers and bed…..early-ish here but bloody late in the UK !

So to gig day in SJ…..which Nicko will tell you all about ……one day! The day after we were flying to Montreal with Bruce flying our very nice Cessna 419 ( l think ) and Nicko borrowed my laptop to finish his piece for the our website and spent the whole 2 hour flight lovingly typing out this part of his memoirs for you all. l set it up and showed him how to save as he went along and at the end of the flight- over some of the flattest land l've ever seen and over the magnificent St. Lawerence Seaway- Nicko gave it back to me to E-mail back to our trusty admin. The only problem was all the stuff about the gig was no longer there - just the part about the flight itself. l think Nick had a minor disagreement with the laptop at some point and of course lost as we all do. He says he's going to do it again but l think admin is going to post a couple of reviews anyway - its not the same but what can you do …..foiled again by technology!!

On the subject of flying, it really is a tremendous opportunity to fly right across Canada and the USA at around 8000ft so you can see almost everything. It certainly was an experience yesterday flying over part of Eastern Canada. The experience of travelling is one of the good things about touring but the practical logistics of airports, cabs, tour buses and hotels just isn't a lot of fun and can really wear you down after a while. But this way Bruce gets his flying hours- and he LOVES flying -and we get to see some great sites and travel when we wish within reason and have some fun. So if you see a small double prop plane going just over your head wave as it may be us. I think we are going to do the same in Europe too.

We are trying to keep on top of our web admin's insatiable appetite for web news especially as we promised you plenty of action from the tour. It's not always so easy but we will get there with a little help from our friends on the road. The Q & A page is now up and we will put a laptop in the dressing room when we can and answer as much as time permits. I'll answer some of them too if that's OK as sometimes the band don't know everything!!! Or at least l hope they don't.

We will also be posting bang up to date film, photos, reviews etc and are working on other goodies for the best bunch of fans on the planet……and l even mean some of you lot on the BB who are forever whingeing. Remember we have always done our best for you on stage and off but we cannot please all the people all the time…..just….yeah, you know it.

I'm off to the show now. Can't wait. I've a feeling this is going to be one of those legendary tours and judging from the fantastic advance ticket sales pretty well everywhere it would appear you all agree. But let us know what YOU think…Addie keeps us well in touch with your views.

Take care
Rod Smallwood

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