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OSTRAVA 2pm Thurs June 7
Writing this in the Phantom office -- in for meeting in preparation of the onslaught at Donington this weekend.
Yesterday we got into Ostrava at about 3.30 and checked into day rooms to pass the time before going to the show. Caught up with the emails and then went down for a swim and sauna, then to the gig. The stadium, home of Ostrava Football Club, was impressive and full of 30,000 from the Czech Republic and also about 3000 from Poland and many from other surrounding countries. All the flags were flying and this multi national feel is almost becoming a fixture at many of our shows. The stadium was very good as was the organization and logistics -- including excellent backstage catering (loved the chicken curry!) the dressing room seemed to be the main reception room with many footballing trophies (locked!) in glass casing around the walls presumably won by Ostrava. The mayor of Ostrava came into the dressing room briefly prior to the show to give the band some local gifts -- including the dog associated with the town. Of course there was the obligatory photo with the mayor -- maybe its re-election year!
Again the weather had been very bad recently and it rained again until about midday but after that it was fine although not a sunny day. The trucks were late again due to local conditions but again our crew dealt with it and the show was not delayed.
The audience was terrific and all went very well and any on stage sound problems had been resolved although Bruce thought his vocals were a bit rough as his voice was a bit blown from the previous two shows when he had to force it a bit when he couldn't hear himself properly. It sounded pretty good to me out front though, in fact the sound right from the beginning was excellent. Occasionally the first number is a bit marred whilst Dougie gets his balances right but as a tour progresses he tends to nail it quicker.
Back in the eighties the band always did sound checks prior to doors opening but then they realized that when the audience came in and especially in a full hall the sound was very different anyway. What could happen was to do a sound check and get a great sound but then go on stage and it was totally different and nowhere near as good which takes a bit out of the momentum. So from then on they enlisted the help of the crew -- many of whom can play very well. In Sofia, as the trucks were late they had to sound check with the audience in, they did a terrific version of Highway to Hell by AC/DC! The crew now do all the checks, tuning and play a bit to get everything ready and the band deal with what they get which is usually spot on after any teething problems getting it all going right in the first couple of shows on a tour.
After the show we got straight into cars with our police escort to the airport, changed in the cars on the way and flew home. I was back in London by 1.30. In the office today, then off to Germany tomorrow. And then Donington -- fingers crossed for the weather!