Long form blogging a tour is, honestly, exhausting. So many things happen that can't be repeated for polite reasons, and so many things sadly get overlooked as of interest to those not actively sitting at airports, train stations and in hire cars who overlook them (usually the writer) This trip is no exception. It was, simply, immense fun. It was Joby Burgess, Gabriel Prokofiev and me winding our way from Princeton to Chicago, via New York, Boston/Houston (I went to B., Joby to H.), Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago, playing some concerts, eating some food and drinking (some) beer. What's not to like?
Princeton: clearly, the Concerto for Bass Drum was the overriding thang for P-ton, but I'd like to point out that I was joined by Interpretative Dancers for our first Nonclassical Club Night on the tour, held at The Terrace Club.
One thing that did strike me was that the conference (around which our whole being in Princeton was based) was an incredibly lucrative affair. There were hundreds of delegates, all paying to discuss their business and findings. There were hotel bills, airfares, restaurant and bar tabs, Starbucks's's... it was a big thing. Really, when we hear people complaining that there's no money in the music industry, we should really make it very clear that there's less money in the performance and creation, and more in the discourse and dissemination, because this thing was doing well.
New York: a quick train and subway and taxi/roller coaster signalled the arrival in NYC, probably my favourite city in the world. We played with Todd Reynolds at Joe's Pub, an awesome venue - it was Todd playing his album 'Outerborough', me playing Gabriel's 'Cello Multitracks', then Todd and I played the gorg. Ravel Duo 3rd mv. It was ultra good.
Then, it was Bjork live the next night. She was simply incredible, which was interesting because I wasn't totally into the album on my iPod, but live was a totally different thing. There isn't a whole lot else to say... go and check out the Biophilia tour when it's near you. Totally worth it.
Boston: all meetings, but did go to the stage premiere of 'Wild Swans'. It was really good, if a little "small theatre"-ish. Big fan of the whole Boston/Cambridge thing.
Milwaukee: go on, if you're my age, you're instantly thinking of this video
That's a fact. Mill-y-walk-ay was great - we all co-ordinated our skedj's to meet at 889 MKE's main radio station for an interview with our concert host, DJ Madhatter. There were some lols to be had, some burritos and some hot-plate coffee, but then we played MOCT that night. What an incredible venue! Amazing audience, they loved the evening (we were joined by local group Unlooped) and DJ Madhatter played Gabriel's Concerto for Turntables, too. To be honest, soundcheck wasn't promising. Nothing worked first time round, and it was all concrete floor and high metal ceilings, so when it was empty, the acoustic was awful, but when it filled up, it was amazing! The next morning wasn't too good, though...
Madison: we hired an SUV. It was all things to all gas-guzzling-people, and it somehow managed to carry all our stuff -
(not pictured, the double back seat and all empty space filled with luggage, music and Gabriel)
So, one long straight road later, and we were in Madison. Gabriel had been once before and spoke very fondly of it, so we went and did a Classical Revolution hosted concert at The Brink. It was a properly luxurious soundcheck followed by some really tasty pizza, so all was good. It was also a very receptive audience, which makes a huge difference, too.
Chicago: now, dear reader, I should probably point out that, maybe 4-5 times a day, I had made a point of trying to get Starbucks to sell me a Trenta Cappuccino. They only do those ridiculous iced drinks in the new comedy size, and I was determined to have one the way I wanted it. It was starting to get annoying, actually, but it was the only thing I wanted. It got to the point that J+G started looking into it for me, just to shut me up. Sadly, no joy at any of the Oasis Services on the long road from Madison to Chicago. Anyway. We arrived, unpacked etc etc etc and re-liased at the HM's Consulate-General's Penthouse overlooking Chicago. Yep. We were being hosted for the evening, and in exchange, we had to play a little bit. No biggy. This was the backdrop -
I took the intent stares this to mean that everyone was focussed on me and my cello, but actually, even the locals were taken by the view!
Sadly, this party marked the end of my tour - London was missing me and I needed to be back for some goPlay stuff, so I left before the Club night and Chicago performance of the Concerto, which was a shame, but necessary. Speaking of which, I should probably be all up on the blogs for goPlay... so much to do, so little time!
goPlay got funding from the Arts Council! It's really exciting and is going to be central to my show at the National Portrait Gallery in March - come along!
Next trip is SXSW - if you're there, it would be really good to see you! Get in touch!