My last Aussie Floyd blog rambled a little because I had almost no news at all, but subsequent to that I had a few of the most enjoyable days on tour I've had for a while.
I find myself in a slightly bigger dressing room in Chemnitz, sitting lazily on a comfy chair that I nicked from someone else's dressing room because for once I was up earlier than most.
Let's not get distracted by the glamour of Chemnitz, Frankfurt was where all the action happened.
We had a day off, Easter Monday, and two shows which meant 3 nights in the same hotel, a rare treat while touring. Around midday on the first day I met up with an old friend and current production manager for the Rocky Horror Show, Martin Bell. Martin used to work with us as production manager or stage manager depending on what was needed. We found a Starbucks, caught up then proceeded to find a restaurant only to be joined by Steve Mac, Bonney and Andres. As I had no show that day I got stuck in on the beer.
The day progressed nicely, and sometime around 5pm we left the restaurant reasonably drunk (with the exception of Martin who had to work that evening) and were offered a tour of the Rock Horror set.
I jumped in a cab to go back to my hotel arriving around 6. The idea was that I'd freshen up and go back to watch the show. Martin had kindly sorted out some guest tickets for me & some of the guys on our tour.
Alarm bells started to ring in my mind when my phone rang, it was a call from Martin, but I'd only just left him. To cut a long story short the phone call went something like
"Dave, can you read music?"
"I haven't had to since school."
"Our guitarist hasn't turned up."
"Oh, what are you gonna do?"
"Well I'm gonna try a dep but if that doesn't work can you do it?"
"As long as you don't mind it being awful then why not!"
"Do you know the show at all?"
"I think I know three of the songs."
Then there was a shorter second call which basically said "you're on mate".
I paraphrase because as previously mentioned, I was very drunk.
Before I had the chance to contemplate the challenge I had just undertaken I jumped in a cab (somehow Lorelei was in it as well but I don't remember how that happened) and I loaded a playlist of Rocky Horror Show songs on my phone. Might as well make an attempt to learn them was the thought passing through my mind.
I had an hour with the MD, Pablo Navarro, which basically consisted of finding out when I came in, and listening to how he was going to queue me for various things I was bound to screw up.
I must say, Pablo was pretty amazing. He talked me through the whole thing, calling bar numbers and instructions in my headphones while playing impeccably.
"Do some improvisation over this."
"Stop after 3."
"This bits like hey joe in A."
"This is just rock and roll."
"This is your big solo, make it heavy!"
I had no idea of the plot, luckily all three girls from Aussie Floyd, plus Matt & Joe from the sound department were watching and after the show they were telling me about this bit where so and so did this and that, well I had no idea! I confess I was too busy learning the next song moments before I was about to play it to have paid attention.
I got through it, it was far from perfect but they all seemed happy with my playing. It was not the nicest guitar I was using, and the sound was pretty brittle, musically it was like playing a Status Quo set with more key changes. The show happened and the audience loved it which is all that matters at the end of the day.
We retired to the pub and celebrated the success with more beer.
The next night was their night off so a load of the band, crew and one cast member came to see us. It was the first time I'd been a little nervous for a while. From my point of view these were superb musicians who had seen me blag my way through a show drunkenly using someone else's equipment, so I had to prove I really could play!
After our show more beer flowed and I exchanged numbers with a few of them.
We did manage a third meet up in the local pub on my last night in Frankfurt, a slightly quieter affair than the previous two nights but wonderful nonetheless. It's not quantity, it's quality that counts.
I made some new friends and had a thoroughly good time, it really broke up the tour for me, and as they say a change is as good as a rest. I have to thank Martin and Pablo for their patience, and I look forward to seeing Hannah, Jackie, Jérôme and the two Roberts again. There are many others I met and mainly due to the drunkenness I cannot name everyone, I can only apologise, please don't feel slighted.
I don't fully know the telling off the guitarist got after not turning up, but I should really thank him as well because if he'd made it it wouldn't have been anywhere near as much of an adventure!
These two photos were taken by Lara Smiles from the audience on her iPhone. (c) Her, Easter Monday.