Third gig: Colos-Saal – Aschaffenburg (DE)

Hello there! Here we are again. The concert is just finished and I am still steaming in the hotelroom now. It is late (again…). Man, it was hot in Colos-Saal. But I really enjoyed this gig. The audience was killer! The venue was great. And I think we played great also. Still there are some hickups here and there, but to learn 3 hours of music in such a short time… well that comes with the territory.
There where also some minor technical problems, but that would not kill the joy of playing! Man, during Sola Scriptura where Henk plays his Tron-sample, his sampler malfunctioned. It played only 2 seconds of the whole sample. And as he was playing by him self… welll nothing happened. So he tried again, and again just 2 seconds. Neal decided that the audience should sing that choir part, and they did. Hilarious! It was also nice to meet (some) of you in Aschaffenburg. I red that some of you found it a bit too loud, but hey it’s a rock concert  😉
! I talked with the technicians about it and the major problem was the acoustics of the room.  It had totally no sound-absorption, just concrete walls. The high frequency’s where not absorbed, and thus where bouncing in the room. So that made it to loud if you where in the front of the room. Especially my way too loud cymbals (I am waiting on new ones) are real earbleaders with those aggressive high frequencies.  People that where more in the middle or at the back said that the sound was great, so it all depended where you where standing (and your personal taste). When we played in Veenendaal we played probably with even louder stage volume, but due to the absorption material on the walls and ceiling, it was still a great sound. I talked it over with Colos-Saal, and they are looking in to that, so probably Colos-Saal will soon be the best sounding venue of Germany! We’ll see. Colos-Saal rocks!!
Anyway’s we had a blast. Now we have two weeks off, and then the last one of this first leg of the Sola Scriptura Tour is over. We’ll keep in touch! I loaded 4 hours of videocamera tape into my computer, and when I can find the time, I’ll make some movie clips.
If anyone has pictures, please send them to me! I don’t have a lot of pictures, and would love to recieve them.
Thank you Prog lovin’ guyz ‘n girlz for all your love and support for Neal & Band. Let’s enjoy a lot of nice, progressive music together and build this prog-comunity!
CYA in London or somewhere else!
Collin

Second gig: IO-Fest, De Boerderij – Zoetermeer (NL)

WOW – what a day, and what a gig. We had to be in the venue really early, as the festival would start at 16:00, and a hour before the doors would open.
So still half sleeping we entered De Boerderij. A great venue, with great people working there. so after setup and soundcheck, camerarehearsals and some tweaking, tuning etc, the festival took off. It started with a nice group called Dial, formed by ex Pain Of Salvation bassist Kristof Gildenlow. After that it was Mangrove who took the stage with some symphonic rock with hints to Marillion and Genesis.
By the way: Yesterday (Friday) we went to see the soundcheck of Spock’s Beard. It was really strange to see The Beard on stage, and Neal in the hall looking at his old band. After soundcheck we went home again. Jessica was preparing a barbeque for us all, so that was nice. But when a traffic jam hit us, we had to cancell the BBQ, and went to get some fries instead.
Back to our gig. I think it went well. We rocked, and the audience rocked too! It must have been funny to see us ‘fighting’ sometimes with the cameracrew. Henk was playing a fast lick up his keayboard, but then could not finish it, as his hand bumped into the camera. WHAHAHA! I want to see that footage again!! Oh, and when my drumstick broke, it hit the camera(wo)man standing behind me. Sorry for that! 😉
We played the whole set, including the Testimedly, 35 minutes of outtakes of the Testimony album. I really love that one. Actually, the whole set is amazing, all that proggy stuff, combined with ballads and solo’s. It really is worth capturing this. Hopefully the DVD-shoot went well, and we can release it as a DVD. So the whole setlist (with encores) is about 3 hours long. And we play just 8 songs!!! That can only happen at a prog concert!
Tomorrow we have a travelday to Aschaffenburg (near Frankfurt) where we will play on Monday. Hope to see you all there!!
By the way, if you have some pictures of us playing, please send them to me! Because I am behind my drumkit, I cannot make any pictures. Thanx!
Cya!

First gig: The Shelter – Veenendaal (NL)

Oh…. what a day… We started rehearsal an hour later, and then took all the time we needed to prepare, rehearse, soundcheck, etc. Everybody was fried. Man what a day. And as this was also the day of our first gig.. Man what a day. It started to drive me crazy.
As we do not have a tourmanager during these four concerts, somehow I ended up as being the tourmanager. Not that I mind, but it is a bit much. So I am the drummer, bandleader and tourmanager. The whole day everybody was like: Oh, Collin, where is… Oh, Collin what will I… Oh Collin, can you… Oh Collin, how are we.. etc. Well…. You can imagen that I do not have enough time to manage it all, because we where rehearsing, and I cannot be at four places at the same time. So I was really stressed in the afternoon, and at that point I wished I was somewhere else (beach-palmtrees-cocktail etc). And for the first time I totally did not want to play, and would not mind if the gig was cancelled. I was getting afraid that all those things would result in bad playing, so I was a bit nervous. Whaaaaa! I am absolutely NOT complaining here! But I try to give you some insight in how I felt at that moment.
But then we did the final run through. And I was sooo blessed during playing. I really felt God touch me through the music, and it totally lifted me up. During a certain song I felt such a relieve coming over me. That was really intense! After the run through, I was soo happy, and could not wait until the gig started. By the way it was the last day that Esther cooked for us. And she did such a great job. It was way better that a lot of good restaurants. What a luxury to have somebody cooking for us, and it was great. Thanx Esther!! Also the hard work of the rest of the crew, and all that where involved did some great work! Thanx people!!
And then the gig. I hoped for a good turnup, and it was pretty okay. When we hit the first intro-tape, I started to feel the excitement I felt during every concert last year, coming back. Great feeling. I was ready!
When we played the first song, man I was full of energy. I had a blast behind my drumkit. Oh, by the way, that Tama Bubinga kit is sounding so good! Full body, deep low-ends. And that gongdrum!!! WWHHOOOOO what a OEMPF, and what a low-end. I love it! I played the blisters on my hands. 😉

For a first gig, after just 1,5 day’s of rehearsal with Neal, I must say that it all went well. Of course there where little glitches or things not being as smooth as they should be, but that is what you get when there is so little time. The sound and lights where great. Alco (FOH) is a great engineer, who really gets into the music and knows what to do. So I was very happy (as you could see maybe). So we played through the set, and then the first encore came. We had a special extra encore prepared with In The Fire, where we would be joined by Elisa Krijgsman on guitar. The solo-parts where like a G3-guitarbattle. And it was killer! The audience exploded after the solos and made the song ending in such a big way. Man… that was killer! So we went off, and expected that the audience would stay and we could play one more song. But someone turned on the lights, and everybody was walking away, thinking it was the end. So we did not play the last little song. Did I say little? Well…. if a 30-minute epic is little… So all who will see us on Saturday or Monday… Don’t go home to fast 😉  It wil be a blast!
Today we have a day off, so a bit of relaxing, and tonight I will go to Zoetermeer, to see Spocks live!
See you Saturday or Monday, or in London!

Sola tour 2007: Rehearsals Day 3

00:10 – Well… late again. We went through the entire set a few times… When you will come, you will have a real treat!! I promise you!
These days are crazy: we play from 10:00 am to 22:30 every day or something. Just some short breaks in between, and play on! So I play drums for about ten hours a day. ppfff. But I’m Loving It!
Okay, tomorrow the first gig! I am so looking forward to these gigs, what a shame it is only four gigs… But hey, who knows what will follow these gigs!
I am totally ready for bed, so I am so sorry, just a short note now. Friday we have a day off, so probably with more funstuff on this blog.
cya!!

Sola tour 2007: Rehearsals Day 2

00:27 – Okay, I promised that I would write something, so here I am now in the middle of the night writing this blog to you all. First of all , thank you so much for all the kind words. Nice to see that the prog-family is still alive and kicking!!
Today it was again a very loooong day of rehearsals. Neal came in the evening, after a long journey, and difficulties with baggage missing etc. But everything turned out okay. After a great diner, made by a friend of us, Esther Boertien, we played through some Sola stuff, and it ROCKED!!! WOW, these gigs are going to be good!! Well tomorrow more about the playing.
Oh, by the way. We all get our copy of the new live-CD, and is it sounding so good. It really brings a lot of great memories of last year back to mind. You really should get it! I think you all will enjoy it very much!
Still no pictures or new movies, but tomorrow I’ll make some.
We’ll I am keeping it short today, I really want to have some sleep. Okay, tomorrow a new update! Cya!

Sola tour 2007: Rehearsals Day 1

22:15 – So, after a loooong day of hard work I’m home again. This morning we started building all the backline and the monitorsystem. We where busy with tweaking and fine-tuning until 15:00 pppffff… and then played through the set ones, and had a very nice diner. Shoarma!!!! YEAH! In the evening we played through the encore and worked on some specific points. But what a set, it is really great! We are now at our home, the whole band (except Neal) is sleeping at our house. They are now having a vocal-rehearsal and it is 22:45 already (!!). They really work hard! What an honour to work with these musicians.
With this tour, I am using a in-ear monitorsystem by Aviom. A real treat! I can make my own mix with 16 channels of audio, and with some subgroups mixed by Wilco, our monitorguy I have a wonderful mix of all the 40 channels of audio. So it sounds really good.
In Januari I ordered a new drumkit, a Tama Starclassic Maple. So they custom made it for me. It was suppost to arrive in the first week of May, but due to several external difficulties (customs etc) it is still in the docks of Rotterdam. So unfortunately I had to play on another kit. The people from Hoshino Benelux (Tama) where so kind to lend me their endorserkit. This kit was recently used by Rodney Holmes and Harvey Mason. A 6-piece Tama Starclassic Bubinga in a very 70ties style colour: Violet Sparkle. They added a 8” maple tom, as I am using a 7-piece kit.I will make some pictures tomorrow. It sounds great. Bubinga has some deep low-end. Wait till you hear those floortoms… oempf. Somewhere this week I will make a movie of my drumkit, as I have a lot of new things and gimmicks. Really cool!

The soundguys really do a great job. The know what they do, and it is sounding great!
Tomorrow Neal will arrive, and will join us with the rehearsals. As soon as I have some footage, I’ll try to put it up here, but time is limited. We are rehearsing from 10 am to 10 pm every day…. Hopefully I will have some time left somewhere to make and edit a short clip of the rehearsals.

Neal will bring the new liveCD Neal Morse – ? Live! A double live CD we recorded during the Question Mark tour last summer in Columbia Club, Berlin. Neal says it is really good, and sounding great. I can’t wait!

This CD will be sold at the gigs, so be sure to check it out!

Okay, tomorrow a new update! Cya!

Sola tour 2007: Rehearsals started!

Last weekend we had rehearsals with the Neal Morse Band. Without Neal, but with Paul Bielatowicz, our guitarplayer of this mini-tour. He is an awesome guitarplayer from the UK. Want to know more about him? Go to his MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/paulbielatowicz
Also for our first gig, Elisa Krijgsman (he played guitars during the QuestionMark tour in the summer of 2006) will join as a special guest during the encore. That will be great. Here we are rehearsing In The Fire, the soloparts. As you can see, there will be a lot of guitarshredding going on that concert.

So here’s the movie. Be patient, it can take some time to load. It’s worth the wait!

Want to be there? It will be on the 24th of May in The Shelter in Veenendaal, The Netherlands.
Send an email to: neal@novae.nl with your name, adress and how many tickets you want. The ticketprice is 15 euros. Hope to see you there, or  else at the IO-Fest at De Boerderij in Zoetermeer, Holland.