The empty void after such a great tour

Man…. I try to sleep a lot, do nothing and get my energy back. But I really miss being on tour! Although the daily tasks are calling my name, like running my music school, accounting, and working through tons of emails, I really would like to get in the bus, and drive to the next gig, and play a 3 hour set 😉
Not only the more boring tasks are waiting for me but also some nicer things, like writing songs for my own progressive project Transfusion. I hope to start the actual recording in the spring of 2009. I will give myself the winter to write about ten songs.  Not everything that will come out of my brain will probably finds it way on the CD, so I will have some friends writing for me also. I hope to make a CD with at least 70 minutes of music. I like long gigs, but also long CD’s. Well, let’s see where it all goes to.
I have a lot of lyrical themes running in my head. Themes that dealing with the nonsense of life, and the time we waste on this planet. In stead of doing something with that what God gave us, we let time run through our fingers, and sit before the TV, watching empty lies that we think will make us feel good. The drugs of the masses so to say. It is not that I think that my songs will change anything, but it is always good to get people thinking about their own life.
But it should not only be a heavy serious thing, it should be fun and exciting as well. So I am very curious what will come out of this winter of writing.
Well, I am going to watch a movie or something.
Talk to you all soon!

Tourblog (13) – gig six: Colos-Saal – Aschaffenburg (DE)

Well, that was a great tour, and a great last gig. We came home yesterday evening. And today I slept all morning. The tour buzz still rings in my head. I wish we would be playing tonight, but it will take some time before we will play in Europe again. Or…. well maybe sooner than later. Who knows. I’ll keep you all posted!!
After the concert at Zeche, Bochum we drove in the night to Aschaffenburg, where we arrived at the hotel around 03:30 am. The next day we had a relaxed morning, and went to the venue around noon. Only to find the venue still closed. Somehow they did not expect us so early but we where more than welcome there. Colos-Saal is one of those venues where you HAVE to play, if you are into progressive rock. Great venue, great people and always a good turnout. They know how to treat the artist in such a way you immediately feel at home there. I think it is the same for the audience.
But Colos-Saal is also sound-wise a somewhat more difficult venue. The natural acoustics of the hall are maybe not so ideal for the type of music and players we have in the band (well… ok, for the type of drummer I am, hehehe). It is a venue with only concrete walls, ceiling and floors with totally no absorption what so ever. The ceiling is also very low resulting in a room where the sound is trapped, and bounces back and forth in the room. The physics and the measurements of the room are in that way, that you get a lot of standing sound waves, enhancing certain frequencies in the highs, high-mids, but also in the lows. And because of this bouncing sound, the hall has a larger natural reverb, with some fluttering, making the sound at higher volumes somewhat muddy and washy.
During soundcheck Elisa was playing drums with the band, jamming, and I was with Alco behind the mixing desk. And the drums alone (and Elisa does not half play as loud as I do) were so loud, that when Alco muted the drum tracks, it was still pretty loud. Too loud if you ask me. The frequency of the cymbals where painfully loud. hhhmm….. and I am even not playing yet, hahaha. So if it was too loud for you, the only one to blame is ME!!! hehehe.
But these sound issues are not only the thing at Colos-Saal, it is almost always a problem with clubs for sizes under 700 people. The rooms are most of the time a little too small for all those sound waves to find their place. Last year we had all of those screamingly loud amps on stage, combined with all those floor monitors. The stage volume alone was enough to fill the venues at that time.
For this tour we wanted to lower the stage volume drastically. To do so we used as little of monitors and amps as possible. Except for Neal, the rest of the band played with in-ear monitoring, and there were even no guitar and bass amps on stage. I think that helped a lot, and Alco (our sound man) did a really good job. We got lot of praises about the sound this tour. I hope you liked it! But of course it is impossible to satisfy every person that attends our concerts. What is too soft for one person, can be too loud for the other, too much bass, too less bas, too much guitar, too less guitar, the wrong set list, the right set list and so on and on. That is also part of making art together. It has a lot to do with personal taste. But anyways enough about the room and my acoustically freakin’ loud drums there. We had a great time at Colos-Saal and love it to play there! We hope to be back there somewhere next year!
During set-up I finally found out why my kit was not working the way I did. There where some pieces missing in action (De Boerderij told me that they found some screws, bolts ad parts on the drum riser, the day after our gig), and the piece that holds up my bass drum was shifted down, so the whole kit was not in balance, and bounced up and down, and from left to right while playing, making it very hard to really have the right feel on the kit. I finally repaired that, and the kit played great after that. Finally!! Only to find that out on the last gig of the tour…. 😉
I have joked to Neal about playing everything we rehearsed on the last gig. He said every time the same: “no… that’s to much!”. And I was like, we will see how things work out, but I keep this option open ;). We did the same set list as we did on our first gig in Ede. But added Walking On the Wind, and Neal added the acoustic “Nothing That God Can’t Change” and did the extra song Cradle To The Grave with his son Will. As for the first encore, we did We All Need Some Light Now, and the second encore was Stranger In Your Soul with in the middle Bridge Across Forever. Also at certain points we improvised more than usual, making some songs even longer in that way. All of this was resulting in the whole set list being way over the 3,5 hours of material. But the audience still wanted more! So we came back out and played a funny polka-jam while waiting on Neal to load up his sounds for the 15 minute titel track Lifeline. Elisa even had to turn on his computer, as he shut the while thing down already thinking the gig was done. The crowd where really in to it, and it was soo much fun playing this last gig. It felt really good, the vibe was there, and you could feel God’s Spirit move during a lot of moments. It was great. So this gig we played almost 3,25 hours. pppfff…. And after Lifeline, I was still joking like, okay, come on! Let’s do the 30 minute Question Mark Medley! 🙂 But that would be way too long. Almost 4 hours of music, hahaha.
When it all was done and all the gear was loaded in the van it was time for the whole band & crew to eat some nice Döner Kebap at the Kebap Haus in Aschaffenburg. A small place, but really good kebap 😉 The morning after the whole tour party all sat down, and chatted about the tour, having so much fun together. It is always a bit sad when a tour is finished. You really live day in day out with each other, and making great memories together. So we are already looking forward to what 2009 will bring!
I want to end this tour-blog with saying thanks to all of you fans who came out to the concerts. In total we had over 2100 people attending during 6 shows. And we are very thankful you all came!
But this could not have happened without the hard work of these people:

Alco Roelofs – FOH sound and live recording
Berry de Snoo – guitartech/roady
Max Paans – key/bass tech/roady
Ruben Schuring – drumtech/roady
Julie Harrisson – merch
Victor Dijk – roady
Lindsy Vanderhoeven – box office
John Vis – camera’s during whole tour
Meriam Verkleij – camera’s during whole tour
Matthias Vanderhoeven – tour photographer
Wilco Koudijs – thanks for the wireless mic!

and of course my fellow band members! You did a great job!

Well, for me it is time to work on some other projects, like the CD of Daniel Fries, and my own project TransFusion. And I will be looking into some dates for 2009 for the Neal Morse Band to return to the stages or festivals around Europe. Jessica and I will be working on her soloCD, starting with demoing her own songs, and hoping to release her CD somewhere in 2009!
Hope to see you all on the road some day again!
Collin
p.s. If you have some (or more) great pictures of this tour, and you would be okay if I used them on my website, please let me know by sending me an email!