Published: April 17th 2012March 26th 2012
Today is usually a lovely-lunch-but-otherwise-nothing-to-report kinda day, But tonight we had our eagerly awaited premiere performance of Gospel, starting at 8 (actually started at 8:20) and running for just over two hours. We also had French classes, so I had no time to go home in between my packed schedule, so having done 75% of the French course, I decided to go grab some dinner before I went to gospel that night. I thought about going to Maccas for the following reasons.
Number 1) Simplicity. There is little to no variation in orders that they’ll ask you in super-fast belge-french for, which eases the ordering process. “Big Mac” is universally acceptable for “I’m Hungry, feed me”. Number 2) you knew exactly what the food was going to taste like, so there were no random surprises. But I decided to scrap this easy dinner and walked into a random looking Islamic diner. I pointed to various things, and using disjointed French kinda made some sort of order for the confused looking Islamic dude to make sence of. It turned out to be one of the nicest things I’ve eaten in Belgium. Although I wouldn’t class it in any way,
shape, or form as ‘fast food’ (bearing in mind it took the guy 20 minutes to construct this masterpiece..), the wait was worth it and just goes to show that if you turn out of you’re comfort zone, and not take the easy way out, you can find some amazing places. But by this time it was getting late so I took off and walked the 500 meters or so back to school. But tonight, i play in two songs that are spread out quite far from one another, so during the show whilst I’m perched up on stage while there’s dramatical pieces going on or songs being played that I don’t feature in, I’ve had to try and find things to do to fill in downtime. Because I’ve kinda got some sorta idea about what the dramas are about (the conflicts that arise between different sorts of classes of people eg. Politicians, scientists, popular people and Religious people), ive reduced myself to either playing ninja fishing (yes, its exactly as childishly awesome as it sounds), or chatting with the violin player.
But all went well when it came up to the finale song (which I play lead guitar
in), and I was totally self-indulgent when it came to the solo, I recorded it on my ipod too, so I might try post that on here if I can. The energy having completed the first show was immense, and the week of performances in front of us, we were all buzzing as we went home after it’d all wrapped up at around 11:30ish to try get some sleep for the massive week ahead.
Tuesday ! and following a school day, I headed home, watched a few of Steven Hawking’s videos on YouTube (which is pretty much my new thing second to playing the guitar and writing blogs that I do in my downtime now). I could literally write another on what I’ve learnt from this guy. Anyway, a fast dinner and drive to the school for a start (after a pre-show warm up) at 8. This time, there were problems with the projector, and in the final scene, there was a resonating “Do-Do” (that noise that happens when you pull the USB out of the slot of a computer), and it was actually really funny, technology will always find a reason to fail. But we worked with it and played backing music till they got it back running, because the show that they made for the final scene that they project is actually really impressive.
Buut apart from that little hiccup, it was all sweet as, and I started to get a little weary at the end of tonight, not a good sign with 5 or so performances left !.
Today, I was so knackered, and I headed home after school for a sleep, Which is what all the gospel kinds did today I hear. But I couldn’t sleep, so I gave an attempt to reading a French music catalogue. Tonight though, there was a problem with the bass guitar. Excuse me, I’m about to get techy here, but we run an all DI (apart from the guitar) thru to the desk, and split that to monitors and mains. But the DI box for the bass was just sounding shit. And with no backup amp (or any amp at all), around half the show had no bass. The audience probably didn’t notice, but for musicians, it’s just empty and hollow without those low frequencies. Just goes to show me that you can’t always trust a Direct-input system, and to at least always take a spare amp. I ADORE the spirit at the moment ! everyone’s so happy, and we always have big dancing singing-along finale songs that we just go pretty crazy at. For the people who it’s their last year at the school here (and therefore the last time playing in Gospel), you can tell their savouring these moments…
So today, we had our first multi-performance day, with one performance just after lunch, and one at the usual time that night. Gotta admit, during the after lunch one, I was getting pretty sleepy, so after school it was equally hard to do French lessons. But at the evening one I actually had the sneakiest little low-key sleep probably ever, and only woke up when a loud song came on. But it was pretty smooth apart from one of the singers forgetting a few words.
Tonight it was one of the best performances we’ve done so far, and we decided to go out after the last show tomorrow and celebrate – Belge style.
The most hardout day of them all ! Today, THREE performances. And by this time all the musicians were showing signs of tiredness. Getting through the morning was sweet, and meant that I missed out on some school and had half the morning off. The afternoon one was okay, apart from a few minor technical problems, but the one everyone was excited for was tonights one. This was always the biggest, with the most people coming and accepted as the most important night being the last aswell. So in all good preparation, while we were messing around in the greenroom, a chant to get me to do a haka started, and reached the kind of level you just can’t resist to perform for. So step by step, move by move, I taught them an alternative version of New Zealand’s Haka. It was the funniest and coolest thing I’ve seen in quite a while, and then a “Henry Henry Henry !” chant was started, and I just felt so great. So accepted you know ? just totally loving the hospitality and people here so much..
But the hall was PACKED when we walked in, extra seats scrounged form all over school to house the amount of people there. So we all had our game faces on, and had an awesome performance night. I just totally dug in when I had my chance to solo the shit out of ‘The Show Must Go On’. After the show I’d talk to another guitarist who was watching (Who, on a side note, has an American Strat with a Fender Hot Rod – The kind of guys I like knowing quite a lot :P ). But after the finale with all the actors coming back on stage and stuff, the director gave a big speech about all the work that went into it and stuff. Just a big wrap up of how great it’s been I guess. And then, right at the end, he announces how much everyone’s appreciated having the ‘Kiwi’ here around and in the show. So he asks me to step forward, and then I got a full cast and audience round of applause, which was just heart-warming. Then the chant – again !, I freaking love it here. I actually accidentally left my iPod recording after the queen show and caught the whole thing. I’ll see if I can upload it. But that moment was definitely one of the highlights of my exchange year so far.
So after this, we had a few beers with the teachers of the school, and packed up some of our gear, and then we all headed down to ‘St Georges’, a sweet ass bar about a ten minute half-run away. There Sacha bought us the first round, and we had a great time drinking and singing songs from the show with all the musicians and tecchies and general cast as well. So after a few here, Victor, Steph, Sacha, Will and I voyaged to the next bar of choice –Beluga. The walk was so funny, shouting and just being so danm rowdy, we couldn’t help but just feel great about what we’d just been a part of I guess. It was awesome there, finally a decent full bar, with Vincent having celebratory drinks for his 18 birthday, so he was in a finnne state. But the night eventually wrapped up some time late that morning, and I think I speak for everyone involved that the sleep in the next morning was freaking amazing.