Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Mumbai - India

We land in the early hours. The air is dusty but its not as hot as I'd thought it would be. We are taken on to a coach for the drive to the airport, our bags are loaded on to a truck which may never make it, in fact 99.9% of the transport looks like it may never make it to the end of the road...except for the tuk-tuks. There is a taxi rank at the airport which stretches as far as i can see. There must be 2 or 3 thousand of these tiny 3 wheelers parked up, like gods own bumper car ride, all sleeping waiting for daylight...The drivers that are on duty throughout the night sit on the corners of road junctions, or even in the middle of the road, huddled around fires in 3's or more. It's very calm and quite unlike anything I've seen before.
The hotel is great, a room to myself. I try and get some sleep as we have a production rehearsal tomorrow and I'm quite worried. This gig is a big deal and I'm not quite ready...but fuck it...head first into the void (as usual)!
I awake to find a woman outside my window in a sari doing her washing in a bucket. I try out my new camera and get some great pics. Dogs are running everywhere, cows walk amongst the cars and it's mayhem. Absolute carnage...but everyone keeps going, edging forward, finding space, turning 90 degrees into oncoming traffic, and we are in the middle of it all on a coach heading for the gig...
I had been told that the stage would be made from bamboo poles and the stage set (which every venue must supply the basic layout, and the set boys add scrims, backdrops and bridges etc) would be made from wood. I laughed and shrugged the suggestion off my broad shoulders. But the bastards were right...almost. The set was in fact made from old scaffolding planks and long nails. Very long nails. Which went through both pieces of the wooden join and kept going. The coolest thing was that it looked Egyptian even before we put the Egyptian stage scrims on it! There were local crew everywhere, hundreds of them, hammering, sweeping the dust off the stage, watching other local crew hammering who in turn would stop hammering and watch the sweepers. Then everyone would stop and watch us. Sean (my mentor and Adrian's Uber-tech) had a crowd of people sitting above him on the set watching him change strings, totally engrossed in the art of the guitar technician.
With the gear set up, the crew took to the stage with the new line up of Dark Twat. Hitting the small crowd of locals with a spirited run through of AC/DC's Highway To Hell (abridged), the fans went mild. Still...we have time to fine tune the set (see above song) in the coming weeks.
We headed back to the hotel around 7ish to order a fine curry.

Show Day
The band came down to the gig early to soundcheck (a very rare occurrence) and spent an hour getting levels sorted in the bright sunlight. When they opened the venue doors it was a strange site. There was a sea of brown faces and black hair, screaming from the moment they arrived inside totally hyped up. This lasted until the moment the house lights went down (some 6 hours later), only to be replaced by mass hysteria. Dave shook my hand, wished me luck and seconds later ran on to the stage. The cable had snagged on the wah pedal and he turned laughing at me. I ran out and freed it up, and spent the next 100 minutes on my knees trying to keep up with Dave, watching his cable, my head spinning. Fucking hell...it's Iron Maiden...and I'm on the other end of the lead! Why am i kneeling down doing my gig? I've no idea but there's no time to think of a better way right now.
I compared this moment with Marillions usual show...which did not help, as Bruce came bowling into me on the way back though the curtain. Shit...am I up for this?? Another 22 shows?? Tough shit...I had agreed to do it, they had agreed to take a chance on me so I was going to give it 200%. The show finished and Dave patted me on the back. I was exhausted and spent the next two days with my legs in agony. It can only get better...surely?

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