We just finished our gig and spotlight in the big time! The blues band that I play in usually called “The Groove Doctors”, but for this particular job, we were known as “The Rockin Angels” as our friend Patrick from Singapore got us the job and “The Rockin Angels” is the name of his club in Phuket town. We like the name and may even change to it permanently.
So, he came out and played with us one night and told us we had the job. Now “Carabao” is the biggest rock band in Thailand and we couldn’t believe we were to play opening act for them, but Thailand is the land of opportunity to me this year and I got pretty excited about it. Then a friend of mine came to me 3 days ago and told me there are 12 trucks over there already unloading tons of equipment. So, Roger and I took a ride over to Patong the day before the job to see this huge operation. I’ll try to explain what I saw: Next to the beach, where the ripped an old hotel down, there was about 7 acres of land. They had built a stage aprox 65’ across by 30’ deep. Beside the stage was a string of huge speakers strung up about 35’ high and then about 8 huge bass cabinets on each side. Next to that was scaffolding set up about 50’ high that we found out later was for the big TV screens on both sides of the stage that would eventually have OUR faces and band live broadcasted on them. (we never got to see ourselves but our friends all said it was very cool!)
So, they were hooking everything up and testing it out. I couldn’t believe how clear the music was from 100 meters back as well as right in front of the speakers. On the stage itself was one of the biggest PA systems I had ever played through in my past facing the band for our state sound. Plus in front or to the side of each person, was 2 huge monitors. The Mackie board aside of the keyboards was 48 channels for the on stage mix!
I had 4 keyboards including a Kurtweil piano, and 3 Korg synthesizers.
Plus I had a small PA system behind me just for the separate keyboard mix. All the guitars (we had 3 in our band but Carabao has 5) had twin Marshall amps. There were 5 wireless mikes plus 5 regular mikes. (We were told they’d all be hot if we wanted to run around and sing from wherever.) For power, they had 70,000 watts per side for the mains and 24,000 for the stage mix. The speakers were from an American Co. called EAW out of MASS. EVERYTHING was brand new! The speakers and the power amps cost $500,000. The company that put it all on, P-Audio sound equipment out of Bangkok, chartered 2 747’s to bring 700 people down from Bangkok and put them up in that new hotel we had a room in which was just built and owned by the then Prime Minister of Thailand. (Taksin)
Then yesterday, I was a nervous wreck as I don’t know all of our songs very well and the band doesn’t practice much. But it’s blues and as long as I know what key it’s in. I just decide which keyboard I want to play. Also in 2 songs, I play acoustic guitar. We got to the job and they had a beautiful room, next to the pool in the newest hotel in Patong “Graceland”. We went up for our sound check at 5 and the grounds were empty but many Thais lined the beach watching over or through the fence. We spent about 45 minutes on sound and then went right into our set.
We had to keep telling the people that it was a free concert and eventually they drifted in. By the end of the night, it was estimated to be around 8,000-10,000 people there. We started in daylight and once it got dark, the lights were incredible. I counted 240 lights above us under the canopy, plus 10 of those robot strobe machines that are computerized. Plus out in the crowd was 2 towers of lights that looked like a circus or carnival. Later, these things spun around. There were 4 cameramen shooting the video including one guy up on a boom that was hovering and moving about 3 feet over the crowd’s heads.
We played for 1 ½ hours and then it started to rain and everybody left. After a while it stopped and another band (Thai) came and played 4 songs and it started to rain again and emptied out. Finally Carabao came on and played for about 1 ½ hours and the place was totally packed! We stayed backstage for the whole event and got drunk and even got most of our friends back there. It was amazing in that they were checking every little bag coming in but we were allowed to do whatever we wanted and not only they never checked our bags, the cops were asking as when Caribao was coming on.
So, it was my first experience in the big time and I really enjoyed it. Our lead guitar player from Wales (excellent musician) told me I should pick up my acoustic whenever I wanted and just run around. So, I ended up doing just that in one song that I didn’t know too good and just turned it down and ran around getting everybody loosened up.
Last night we played our regular Sunday night gig in the local bar here and sounded the best we ever did because we were very relaxed and laid back. The pressure was off.
ps. our band “The Harmony-Catz” and acoustic band with 3 part harmonies in most songs, just finished our CD (Aug 2007) and you can hear exerts from it by clicking on the link at the right “Harmony Catz” under “blogroll” and then looking for the button at the bottom of that page. Enjoy!