As various projects and events start looming ever closer, the month of April, (and indeed the following months), look like being extremely busy with tons of preparation work necessary that involve quite a lot of the “team”, so coordinating everything can be very difficult and things change on a daily basis.
Starting with the 2 Journey concerts on the 13th and 14th of July at the Royal Festival Hall, I always wanted them to have extra content from both the studio album and also the wonderful tour of 2014 and so with two great additions to the concerts in Alfie Boe and Robert Powell, I wanted to make sure they were well featured.
For the 2014 tour I added Dance of a Thousand Lights to the performance and also Ride of Your Life, especially adapted for an encore, both of which worked extremely well, so I decided rather than split up the 6 songs that Ashley and Hayley sing, I would take two songs from Return to the Centre of the Earth that would slot nicely in to the story for Alfie to sing, plus give additional adapted narration for Robert.
On April 1st, Erik Jordan and I spent the day making a template to include these additions and after 12 solid hours we had, what we both felt, was a beautifully flowing piece both musically and as a story.....but I’m not going to let the cat out of the bag yet as to which 2 songs I’ve chosen.........Food for thought for everybody, so have fun guessing !
I have already had a full day meeting with Guy Protheroe, (who will be waving the stick), as regards the music for the concerts and indeed there will be at least another three meetings in London before rehearsals start in order to incorporate the additional material.
There will be numerous meeting with management and lots of careful organising to put in place as time is of the essence and as is always the case with huge productions, every second counts.
We have Mark Dawson on board as production manager who did such a fantastic job with King Arthur at the O2 and also working with ARW.
The only three members of previous teams who will be missing are Ian Barfoot who has been collared by someone else for that period and also Darren Crisp, who tour managed the Journey tour in 2014 and Kevin Rowe who looked after the guitarists.
The out front sound will now be well looked after by John Chadwick who has worked on the ARW tours and well equipped for the job.... So, the team so far, (in no particular order), looks like this.....
The Orion Orchestra.
The English Chamber Choir.
Guy Protheroe - conductor.
Mark Dawson - production and stage manager.
Erik Jordan - keys and tons more he will get put upon to deal with!
Tom King - guitar tech.
Malcolm Welch - drum tech.
Rob Ayling - merchandise.
Brian Lane - management.
Valerie Potter - PA to Brian Lane.
Kilimanjaro - agent and promoter.
Alan Day - for Kilimanjaro.
Tony Fernandez - drums.
Matt Pegg - bass.
Dave Colquhoun - guitars
Me - keyboards.
Ashley Holt - vocals.
Hayley Sanderson - vocals.
Alfie Boe - vocals.
Robert Powell - narrator.
On Saturday the 6th I will be leaving home at 5am in order to get to the BBC in London for the Danny Baker Show, which is always brilliant to do. Danny and I have been mates since the early 1970s....which is terrifying!!!
Also during this month I will be working on the additional musical orchestrations for upcoming Moscow concerts with piano and orchestra. More than a few days work with this but I will make a start as the orchestrations will have to be sent in early May.
I am really grateful to two of my lads, (Oscar and Adam), who are helping me in moving equipment into a new secure storage unit, which will take at least 3 days with Erik coordinating. I have been told to stay well clear as I apparently would only get in the way and confuse things.........they know how to hurt a man.
There are a few Piano Odyssey concerts coming up in May and early June and these are......
Saturday 4th May - St Georges Arts Festival in Beckenham/
Thursday 9th May - New Vic in Stafford.
Thursday 16th May - Apex Bury St Edmunds.
Saturday 1st June - The Anvil Basingstoke.
I’d like to finish this GORR by wishing my great friends in Strawbs and all who are attending the 50th anniversary celebrations in America, an absolutely wonderful time. I am truly gutted I can’t be there, but I cannot travel abroad until at least June for personal reasons.
Strawbs were a real big part of my life, most importantly Tony Hooper, John Ford and Richard Hudson but of course Dave Cousins and his stunning lyrics and direction he gave to the band were what made them so good. I am also proud to have introduced both Chas Cronk and Tony Fernandez into the Strawbs fold and of course both Oliver and Adam have been part of various Strawbs line ups.
.....that’s it for now.......back to Journey prep!!!!