With the sun straining to burn through the typical October marine layer of low cloud, our Santa Monica base is as comforting as ever. We’ve been parked up at the Casa del Mar for almost a week now and the Brits have just about acclimatized to the time zone. With a few days of rehearsals under our belts at a great rehearsal location up the road which once was a well known recording studio, designed, built and run by George Massenburg we were eager to get cracking and play to a live audience once again.
Lighting man Ewan Cameron uses an ingenious ‘virtual stage’ system , on screen to put together the lighting presets in our limited rehearsal period.
US audiences have always been wonderful and we were looking forward to playing our full set over here since the last time we were here on 2012, our stage time was so prohibited. Our sound-checks were often truncated too at the hands of the illustrious Mr. Bob so it was with relish that we took to the stage of the Terrace Theatre, Long Beach and fine-tuned our monitor mixes.
It’s a while since we’ve played indoors and inevitably, things change over time, the excitement of our outdoor run of shows in the blistering Summer heat of Spain now seems so long ago. Yet once we started running the songs, it felt eerily like it was only yesterday. Muscle memory and that mysterious part of the brain which remembers things before you realize it were in full operation both during rehearsals, sound-check and the show itself. It’s a strange phenomenon but sure enough, one can stare blankly and bewildered at your instrument at the beginning of a tune but somehow your hands and feet find themselves in the right place and to ones own personal amazement and amusement, the right notes come out….at the right time. MOST of the time. We all talk about this after the show.
The show itself was everything we expected it to be. A wonderfully warm reception, a front row full of familiar smiling faces, some of whom had traveled from across the country and indeed Europe. I can’t recall the band having ever played a show in Long Beach before so Paul Crockford’s pre-show announcement included the words “please welcome to..” and we took to the stage. When it came to the band introductions during the show, Mark payed particular attention to local man Jim Cox who has lived in the Long Beach area since 1976. When Jim was announced he received the warmest of standing ovations.
As always, the time flew by and we were into our encores before we realized it and standing at the front of the stage lapping up the warm applause. Jim’s friends and family being major contributors to the din. We waved and left and headed back to the bar of the Casa del Mar which as we remember from previous mid-week nights, closes at a ridiculously early hour. One of the few black marks against this hotel. Tim, our tour manager managed to squeeze a few extra rounds of drinks out of a reluctant bar staff and we toasted being back together again after our brief layoff. It was great to see our dear friend Pieta Brown, who came along to the show with her mum and we sat and chatted with them until the hotel had had enough and the ‘house lights’ were unceremoniously illuminated. Sunglasses would have been in order at this point.