Eric Baines

…And more Vodka…

by eric on Oct.22, 2010, under Eastern Europe Tour 2010, Music, Uncategorized

We had a great show in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. It’s an awesome city and the people are cool. We always have a good time there. After the show we slept for a couple of hours and it was off to the train station for a short, 6 hour ride to Kiev. We arrive there at 12:30pm, checked in and went to a 4pm rehearsal. In Kiev we’ll be performing with a local orchestra of about 35 to 40 pieces. So we hung out in Kiev for 2 days just to rehearse. The rehearsal took place in an older theater which I suspect the local musicians just broke into because there was no heat or running water. It was pretty funny watching 40 people all playing in their coats. This also makes everything sound really bad because horns go out of tune when they get cold and not at the same rate. Basses and electric keyboards don’t change at all. You can imagine how lovely that sounds. I’m not a big fan of rehearsals anyway so this made me pretty grumpy. Not to mention the fact that we’re rehearsing songs that I’ve been playing for years. I wish I could’ve sent a sub and gotten some sleep instead but I endured like the professional that I am.

We had a great show in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. It’s an awesome city and the people are cool. We always have a good time there. After the show we slept for a couple of hours and it was off to the train station for a short, 6 hour ride to Kiev. We arrived there at 12:30pm, checked in and went to a 4pm rehearsal. In Kiev we’ll be performing with a local orchestra of about 35 to 40 pieces. So we hung out in Kiev for 2 days just to rehearse. The rehearsal took place in an older theater which I suspect the local musicians just broke into because there was no heat or running water. It was pretty funny watching 40 people all playing in their coats. This also makes everything sound really bad because horns go out of tune when they get cold and not at the same rate. Basses and electric keyboards don’t change at all. You can imagine how lovely that sounds. I’m not a big fan of rehearsals anyway so this made me pretty grumpy. Not to mention the fact that we’re rehearsing songs that I’ve been playing for years. I wish I could’ve sent a sub and gotten some sleep instead but I endured like the professional that I am.

The next day, after a nice long night of sleep, we awoke for another rehearsal. Yippie! This one, much to my surprise, turned out to be quite interesting. When I arrived I was greeted by the double bass player that I had met last year when we played. He told me he was tired from working late the night before and drinking too much vodka. I told him I loved the vodka in Ukraine. He said “would you like some?” I laughed and said “sure” thinking he was only kidding. It was 11:30 in the morning. He has to be kidding…right? We played a couple of songs and he called me out to the lobby where he pulled out a bottle of vodka and started pouring. To refuse would’ve been rude so away we went. We were joined by our percussion player the legendary Steve Reid, and a trombone player. Then the four of us, I kid you not, finished off an entire bottle of vodka in about 10 minutes and I hadn‘t even eaten breakfast yet. At that point it turned into the best rehearsal ever. I’ve never enjoyed rehearsing more. The band sounded amazing! After another hour we took another break and finished off yet another bottle. I love Kiev!

We were also visited by our biggest fans in Kiev that we affectionately refer to as the twins. I met the twins years ago, in a very drunken state, playing in a great little bar after a show. They’ve become great fans of Keiko and hang out with us whenever we’re in town. We never tell them where we’re rehearsing but they somehow find us every time. It’s a little scary now that I think about it. Anyway, big shout out to the twins!

The good times just kept on rolling. After five hours of rehearsing we headed straight to the train station for a 15 hour over night ride to Lugansk. We were met there by a take out dinner which included two more bottles of vodka. We got settled in and the entire band and crew squeezed into my 2 person sleeper car for a party. Everybody drank, laughed and then retired to their own cars. After drinking literally all day I slept like a baby on the train.

We’re now in Lugansk where we have a few hours to get cleaned up before we play a show and then jump on a cramped bus for a 13 hour drive over night and this bus isn’t even pretending to be a sleeper. Ugh!


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