Eric Baines

The Keiko Matsui Mall Tour 2010

by eric on Oct.23, 2010, under Uncategorized

The last few days have been quite trying to say the least. We went 48 hours without a bed, 24 hours without eating and 36 hours without internet. It was the reason that I always hesitate to say yes to these tours. They can really take a toll on your body and your mind.

After the overnight train to Lugansk we played the show. The theater was new and they hadn’t worked out the kinks yet so it was a bit of a challenge but we made it through. We then hopped on a bus that was much less than satisfying. Our lighting director dubbed it “the blender”. It was really loud and the suspension was shot. We felt every bump in the road. After 15 hours we had all turned to milk shakes. I have been trying to stay positive on this trip but this one almost broke me. This was our second night in a row without a bed to sleep in and this bus was pure torture. It was also small and there was no chance of laying flat. My back will never be the same. I had weird dreams all night of falling off of ladders and being bounced around in a gondola. I woke up every 20 minutes or so from my head being bashed against the window from a bump. It was awesome!! We eventually made it Odessa beat up hungry and exhausted. Showtime!

The show in Odessa was interesting. We played in a shopping mall restaurant and the turn out was less than spectacular. There were probably 100 or so people in a room the size of a train station enjoying their dinner and drinks while we played our show. Those are the toughest audiences. It’s a real drag to be in an intimate musical moment and then being ripped from that moment by a blender at the bar or the sound of clanging plates. If you’ve seen the show, you know what I’m talking about. It’s extremely dynamic. We’ve played a lot of supper club type of places but this one was a bit strange. The people were very nice, though. I think they had a good time. After that we had a couple hours to sleep and then it was back on the bus, back to Kiev.

Today in Kiev it was another day of rehearsal with the orchestra for the big show tomorrow and my man on contra-bass didn’t disappoint. He was there ready with another fabulous bottle of vodka and I was there to help him consume it. Needless to say it was a great rehearsal. Seriously, it’s going to be a fun show and everyone is sounding quite good. You’ll probably be able to find it on YouTube eventually.

I should probably introduce you to the band and crew since the tour’s almost over now. The band consists of Kayta Matsuno on guitar, Tom Braxton on saxophones and flute, Felix Pollard on drums, Steve Reid on weapons of mass percussion, myself on bass and of course the amazing Keiko Matsui on piano and keyboards. We also have a lighting director, Andy Hinago and a sound engineer/tour manager, Casey Carrier (who actually used to mix my band when I lived in Denver. We hadn’t seen each other in 15 years). It’s the first time we’ve toured with Casey, Tom and Felix and these guys are handling this craziness with grace. It really takes the right kind of people to survive a trip like this. Most of the time you’re exhausted, dirty, playing on weird gear and expected to go on stage with a smile and rock. These guys have really been hanging in. What an introduction to the band. Don’t worry it’s not always like this (yes it is). Everybody in the band has their own cd’s out and a list of credits a mile long so google them.

Other than that, I’ve been trying keep my mind together and missing my girl. It’s hard to go long stretches without internet and no contact to the outside world. I really start missing home. I wrote a song about it called, “Fill me up to the Top”. Check it out on Itunes (pardon the plug).

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