Eric Baines

Day 2 and 3: Moscow and St. Petersburg

by eric on Oct.12, 2010, under Eastern Europe Tour 2010, Music, Uncategorized

We had our first show yesterday in Moscow and it was a little rough. We have a new drummer in the band who is a great player but only had one rehearsal before we left the states to learn 25 songs. Not an easy task. Keiko Matsui’s music is deceptively challenging, especially for the drummer. It involves a lot of different styles of music. It’s a mixture of classical, fusion, smooth jazz, latin, straight ahead jazz, south African pop, world music, and rock. So instead of just a sound check we had a 3 hour rehearsal before performing our 2 hour show. Add on jet lag and it was a long day. Luckily, there was a bottle of Jagermeister waiting for me in the dressing room. It was an almost sold out crowd, however, and they all dug it.

You may wonder why anyone even knows about Keiko Matsui in Russia…well I would wonder. There’s an Olympic gold medalist figure skater from Russia named Irina Slutskaya. She won a national gold medal skating to one of Keiko’s songs. Between that and touring over here for the last 7 years, she’s managed to build a good following. There are billboards all around town and the people really love her. So in spite of the rough patches the show was well received.

We awoke this morning at 5 am to catch our 8:15 flight to St. Petersburg. I am by no means a morning person (check out my song “Don’t Be Like Me” on Itunes and that will tell you all about it) but between the schedule and the 11 hour time difference I become one on the road. I had about 4 hours of sleep last night, took a flight, sat in traffic in a van for an hour and a half then checked into our hotel. Now I’ve got 2 hours to chill before lunch, sound check, show and dinner. I’ll then be a bit drunk on Jager and Russian vodka and pass out for a couple of hours before we wake up tomorrow for another early flight.

That is the glamorous life of a jazz musician. I usually call these the Keiko Matsui “beat you up tours”. Keiko tells a joke on stage about how she feels like she puts us through Russian survival training. It’s rough but this life gets a addicting. It becomes a challenge to see how much you can endure. We once traveled 18 hours on planes and vans to Pori, Finland for the Jazz Festival and arrived 45 minutes before downbeat. No time for showers or naps or anything. Ready, set, go! Another time I flew 32 hours home from a Keiko gig in Johannesberg, South Africa, landed in Las Vegas via L.A. at 4pm and was on stage by 6pm at the Mirage Hotel. You have to get good at sleeping on planes, train, vans, airport, buses and sometimes you’ll find us all crashed out together in the dressing room. It’s crazy but it’s exciting.

Speaking of exciting, I’ve got get cleaned up and rock the people of St. Petersberg, Russia. I’ll let you know how it goes.


1 Comment for this entry

  • Serge

    was amazing concert in Moscow. Special thanx for youк crazy bass solo in “Allure” (i believe) :) You are wonderful musician..

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