The Tiger Journals
#4: Faster Than Lightning
The week leading
up to the big weekend was driving, moving gear, rehearsing and posing for
photographs, both in rehearsal studios and at the venue. It was great see James
after all this time, and the chemistry was still there as we went through the
sets in rehearsal.
Walking in to
the venue on load-in day was quite an experience of Déjà vu – Road cases,
equipment in various stages of assembly, scurrying technicians all seemingly as
we had left them, twelve years ago. After reality had set in and the stage gear
was up, it was in to playing the sets on the performance stage while final
touches went on around us. On the Thursday night, we left the place knowing that
the next time we walked through those doors it would be for real – Showtime.
The day of the
first gig got off to a good start when I got out of bed and couldn’t swallow.
Fortunately, the problem was in my head not my throat, so I proceeded to focus
my thoughts on what lay ahead. It had been a long time since I had performed
live, and even longer since I had performed live at this level, so I had spent
the weeks of preparation making sure that there was no margin for error in my
playing or my knowledge of the material. I was better prepared for this than I
had been for anything else in my career, and I knew it.
Once the world
was left outside the Charles Hotel, it was into ‘Gig Mode’. The guitars were
taken off to be tuned and polished, stage clothes were racked, and we were sent
out to do a quick meet and greet with VIP guests and early comers. Once that was
out of the way, the band gathered backstage to get changed, review the set lists
and do whatever we did as individuals in those last few minutes before going on
stage. For my part, I was withdrawn and intense, as I remember it. I had built
my passion and rage to this point, and as I heard the intro track run, I was
ready to take the lid off and give it all to those poor, hapless souls in the
exactly what happened.
I suspect that
sportsmen and women have similar problems with recalling exact moments in great
games they’ve played. The event in itself is so awesome to be lost in that it
seems to blur into a montage of images, sounds and feelings. I do remember
clearly the feeling I got from the crowd as we walked on stage for the first
time. They felt the same as we did – it was good to be back. The response that
flowed up on to the stage from the room was almost a physical thing, and there
was more than one moment in the course of the performance that I was lifted from
exhaustion by the look on someone’s face.
The songs all
went over a treat with the fans singing every word. It was great to see Croz
(Dave Crosby – vocals) work the crowd as only he can, not to mention once again
harmonize with that incredible voice.
The guys all
performed in spectacular style, with no loss in ability but a dozen year’s more
experience. We locked in together as only a seasoned combination can, and put on
the shows of our lives.
show was even bigger than the Friday, both shows crowds pushing capacity. The
second night’s gig was a little easier to recall, as we were all a little less
frantic. The Saturday night was always our traditional night at The Charles, and
a lot of people shared the sentiment. There were familiar faces all through the
crowd, as well as a gratifyingly large number of new ones. It was Classic Tiger
– the audience knew when to sing, when to give ‘The Salute’, and were as much a
part of the show as the five of us. We went out and mingled after the gig, and
were overcome by the genuine sentiment of welcome and love from those who stayed
to meet us. In a word, inspirational. In another word, humbling.
(Review with photos due shortly - Ed.)