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wateroftyne

My upcoming Newcastle Arena gigs... a kind-of diary thread

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Hey gang!

A couple of years ago I played two shows at Newcastle Arena, as part of the house band for Sunday for Sammy.

It was lots of fun - two sell out shows of 5,000 each, and I got to play with the likes of Trevor Horn and Ralph McTell. Here's the last diary thread if you're interested. With it being a biennial thing, the time has come around again: 23rd February is the date - afternoon and evening shows, and a slightly larger crowd (7,000 at each show, I think).

The shows have basically become a Tyneside equivalent of the Royal Command Performance, with music and comedy lots of local slebs (the Auf Wiedershehen Pet cast, etc.), visits from AC/DC's Brian Johnson, Mark Knopfler amongst others, and more 'national' faces (hence Trevor Horn, Ralph McTell). This is the 10th show in 20 years, and the second to be held at the Arena after 16 years at Newcastle City Hall. It's a HUGE production, which is also shot for DVD release.

By nature of the show, plans can be a bit liquid which means it can get interesting,  so I'm going to post a diary sort-of thing here as it all unfolds. To complicate things, the line-up is top secret until the last minute so I can't post any details of the show, songs, or names of guests. Apologies in advance.

The core band for 2020 is largely the same as 2018 - Bass, drums, guitar (John Ashton, who worked with Arctic Monkeys and The Last Shadow Puppets), 3x female BVs (Including Lorraine Crosby, who duetted with Meat Loaf on 'I'd Do Anything for Love', brass section (headed up by John Waugh from The 1975). One change to the line-up is that Jamie, the usual keys player and MD, isn't available so Alan Clark (Dire Straits) is taking the reins. The band don't exist outside of these shows - I play with the drummer and other sax player occasionally, but that's it.

With 3 weeks to go, I'm aware of 13 songs that are in the frame, in keys that are subject to change. I've familiarised myself with them already - some I knew, some I didn't. No nightmares so far. One of the tunes might even need a bit of slap on it. I'd better remind myself how to do that.

What I don't know is any specific arrangements... yet.

We've got a solid week of band rehearsals before the show, so I'll post more updates & pics etc. when it begins to happen.

In the meantime, here's little video from the last gig, and a photo of my little bit of the stage.

P2160018.thumb.jpg.b738fe644904f66bc499cc019d0cf3ae.jpg

 

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There's very little in life that I could get jealous about but this sort of gig is one of them. An audience that size must be such a buzz. The most I've ever played to was about 1500 and I absolutely loved it, an audience of 7000 or more would blow my tiny mind! 

Congratulations on the gig 👍

Edited by Maude

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Great to see this becoming a regular gig ... certainly looks good on the CV!

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I’m pleased you’ve got the gig again. I’ve love proper structured rehearsals and a solid week of it sounds like heaven with a gig like that at the end of it. Looking forward to all the updates. Good luck 👍

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Nice one mate, playing in front of the Toon Army must be spine tingling for any Geordie. Envious? You bet. The only way it could be better would be if it was back at the City Hall, the shrine of music for me.

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Great stuff, good job getting the gig again.

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Are you sure you wouldn't rather be having beer spilt on you at a half full Dog & Duck while pished up punters fall into the PA speakers?

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Thanks for the kind comments, everyone... it's going to be a busy few weeks.

4 hours ago, Billy Apple said:

Flats or rounds?

Looking at the setlist, definitely both 🙂

4 hours ago, mikel said:

The only way it could be better would be if it was back at the City Hall, the shrine of music for me.

Yeah.. I've played the City Hall a few times (not with SfS) and it's incredibly special.

Basically the SfS show has outgrown the Hall, both in terms of the amount of people who want to buy tickets, and logistically. The production just wouldn't fit in there any more.

Great for the charity though, and the producers work very hard to make the show feel - and sound - more intimate than your typical arena gig. Feedback from 2018 suggests they got it right. 

1 hour ago, MacDaddy said:

Are you sure you wouldn't rather be having beer spilt on you at a half full Dog & Duck while pished up punters fall into the PA speakers?

Ha ha... there's plenty of opportunities for that throughout 2020...

--------------------------------------------------------

Forgot to mention in my last post - the general structure is that the band has four or five days of rehearsals without the lead vocalists, and towards the end of the week we (hopefully, but not always) get an hour or so to run through with them, and make any last-minute tweaks. Then the whole shebang moves into the Arena and we have a whole day prior to show for production rehearsals. We'll run though it with them again, so the crew can work out lighting & camera cues etc.

Sometimes the singer(s) aren't available until the day of the show., So, for one of the songs, I've already had a scaled-down acoustic rehearsal with a couple of the guests to confirm they're happy with the key and arrangement. Fortunately all's good - the full band can rehearse the agreed arrangement before the show, and the next time we see them will be at the gig.

One down (kind-of) - twelve to go...

 

 

 

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'Nuther update.

A week to go before rehearsals start, and another song has been added. It is, frankly, a bit of a bass workout, so I've got some work to do...

I'm starting to think another of the songs could benefit from a bit of octave and flanger. Being a complete FX luddite, I've got even more work to do. Where to start...

On another of the tunes, the original bass part is a synth. I've copped that, but there's a chance it'll be played on a synth on the night. We'll see. I might have to flex my tambourine chops for that one 🙂

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Just had another song dropped on me. ha ha. It's another belter, and another I've never played before.

Headphones on.

(By they way, I'm a non-reader (I KNOW) so I'm learning everything by ear. That's the plan, anyway.)

 

 

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Just ran through the newest addition - it's nowhere near as complicated as I assumed. Phew. Just need the key confirmed now. 

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18 hours ago, wateroftyne said:

I'm starting to think another of the songs could benefit from a bit of octave and flanger. Being a complete FX luddite, I've got even more work to do. Where to start...

You can probably achieve this with one of the Zoom multi-effects pedals. You probably also want some eq/gain so you don't get a volume increase/decrease when you turn it on.

I have an MS-60B here sitting doing nothing - I can set up a basic patch for you to play with and post it to you for the duration if that helps. PM me.

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34 minutes ago, pete.young said:

You can probably achieve this with one of the Zoom multi-effects pedals. You probably also want some eq/gain so you don't get a volume increase/decrease when you turn it on.

I have an MS-60B here sitting doing nothing - I can set up a basic patch for you to play with and post it to you for the duration if that helps. PM me.

Thanks, Pete!

I've had some great offers to help via PM, and it's hugely appreciated. BC is awesome.

I'm trying to sort it locally at the moment, but I might call on some of you if it comes to nowt. Thanks again 🙂

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Right... I'm into the .last couple of days before rehearsals start. I can probably concentrate on technical stuff this weekend.

There's 15 songs in total - that's more than in 2018 - and only one of which I knew already. With the prep I've done I'm confident I can go straight into the rehearsal and just play them.

That said, I'd be surprised if all 15 songs end up in the show as they are; I'm not discounting the possibility of changed keys, arrangements, or... a song being dropped completely depending on how the rest of the show pans out. I just have to be prepared for anything.

The backline is being loaded into the rehearsal room on Sunday. The core band is going through basic arrangements on Monday, and we'll be joined by the brass and b.vox from Tuesday. Well not be running through the songs with the actual singers until we shift to the Arena later in the week. Until then, it's guide vocals only.

Gear-wise, nothing new for me:

  • Limelight Precision w/flats
  • Maruszczyk Jake P + Humbucker w/rounds (I bought two sets of DR Sunbeams specially, 'cos I had none in the house. ha ha)
  • Handbox R-400 head (main)
  • Maruszczyk (aka Handbox) Bass Tank head (backup)
  • TKS S212 2x12 cab
  • LR Baggs Venue DI (just to use as an inline tuner)

Still time to tinker beforehand, though...

 

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1 hour ago, wateroftyne said:

Day one in the rehearsal house. I’ve done my prep.. I hope.

C77FEF3E-8E32-4532-A85B-A4D33C22BFB5.jpeg

I dunno, it's possible to be over-prepared 😕

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Some pics from early in day one...

We (the core band, no vocals, BVs, for brass) have  ran through a bit of the set, and so far so good. 

P2170162-Edit.jpg

P2170165.jpg

P2170171.jpg

P2170174.jpg

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Thats a lovely looking organ.😉 Best of luck with the gigs.

Edited by KevB
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25 minutes ago, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

Mmm - no contour 😎

As flat as can be. Sounds mint 🙂

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