Fri 14th Jan – Gullivers Travels. Show at BuddhaAside: The way we interact with others is a very subtly learned skill. This came to me as I was walking along Bui Vien, the street our hotel was on, towards Stella’s. Even given the larger number of people, there seemed to be an unusually large number of times that I and the person walking towards me did the “this-way-that-way” dance. At first I thought it might be because they weren’t looking me in the eye, or that I had sunglasses on and they couldn’t see which way I was looking (as a precursor to actually walking in that direction), but then I noticed that others weren’t having the same problem. So I pondered over my cappuccino. What causes a person to naturally veer one way or the other when avoiding a head on collision? Given that a lot of people wear sunglasses, it can’t be the eyes. Do we lean? I don’t think so. Still I pondered. Hmmm. Later, at a shopping centre, I caught an escalator and noticed people standing on the right hand side. It seemed odd, I’m sure the majority stand on the left hand side at home. And then it hit me! It’s how we drive! At home, we drive on the left. And it becomes ingrained that if you’re heading towards something, you’ll veer to the left; it’s not conscious. It works perfectly because the two approaching parties have the same instinctive reaction and move out of each other’s way. In Vietnam, they drive on the right hand side of the road (well, some of the time!). So they’d naturally veer to the right. The whole thing comes unstuck when you get a lefty approaching a righty. They both veer in the same direction. Bloody tourists!!
Today had a real feeling of being a free day after the previous two weeks of recording. Walter, Sabine, John, Karen, Kayla and I all headed off to the local movie theatre to see the premiere of Gulliver’s Travels with Jack Black. It was quite an experience as the theatre was only half full. It was also interesting to see what the locals laughed at compared to us.
That night we returned to the Budda Bar to play a full show for their 6th Anniversary. The bar is in a different district to where we stay and so I went already dressed up to do the sound check. ‘Sound Check’ actually means ‘wait for the gear to arrive, hook it up and work around the bits that don’t work/haven’t been supplied’. Luckily for us, Tequila Bob was there. He is the guy who was buying the Johnny Walker Platinum at the other show; this time he was supplying Tequila shots. Luckily, I was feeling better this time; the last thing I’d want to do is offend him by refusing a second time!
The show went well; in the first set there was a group of about 10 young ‘uns (mainly Australian) in front of us doing shots and being, well, young and drunk. Having said that, they were very respectful and not rude at all (except for constantly asking for us to play more ACDC). I did indulge with the opening lick for “Thunderstruck”. Those that were sober enough to recognise it roared appreciatively.
The proprietor, Miss Thu, was very happy with the turnout at the end of the night. As we were packing up, three locals from the crowd asked if they could borrow our gear. As John and I had already packed away our guitars, the HornDingoes were off somewhere making sure Tequila Bob left penniless and the drum kit was hired, the only one who actually got talked into it was Sneaky Pete, the bass player. So we hung around as they started to play and three girls came up to sing with them. Two of the girls had been dancing in front of me while I played, looking appreciatively and smiling… I had been feeling pretty good about that, but now think they were just looking appreciatively at my snazzy wireless microphone and were smiling because they knew they were up soon. Either that or they just had wind. They played one massive song, made up of about 4 separate songs joined together. I forget too many details (thank you Tequila Bob), but am pretty sure there were a couple of Rihanna tunes in there. After 30 minutes or so they finished up and we made our way back to the Duc Vuong.
Sat 15th Jan – Sleep in. Breakup dinner. Show at Tadao
Seeing as last night was the last full show of the tour and tonight’s show was just a 1 hour set, I spoiled myself a little and slept in, bummed around half the day and then went for sound check at the Tadao bar, across the road from the Acoustic bar. The Tadao was much like the Acoustic with the Fight-Club setup. We set up, plugged in and it sounded great; it looked like being a good show to finish the tour with. So we all toddled back to the Duc Vuong and agreed to meet up at the Indian Restaurant across the road for our farewell dinner before the show.
Our meals arrived and Pete gave his farewell speech, summarising the highlights of the tour and each member’s contributions, and we “ducked back to the Duc” to get changed for the show.
We got there and man, was it loud. There was what looked like a house band playing when we arrived and I put my earplugs in straight away. They played quite heavy music and had 3 different singers come up and belt some out. They were quite good, but lacked a lot in stage presence. I’m particularly conscious of that particular aspect lately and realise I need to do a lot more to develop it, so am always on the lookout to see what others do.
Eventually, our turn came up as we discovered that there was “one free drink per band member”. Now I don’t expect the venues to open the bar, but some of the thought processes behind these places baffle me. One free drink? Do they think we’re going to drink the place dry? They’re already paying us fairly crappily, why penny pinch? They might end up with $50 more in the till at the end of the night, but in the process they’re developing a tight-arse reputation and will progressively have fewer bands to choose from as they turn their venue from being “a fun place with a good crowd” to “hard work for naff all”. If bands have a choice between two venues on a particular night, they will always lose out. Interestingly, the only other time this happened to us (to this extent) was at the Metallic Bar on the final night of last year’s tour. Seems to be a thing with final nights!
So instead of hanging around (the music was too loud to talk, anyway), a few of us headed back to the rooftop of the Duc for last drinks. The next morning Patrick, Sunisa (his wife) and Peter flew out. The tour was officially over.
Let me know what you think in the comments box –
What’s the best ‘rider’ you can think of, have heard of, or have experienced? If you managed a venue, what do you consider would be the best trade-off between looking after your bands and protecting yourself from occasional idiots taking advantage?