Traveller Tip: If you are visiting a ‘closed’ country like Vietnam or China, get some VPN software on your phone/tablet before leaving.
We rehearsed for 6 hours on the 24th and another 5 on the 25th before our first gig that night. That first gig at Beer Mania was 2x 60 minute sets. Given the hectic schedule we have for this tour (10 cities, 15 gigs in 24 days), I really really need to look after myself and my voice. So I turned in early for that first night while some of the others went out and we took it fairly easy for the second days rehearsal.
My main concern with my voice isn’t so much the schedule though; my voice is strong and I sing properly, so as long as I don’t have too many beers beforehand and remember to not overdo it when singing and avoid talking in loud settings outside of the gig, I should be able to do this every day. By ‘properly’, I mean that singing isn’t like shouting; the effort and strain is really closer to talking. No, the main concern is the pollution in Beijing…
A fairly clear day in Beijing
The salad was nice at first but got a bit too saucy towards the end!
‘Round-eyes’ survival kit
…and getting sick from the travel. The Hong Kong -> Beijing plane sounded like a cross between a piggery and a hospital with the snorting and coughing going on. Coughing is the main voice killer for me.
What this means is that my downtime, at least in Beijing, isn’t doing the tourist-y stuff. I did a bit of that last visit seeing the Great Wall, Tianamin Square etc. This time my downtime is sitting in a cafe next to the hostel eating a salad with way too much sauce/dressing and writing this.
OK peeps, gotta shoot. We’re playing tonight at a venue we had to cancel on last year because it was torrential rain and the roof was leaking onto the stage. Oh, and it’s raining outside now – hopefully they’ve fixed the roof!
It was a long day getting here, leaving Adelaide at 10am and not hitting the Beijing bed until 6am the next day. The Melbourne to Honkers leg was really good considering it was 9 hours. Hong Kong to Beijing was only 4 hours but a lot more cramped and stressful.
When I landed, it was a typical torrential Beijing downpour. As a result, my baggage arrived soaked, meaning some of the contents were a bit damp too. Add a mixed up booking at the hostel and a broken handle on the suitcase, the crankypants were almost ready to be donned.
Luckily things were sorted in time to avoid a right royal (princessly) foot stamping and I managed to grab a few hours nap, go down for breakfast and meet the guys, and then return for a few hours coma.
By the time I woke, the others had already left for practice and so I found my way there solo on the Beijing subway with some help of a scrawled note from Peter and a vague memory from 2 years ago.
Traveller Tip: If you are staying in a foreign city for any length of time and they have a subway system, get familiar with it. It is amazing how much easier life is when you don’t have to find taxis.
Only as I sat down did I realise I should have put more thought into my sock collection
Welcome to the journal for the 2014 “Second Time Around” tour of China. The focus will be on relaying the adventure, drama and gigs we encounter and hopefully some stories about our growing Chinese fan base.
This tour is jam packed and due to my lack of annual leave, I’m working on Monday 22nd, flying on 23rd, having 2 days of prac from 24th. We’re then doing 15 gigs and 10 cities over the next 22 days before I fly back, arriving on the 19th Oct and back at work on the 20th. (If you’re talking to me on the 20th October and I’m a bit slow with my responses, it’s entirely possible I’m actually asleep).
Following the tour to Thailand over new years 2013/2014, we had a bit of a rest and since about May we’ve been practising reasonably regularly. Having most of the band now residing in Adelaide has meant that we’ve been able to work on our presentation more than for previous tours. I’m really excited to see if there’s a difference in the audience reactions.
This tour is also different for me personally as I’m not able to rely on my (now ex-)wife to double check we’ve got everything ready. I must admit I’m getting a little paranoid about what is ready and what needs doing. I’m going in a little less wide-eyed, having done Beijing and Shanghai in 2012, but this isn’t like a holiday at West Beach caravan Park – if I forget something, I can’t just pop back home and grab it.
From the last China tour I know that there’s going to be heaps of OMG moments as we visit new place, so please hop in to the band bus and enjoy the ride 🙂