it was pouring rain in belgium, never a good sign. though i guess if i lived in belgium, it would just be another day like any other. i guess living in california has spoiled me with regards to the sun. the bus seemed to be parked on a freeway, which i thought was a bit strange, but c'est la vie. i was a bit surprised when i headed inside to the backstage...we were playing in this kind of weird mall structure, though it wasn't really a mall. it's difficult for me to describe the venue itself...i can't think of an american equivalent. the ceilings and stage were low, it was sort of a single story rectilinear room with a rented PA (at least, it looked that way). the backstage was clean enough, and the shower was totally decent. shared dressing room, which i kind of like cause it gives us more time to hang out with everyone.
mesh had a long soundcheck tonight, and when we did the changeover, mark was like "best of luck"...after a few minutes, i could see why! the room shape made the sound a little wonky, although we did ultimately get something reasonably decent happening. i felt pretty good about the show sounding good for a change. took a little longer than usual to get there, but i think it sounded alright. after the show, da5id, aaron and i went on a nice long walk through yet another turkish neighborhood. i was a bit confused by the signage, i forgot that they also have the flemish language in belgium. it was still raining pretty hard, so not the greatest walk for sightseeing, but we saw some beautiful churches and parks. much like copenhagen, belgium seems like a place i'd want to come back to explore more when i have more time.
tonight was janosch's last night on the tour, which was a real bummer. especially since he was still feeling kind of sick after cologne, and wasn't really in much of a mood to party with us. also, since we were heading to england via france after the show, we didn't really have a lot of time to hang out after the show. tonights call sheet was the first to mention "monkey island", which i'll touch on again in my next report. in any case, janosch sounded great as always, and even though there weren't a ton of people (belgium had one of the lowest turnouts on the tour, i think), he got them rocking.
once we hit the stage, i immediately broke part of my wireless unit, the clip that connects it to my guitar. definitely not ideal, but you just have to power through it. the wireless units that we bought turned out to be incredible as far as the sound and range go, but they're not the most durable pieces of plastic i've ever worked with. several shows ago, we lost the battery cover to aaron's unit, and now my guitar clip was gone too. well, i'll order a bunch of spares when i get back from the tour, i suppose, an idea that never occurred to me when we were in the rehearsal stages.
that minor mishap aside, it's worth mentioning that i think that the performance and sound were reasonably good tonight. at some point i jumped out into the audience to play bass during 'a matter of time', and that was pretty fun....flashbulbs were going off all around me while i was out there. luckily the stage was pretty low to the ground, so getting back up wasn't a challenge. aaron wore his 'deuce brucesteen' outfit, which really looked amazing. most importantly, at some point in the set, patrick was supposed to come out and take the wig off of aarons head and take it backstage. when i heard people in the crowd start screaming, i looked to my right, and there was patrick in a 'borat' style man-kini and a rainbow brite wig, he then exchanged the wigs and walked offstage, it was easily the most surreal thing that i've ever seen onstage!! i wish we could get away with doing shit like this every night! it really helped kick the energy of the show up several notches. maybe that's something to keep in mind for the next tour...
backstage we spent much of mesh's set hanging out with janosch, since we wouldn't be seeing him again for a while (hopefully not too long, my friend!). we drank a lot of vodka and tried our best to have a good party backstage! his strategy was to take a train home from antwerp to munich (apparently this only takes about 5 hours...amazing!), and have the postal service pick up his stage equipment and deliver it in a few days (also amazing). i can't think of any reasonably similar possibility in the united states, that's for sure. i took plenty of pictures, and after mesh was finished, we said goodbye and loaded out relatively easily.
fall into a dreamless sleep and be prepared to deal with passport control in france, at calais where we board the ferry to monkey island!!
thanks to pete mastboom and timo (house sound) as well as the local crew, and catering! everything was really great!!