So we played our first show of our 10-show tour of the States last night in St Petersburg, Florida. We opened for Bad Brains. During setup and soundcheck the guys were pretty elusive, sticking to their bus. HR briefly found his way on stage to play a chunk of ‘Re-Ignition’ (below) on a hollow-body guitar that, apparently, was plugged in to nothing. His microphone check consisted of him humming while the FOH guy added weird delay effects. Oh, did I mention HR was wearing a bullet-proof vest?
Just as quickly as he came he left, stopping to bow to the monitor guy, his hands pressed together like he was praying or blessing the guy. Eventually the full band hit the stage to do a quick soundcheck. They played a few songs that essentially shattered my confidence as a musician.
So it was with this feeling of inadequacy that I hit the stage with the boys. We were determined to give as hard as humanly possible. Given the less-than-ideal stage sound I think the show was pretty good. I don’t feel like I played my best, though. After witnessing Dr Know in soundcheck I couldn’t help but feel like a piece of shit every time I made a mistake. And the more you think about not fucking up, the more you fuck up. But what can you do, eh?
Now the stage was set for Bad Brains. I claimed a spot at the side of the stage and spent the next 90 minutes or so in awe. HR strutted onstage wearing a white blazer with absurd shoulder pads, carrying two briefcases with God-knows-what inside. And he was still wearing the aforementioned vest. As he pirouetted around the stage and as Dr Know shredded me into nothingness I couldn’t help wonder what it would have been like to see these guys in their prime. It’s actually hard to believe that THIS isn’t their prime. I hope that in 20 years I’m at least a fraction as cool as these geezers are.