September 8, 2000

It's been a week here in South America, and other than really missing the phone service everywhere else, things are fine. We played the show with Jon's Concerto piece in the first half, and it's working very well. Some people might be surprised to find that it's not just DP with an orchestra playing in the background while the band does their thing, but an actual symphonic piece in three movements. First night had a couple of "yellers" in the quiet moments, but the second night we had a native speaker announce that the show was in two parts, a quiet, serious part, and a more typical second half. So, our second show was perfect in that regard.

Ronnie Dio comes out in the second half and we do 4 tunes with him as the only singer. He is great on the mike and great to hang out with. Then Ian comes out and we do some pieces that he and Roger did on Ian's solo album some time back, then some classic Purple w/orchestra (like people thought the whole show would be). We tried doing Night Meets Light during the rehearsal, but it sounded too weird to me without bass and drums, and was too difficult to nail the timing for all of us in a large arena setting with 100 feet separating some players.....

Now we're in Brazil, and getting ready to rehearse with a different orchestra, jazz horn section, and background singers. There are literally 100 people onstage at a time! The sheer number of folks gives the stage more of an off-broadway vibe than a rock band feeling, especially at rehearsals. The whole thing does sound very cool when you find a spot onstage that you can hear everything. The reports from out front are very good. I got my cast cut off, possibly by telling the cast architect, Tyrone, that I was going to do it with a sharp power tool myself. The doctor was cool about it, and said to wear the splint, but that it would be okay to take it off to play. So, now comes the rehabilitation part, where those tortured tendons are asked to move again. Thank God for the power of healing that we are born with, I'm hoping for full use of my left hand someday soon. Our Dregs/SMB tour was a whirlwind but went very well.

I received a few questions about the tour, and here are a few of the answers..... One listener wrote that he heard quite a bit of echo, why? The echo comes through a seperate mike and is subject to being panned, and possibly put at a different level than I'm hearing it. We do an auditory check of equal dry/wet levels during sound check, but things can sometimes change....

Will we come to the West Coast? As always, I never know what will happen when, since I try to please everybody by basically agreeing to most every proposed tour. At the moment, I don't see time to do it in 2000.

There was some heavy criticism by a couple of folks about the promotion, or the fact that there could have been more..... Even the tobacco companies look for more exposure through advertising, we are just musicians trying to play music. If we were great at promoting and advertising, it would probably be the result of having time, experience and some degree of control over each promoter and his market. In other words, it looks a lot easier than it really is to do a tour, period. You have to do the best you can, and trust that the others will, too. All in all, I'm still glad to be able to play live at all in the U.S.A. I'm hoping to keep it that way.

The sound at the shows? Many said it was good, one really railed about the bad sound at one the shows. We use the house sound systems at every club, and there is some vast differences. Our sound man has done a great job of handling all the variables, setting up the equipment, and taking his best shot at the mix that would sound good, but exciting, in all parts of the hall. All in all, if even one person doesn't like it, it bothers me. Which is why the constant, total access the internet provides is not always good for people like me. Still, one thing that I will strive for in the next tour will be less overall level, which I think is the only thing that bothers anyone on an ongoing basis.

In any case, like I said, I do read all the mail and do appreciate the time and energy that everyone put into it. The overwhelming majority of things that I get are very uplifting, which of course, is great to read. So thanks for the feedback, regardless! Gotta get back to that guitar....

Thanks, 2000