Something we felt most of the day was a slightly excessive warmth; the Stravinski Auditorium feels like a fairly modern building, but its air conditioning is somewhat classical. We were told that once climate control is turned on, it may take some time for the air to feel noticeably different; this is because classical instruments do not like radical swings in temperature and the designers of our environment allowed for such an inanimate opinion; I concur with the opinion and the method, but I also sweat.
The room is dry; not lacking in humidity, rather the acoustics are such that reflections are kept to a minimum. The result of the architectural sculpting is that while it makes for a great sounding room, it also (for want of a better phrase) sucks the life out of the vibe. We have a fairly reserved, or quiet, or indeed polite crowd tonight; it is a comparatively small audience in terms of recent attendances, and some of them sit, some of them stand. It’s the first indoor gig I can think of (from as far back as my permarust memory stretches) that has sold standing room. I overheard this evening that some tickets cost around 600CHF, and also that ‘touts’ (or ‘scalpers’ as they’re known in Canada) were selling them on at astronomical prices, in the thousands.
The first set went along very smoothly, and was played as the set list suggests, with the omission of Ain’t No Cure for Love and Democracy. I think I expected to hear the roof blow off after Lover Lover Lover, as has been the mode of late, and while our polite jazzers were affectionate toward the song, they didn’t quite light the fuse.
Into the second set; Chelsea Hotel, Waiting for the Miracle, and Show Me the Place received their marching orders from the playlist, and The Partisan almost did what Lover Lover Lover didn’t do, but still not quite. To be fair, it’s rather unfair to expect a couple thousand people to make the noise of several thousand; there’s something about numbers that tend to exponentialise a crowd’s receptive power — everyone louder than everyone else, and in large everyones, the job is easier.
In the encores it went dreadfully, horribly wrong; Mitch and I had our first debilitating, show-stopping technical failure of biblical mass: the knob came off his Telecaster pickup selector switch. Lo! ye cursèd mock-faeries, ye demons of yore, ye poltergeests of ancient times! How thee, woebetied in thine holes of hell doth proffer forward and hither thine hands and beget that knob to just kinda fall off. When the moment was right, and quiet, I sought the black knob, hopefully lying in black carpet, but found no such trinket. Little did I know that Mitch held it in his hand; handing it to me, he shared, ‘We have our first casualty.’ I might have to call an army of experts (no, not priests) to stick this knob back on. Or, I could do it myself, but the evil mist gathered in its presence is too great to, uh… whatever.
From a crew standpoint, tonight was greatened by the absence of a load-out; we are playing here again tomorrow, and around half an hour after tonight’s show ‘came down’, I was to be found in my room searching my mind for ancient-sounding words to describe the mundane picture of a fallen knob. Good night.