Make Some Noise
Lock N Load
Long Way To Go
Last Time I saw the Sun
The Dead Daisies - Boston
2-5 September 2016
(Courtesy of Planet Rock and Bluesdoodles)
Every now and again, a competition comes along with a prize that you would give anything to win.That was how I felt when Planet Rock announced its once in a lifetime draw to celebrate the release of The Dead Daisies new album 'Make Some Noise'. Th fabulous prize included a weekend in Boston, gig tickets and a ‘meet & greet’. The winner would even get to see KISS, who were the headline band on their 'Freedom to Rock' tour. Gigpigs didn't win, but we were delighted to hear that our friend at Bluesdoodles - Liz Aiken did. A real music fan had won! As always, these prizes are for the winner and a guest. I was thrilled when, out of the blue, Liz asked me to be her '+1'. She knows we are big fans, and we had talked about our UK and Ireland ‘tour’
Over the next couple of weeks, plans were made both by us and Planet Rock, as well as The Dead Daisies in anticipation of what would turn out to be a weekend that was unimaginably brilliant.
Flying out from Heathrow, to Boston, it was difficult to contain our excitement for the 7 hours we were on the plane. The excitement building exponentially when we were met by a chauffeur driven limo. Typically black, with dark tinted windows. As we were driven to the hotel, our driver chatted about Boston, a bit about the history, the city, football and baseball. The hotel were expecting us (Phew - I love it when a plan comes together!). When the receptionist remarked 'Oh wow... You are the competition winners' it finally began to sink in that this was real. David Edwards, the bands manager, arranged to meet us later to discuss the arrangements when the band arrived in Boston after travelling from Allentown PA, where they had done a gig the night before. Funnily enough, Charley and I had briefly contemplated going to that gig.
After a stroll around the area close to the hotel, stopping for coffee and to enjoy the sunshine we met up with David in the hotel. A few moments later, Doug appeared in the lobby. We chatted with them for a while before deciding to freshen up before drinks and dinner. Returning to the small bar in the hotel a while later, Marco seemed delighted to have his personal time interrupted as we chatted about the weekend ahead, plans for the morning and the gig. John stopped in for a drink too. Now it really was real. Possibly a bit surreal.
We had a few drinks and some dinner at the hotel before retiring. Like a couple of children on Christmas Eve, we were too excited to sleep. We spent hours speculating about what would be in store for us on Saturday. We knew it would be good.
On Saturday morning, the sun was shining, and, with increasing excitement and anticipation, we decided that we needed something simple to occupy our minds, so we spent the morning shopping and were ready in plenty of time for the agreed departure time of 3pm. I had expected us to be put in a taxi to the gig. How wrong I was. We were guests in The Tour Bus. I've seen the bus on the videos, photos and reports that The Dead Daisies have posted regularly, and tried to imagine what it would be like to travel around in it. Actually being there was an honour and a privilege that is unlikely to be repeated. As we travelled, we chatted to Marco and his daughter, Faith about the ordinary lives we don't believe rock stars live, while Doug strummed his Gibson. This is a beautiful guitar, and at more than 50 years old sounds superb, especially in the hands of such a skilled musician. He chatted about how it had come to be his, and it was clear that this is a most treasured possession.
Marco asked after Charley. 'I know' he said..'give me his number and I'll FaceTime him'. That is exactly what we did - but only after Marco had prank called him first. Charley was introduced to people on the bus, shown around, and consequently burned his dinner. I don't think he minded though - he appreciated being included.
We finally arrived at DMU in Worcester. A venue which seats around 15,000 although for tonight's gig it would be a lot less as one end of the arena is taken up with the stage. We were taken on a tour, which included 'Crew Catering' (Help yourself if you get hungry) 'The Dead Daisies Dressing Room' (make yourselves at home) 'Wardrobe' (These are our stage clothes - I bet you know who's is who's..) 'KISS Dressing Room' (And Make Up). We visited the Merch stall - picking up souvenirs of our trip, spotted the 'Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer signing', and we sat in the seats way at the back, and marvelled that later, it would be packed out with an audience. We watched the stage, kit and backlines being set up. It became clear that setting up a stage for a show like KISS is no easy feat.
After the arena tour, it was time for the Sound Check. Apparently, this is the least exciting bit. I enjoyed it. I sat in a seat with a perfect close up view of the stage and watched them have a bit of a practise, making sure that all their equipment was working properly and sounded right. Well - it sounded pretty good to my ears! We sampled 'Crew Catering' and were asked where we would like to watch the show from. A choice!! Ticketed gigs usually mean 'pot luck' Standing gigs normally means 'get there early, you might get to the front'. Liz decided to spend time in the pit and take photos, whilst Faith and I went to the seats by the sound desk. It was way back, but a perfect view of the stage, and the one place in the arena with the best sound. I'd been able to take my camera - usually, decent cameras only get into the gig with a photo pass - and I managed to take some photos. It was a great set. Starting off as they usually do with Midnight Moses and playing a mix of older tracks, such as Mexico and Lock N Load as well as tracks of the new album, including Make Some Noise, Long Way to Go and my favourite cover, Join Together. I've only seen the band on small stages before so, having a huge stage gave them space to move about a lot. With only Brian staying put, the band was animated and clearly enjoying themselves. I've never heard Doug's solos so clearly, or realised just how much of a showman Marco is and with David and John both bouncing around, all four of them used the whole stage, ensuring that everyone in the audience got to see them. Guided by Brian’s heavy and skilled drumming, they worked their way through the planned songs and all too soon, they reached Helter Skelter which is the final song in their set.
One thing The Dead Daisies do at every show is a signing. The ones I have seen in the UK have been fairly orderly affairs with people queuing nicely and waiting their turn. I can only describe this one as 'mayhem'. We went to join the throng of people who were waiting for their chance to meet, greet, have a photo, have their tickets signed, or anything else. After what seemed like hours, everyone had what they wanted and we all retreated to the dressing room. KISS were about to come on stage. I'd wanted to see as much of their set as I could so we found some empty seats near the sound desk and thoroughly enjoyed the show until it was time to go. I'd have loved to see the whole thing, but the bus had a schedule to keep. I missed the highlight which would have seen one of the band members performing about 10 feet from me, but it was not to be. Instead, we got onto the bus with The Dead Daisies and enjoyed some rather good company on the way back into Boston, but not before a group of fans saw my tee shirt and decided to stop us for a chat. They had really enjoyed the show and were enthusiastic about The Dead Daisies. When they correctly observed that Brian is 'a kick ass drummer' I replied that I agreed, and that I would tell him. That was when they also spotted the All Areas pass and nearly fainted. It was really nice being 'with the band' even for just a short time.
By the time the bus dropped us off at the hotel, it was late, we were exhausted after all our excitement so we had a quick drink and slept it off.
Sunday felt a bit flat. Nothin was going to compare with the day before. We decided that a bit of sightseeing was in order, so we went on a 'Trolley Bus Tour' of some of Boston's famous sights and buildings. A break for a Harbour Boat Tour took us to boatyards, wharfs and naval buildings and by the time we returned to the hotel we were both shattered. Dinner was a quiet affair, and we noted at 7:00 that the doors would be opening in Portland, ME for that nights gig. At 7:40, the band would be just starting on stage and at 8:30, we hoped that they were having a more orderly signing.
We were almost at the end of our weekend. The last day was just going to be about waiting to go - maybe a bit more sightseeing, or a bit more shopping but all too soon, our car arrived to take us to the airport.
It was a weekend that will stay in my memory for ever. I brought home some souvenirs - tee shirts, picks and my 'All Areas' pass. It was beyond brilliant. It was a once in a lifetime experience, although, if the band ever invited me along to another gig, I'd be there like a shot. They are all such nice guys and made us welcome. I hope that they enjoyed having us there as much as we enjoyed it. I can't thank them enough. My thanks also go to Liz at Bluesdoodles for inviting me and being such great company as well as Planet Rock for making it happen.
Gig pigs have tickets for the London show when The Dead Daisies return to the UK in November, in dual headline gigs with the Answer and, of course, we will be at Rockstock, Trecco Bay, in December where they are headlining on the Friday night.
More information can be found at www.thedeaddaisies.com
The Dead Daisies
Doug Aldrich - Lead Guitar
John Corabi - Vocals
David Lowy - Guitar
Marco Mendoza - Bass, vocals
Brian Tichy - Drums
Gig Pigs Wales