CATCHING UP – OHIO OR BUST…
- Posted by Rich Spillberg
- On August 20, 2013
- 0 Comments
Hi Good People!
We are currently smack dab in the middle of our summer shows with full orchestras, and seeing that it has been some time since I have last posted, I have taken this opportunity to sit down and write about some of my experiences.
This post is actually three entries in one, as I – in an effort to catch up with some writings that never made it to my postings – have here created a small collage of writings to satiate at the very least my need to share!
I’m sitting in tour bus number four behind the Fraze Pavillion, in Kettering, Ohio. The shows on this leg have been fantastic, starting with three shows at the Hollywood Bowl, on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of July. We did those shows with Conductor Sarah Hicks, and the shows went really well. The remaining shows on this orchestral leg have Maestro Sean O’Loughlin as our conductor, and I have to say it has been an amazing education for me to watch him in action.
In my time working with Josh over the last six years, we have done a handful shows with full orchestras, but we have normally toured with smaller string and brass sections. Although I can not yet call myself an expert, this leg has introduced me to the dynamics involved in an orchestral performance – particularly how the conductor and orchestra work together.
It is amazing to see elaborate music placed in front of musicians for the first time, and watch them execute it with such finesse. Then, while watching our conductor fine tune their interpretation with a series of specific gestures, I have realized that the he is as much an artist as any of the more than fifty other musicians on that stage, and it is Maestro O’Loughlin’s artistry that – going into these dates – I was most excited to learn about.
On this leg of the tour, we go into each new city to play with orchestras who’s members have never played these pieces before, and even if they have have played the songs, or have heard the music prior to the show, they do not know the dynamics of our core band and exactly how hard they hit certain spots, and how soft they hit other parts.
Iit is part of the musician’s job to watch the conductor, as he signals them how delicate, hard, short, or long to play the notes they are reading.
Sean was in our initial rehearsals, and as he watched the core band rehearse the music, he made notes in his “score” (sheet music containing all of the musical parts and voices) about how the band’s interpretation differed from what was written in the score. We have relied on him to have each orchestra meet our energy in each song, and he is a master, indeed.
We have three more shows on this orchestral leg,and I must say, it has been a joy. If you get a chance to see it in either Vienna VA, or Atlanta GA, enjoy it – it’s a great show.
So for now, I’ll leave you with a couple of other entries, and get back to work.
Friday, July 19, 2013
Hi Good People!
I write to you now from Kampala, the capitol city of Uganda, in East Africa. No, this is not a stop on the Josh Groban “All That Echoes” world tour. In fact, we are on a ten day break from the tour, and my family and I have opted to take advantage of this time to visit some of our family members who live here. We are nearing the end of our trip, and it has been as usual a fantastic time.
To say that Uganda is an amazing place is to speak the truth, but if I leave that statement alone, I simplify something that requires more definition. I think that when a person from a “first world” country visits a “developing” country, he or she is in for some serious culture shock. There is no two ways about it that you will recognize things and ways of life that are different to what you know in your day to day existence. That being said, after many trips back here – and mind you, with the unique perspective of having been guided by family while here – I see a day to day existence that feels more normal to me every time I come back, and it is with that frame of mind that the true beauties of this land and it’s people have become more evident to me. For me there is much more to come in this area, and with every trip I look forward to the prospects…
So I am once again – after a gap in time – writing. We are currently into the summer dates, where we are performing along side full orchestras. We have done four shows so far – three at the Hollywood Bowl in California, and one at a place called Red Rocks, in the Denver Colorado area. All of the shows have gone great, and our touring conductor, Sean O’Loughlin is an incredible talent and all around amazing guy. If you have the opportunity to check one of the shows out, please don’t hesitate, it’s a really powerful twist on Josh’s show.
I’ll keep in touch more regularly, but before then, I’ll leave you with an entry that I wrote – but did not publish – a few weeks back. It was some thoughts I had while returning home from the European tour at the end of June. Enjoy, and lot’s of love…
EUROPE IS NOW BEHIND US…
Monday, June 24th, 2013
Hi Good People!!
Man, here I am once again on a plane – this time heading home after the last show on our European leg of the 2013 “All That Echoes” tour. We finished in Dublin, Ireland, and it was a great end to a fantastic leg. I love touring in Europe, and that feeling dates back to my early touring days playing in my own band, between 1989 and 1995. Something I learned early on in that part of my career – in fact, even prior to setting foot on foreign soil – is that when you bring your craft to an audience that is outside of your home turf – especially after having established your craft with a hometown crowd, you have an opportunity to bounce something new and fresh off of that audience. That “bounce” actually introduces a new energy to the band itself, and becomes part of the strength and unique aspect of that band.
I remember the first time that my band played out of state. The reaction was as energetic as the audiences at home, but it also had an element of astonishment, because this was the first time they had seen what we do. This in turn gave us in the band a hunger for that new level of added energy, and made us constantly give more to get it – even when we had returned to familiar venues…
I look at our shows with Josh in the same way, as it is only once in a couple of years that we hit each city, and the people who attend those shows are hungry for the energy that we put forth. Also – as I have alluded to in previous entries – we gain momentum with every show, and as a result, the performances get continually tighter and more energetic. That’s not to say that every show is perfect – there are nights where individuals may feel they fell short of giving their “best”, but the importance of gaining a rhythm over time – as I have touched on before – is that once the rhythm has been tapped into, we roll forward as a unit in a powerful positive fashion, irregardless of any pieces (personnel or equipment) that may perform less than perfectly on a given night.
We had one such less than perfect night where a piece of equipment vital to bringing the full intended result to some specific songs had failed. This caused Josh to rearrange the set list in mid show stride. As you may understand from my previous entries, our show has many moving parts, and when a series of songs are moved around, a lot of people have to know about it.
For example, a lot of shows this size use digital (computerized) equipment – such as digital sound consoles to control the sound of the PA, and digital lighting consoles to control the light show. Normally, the engineers will program and save each individual song into these consoles, so that they can have a familiar starting point from which they will mix. Each venue is slightly (and sometimes more than slightly) different, so each of these saved songs (called “scenes”) can for the most part get you in the ballpark, and from there you start your mix. If songs in the set list are changed without the engineers knowing about it, they may call up a scene for the wrong song, and you can see that problems can occur.
In the long run, the adjustments to the set list were handled perfectly by all departments, and it seemed from my perspective that the audience never felt a change in the overall energy that was delivered…
It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed since my last entry. The fact is, this leg was a busy one for us, and while we have had some days off here and there, for me those days have been about catching up on some outside work (producing/mixing albums, video editing. and composing music), as well as some much needed recuperation – getting needed rest, both in body and mind.
To give you an indication of how the Euro tour went, take a look at this…
Thu 16 …. Travel Day
Fri 17 …. Arrival Day – Moscow, Russia
Sat 18 …. Rehearsals – Moscow, Russia
Sun 19 …. Crocus City Hall – Moscow, Russia
Mon 20 …. Travel to Helsinki / Load-in to Hartwall Arena
Tue 21 …. Hartwall Arena – Helsinki, FInland (after show, fly to London, UK)
Wed 22 …. “This Morning” TV show – London, UK
Thu 23 …. Fly to Stockholm
Fri 24 …. Day Off
Sat 25 …. Ericsson Globe – Stockholm, Sweden
Sun 26 …. Day Off
Mon 27 …. Spektrum – Oslo, Norway
Tue 28 …. Falconer Theatre – .Copenhagen, Denmark
Wed 29 …. Day Off
Thu 30 …. Stadthalle F – Vienna, Austria
Fri 31 …. Hallenstadion – Zurich, Switzerland
Sat 1 …. Day Off
Sun 2 …. Tempodrom – Berlin, Germany
Mon 3 …. CCH1 – Hamburg, Germany
Tue 4 …. Day Off
Wed 5 …. Mitsubishi Electric Halle – Dusseldorf, Germany
Thu 6 …. Day Off
Fri 7 …. Alte Oper – Frankfurt, Germany
Sat 8 …. Day Off
Sun 9 …. Ziggo Dome – Amsterdam, Holland
Mon 10 …. Le Grand Rex – Paris, France
Tue 11 …. Day Off
Wed 12 …. Royal Circus – Brussels, Belgium
Thu 13 …. Day Off
Fri 14 …. O2 Arena – London, UK
Sat 15 …. Day Off
Sun 16 … .02 Apollo – Manchester, UK.
Mon 17 …. Symphony Hall – Birmingham, UK
Tue 18 …. Day Off
Wed 19 …. Royal Concert Hall – Nottingham, UK
Thu 20 …. Day Off
Fri 21 …. Royal Concert Hall – Glasgow, Scotland
Sat 22 … Travel Day
Sun 23 …. O2 Arena – Dublin, Ireland
Mon 24 …. Travel Home
So I’ll be home for three days, and then it is off to Los Angeles for rehearsals that will lead us into a series of shows over the summer where we will perform with orchestras. Luckily, the shows are spread out, so there will be a chance to get back with my family and get back into the studio.
Until then, please enjoy the above sights from our last few weeks…