Saturday, 16 April 2016

Abbey Road

Here we are again readers, at Schiphol Airport patiently awaiting our flight home after a show in Holland.
Shaun recalling that the last time we were here our plane was delayed, and how he, selflessly went and got us free tea, and is now bitterly complaining to me that he was ‘publicly ridiculed’ for this gallant act in my blog.

AND!!!! to make matters worse, that was the one and only time I mentioned him in my blogs, well Shaun, there is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.
So here goes……
Backstage at the gig on Friday they had a pinball machine, Gilligan s Island themed, it must be old, so Shaun, Andy and myself battled it out, once I achieved my all time top score of 16.800,000 – yes, sixteen million eight hundred thousand - I retired to the green room for a restorative, a celebratory nip of Jack .

Leaving Shaun and Andy chasing my high score, all in vain, they gave up, Andy having a consolatory vodka and tonic.
Although Andy got his revenge at pool back at the hotel after the show, beating me 4-0. Shaun having retired to bed ages ago.
Shaun usually likes to have a small beer after a show to relax, and early to his room.

Thursday was interesting, spent the day in Abbey Road Studios in London, not having been there before I was keen to enter it’s hallowed halls.
Being a nice day I decided to roar up there on the newly polished Triumph. A proper mean machine, all clean and serviced for the spring.

Although the actual street sign is obscured by graffiti, Abbey Road Studio’s location is somewhat given away by the throngs of people outside taking pics through the railings, and the amount of people on the zebra crossing, although, I always thought that it isn’t in the original site, but that it was moved years ago.
Anyway it now holds a grade II listed status and is a London tourist attraction. Daily filled by people risking life and limb against the London traffic to emulate the cover of the Beatles Abbey Road album sleeve.

Abbey Road - Studio 1
A Huge room, even when talking the voice resonates.

The main studio, the history weighs down from the walls.
It began as a 9 bedroom Georgian Town House built in the 1830’s. later converted to flats.
When the building was acquired by the Gramophone Company in 1931 Sir Edward Elgar conducted there, and has been used for many of the big film scores ever since, Lord of The Rings, Star Wars, as attested by all the awards plastered over the wall space.
Oh yes,  The Beatles recorded here too, With the late, great George Martin.
Pink Floyd, The Stones, Bob Dylan, the list goes on…. you get the picture…

Today, I am here a guest of the Groove Me project, who have developed a new 3D recording process, absolutely fascinating stuff.
Steve Harley is recording 4 songs, including a version of ‘Here Comes The Sun’ a Beatles song, written by George Harrison for the Abbey Road album, recorded here in 1969.

Speaking of which, ‘Something’ also by Harrison, and featuring on the  Abbey Road album, and to go off on a  tangent for a moment, last year I was in the Cadugan Hotel, just off Sloane Square, Jimmy Page was telling us that, back in the early 70’s, he heard that George Harrison, when asked if he had heard of Led Zeppelin, replied with something along the lines of ‘Oh that’s the band that can’t write a ballad’

So, in response, Jimmy wrote ‘The Rain Song’, and he even took the two opening chords of ‘Something’ by Harrison as a kind of tongue in cheek homage.
Listen  to it, it makes sense.
Anyway, I digress.

Steve Harley had his Cockney Rebel in the studio with him, fantastic musicians, all four songs  mainly recorded in one live take.
His band includes two Austrian twin sisters, Mona and Lisa. Who are very talented, they are collectively the MonaLisa Twins, and perform, among other things, at The Cavern in Liverpool, where they now live.
                                        Mona       Billy    Helenka   Lisa      Michelle

After the recording, Steve Harley and the band are then filmed, for holographic projection. So the performance can be seen anywhere in the world, without the need for the artist to be there.
It is amazing, I saw a clip of Bob Geldof performing, only he wasn’t, it was a hologram.
Don’t ask me how they do it as I haven’t a clue, but I am invited down to the studio in Hampshire next week to witness the process.

Are we witnessing the future of music performance?
The possibilities are endless, resurrecting Elvis as a hologram?
Maybe even Led Zeppelin in Concert? Maybe I’ll be out of a job soon!

Nonetheless a fascinating day, felt part of the history of the place,  and met some really nice people. 

                   Mike Reid, very knowledgeable bloke and a pleasure to talk with.

Couldn’t stay too late as I had a flight early Friday, but a big thanks to Steve Harley for allowing us to sit in on his session.
Got home in time to catch the end of the Liverpool game, coming back from 1-3 down to dramatically win 4-3 and through to the semi-final of the Europa League.
Liverpool were 2-0 down when I left the pub, 3-1 down when I got home, but went onto win 4-3 after I had changed into my lucky Liverpool underpants, if they go onto win the cup I expect a winners medal for my contribution.

Our show in Leiden was good, a quick flight to Amsterdam and a 20 minute drive afterwards.
We have put The Rain Song back into the set for the next few dates at least.
Good venue, an old metal works or so I am told, good sound and everyone was on good form, many people travelling to the show from all over Holland.
Particularly Amsterdam, thanks to Enrico for the normal sized bottle of Jack.

We have an interesting gig next Saturday, 500 metres underground, more on that to follow.

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