Second day at the Tokyo International Forum.
We’ve been asked to wear stage clothes at soundcheck today - I guess so some group pictures could be taken. For me, it’s a chance to get some photos of the guys the way they look during the show.
I’ve been asked a few times about the pedal setup I use in the band. So, here’s some technical stuff many of you may want to skip!
A few of the pedals are simple, like the EBS Octaver, the ElectroHarmonix Grand Canyon, which on this tour I use only as a chorus, the Cali76 is my favorite compressor lately, mostly for the Stick. And I like the Peterson tuners. The Radial mix Blender is just to equalize the level of the Stick and bass. And the rest of the setup is for various kinds of distortion, which get a little complex. The Dark Glass Microtubes and Alpha Omega pedals are crunch with some eq. And after the bass goes through all this, the signal is split and half goes to my Kemper Profiler.
There I have a variety of amp model sounds, some for the top of the Chapman Stick, but others for still more distortion on the bass. I can vary the amount of it with the input volume pedal, and Michele has rigged up a selector pedal set so I can quickly switch to the amp setting I want.
The Stick top, (which is a different instrument output than the bass side) goes right to the Kemper, and some guitar amp models. The Stick bass, therefore, can’t utilize the Kemper, and so for extra distortion on it I use the Joyo Ultimate Drive back on the pedal board.
Add in the Nord Lead, a synth I got many years ago, and use occasionally to reinforce the lows. It’s got scraps of lyrics from tours long gone by.
Instruments are my (crimson colored) MusicMan StingRay Special, and as a backup bass, another StingRay 5 string. It was originally black but on the 2016 Peter Gabriel / Sting tour we were asked to play red instruments(!) and Sting’s band would play blue ones. Well, it turned out they didn’t, but I kind of liked the mod Michele had done to this bass, making it something like an old two tone Chevy. Some nights I do play the backup bass, but for long rehearsals, the lighter weight of the new ‘Special’ is very nice.
There’s also the Chapman Stick, of course. And the NS Electric Upright (which is off to the side with just a volume pedal and tuner, then goes directly to the board, not through any of the pedals.)
Backstage we’re all dealing with more of the covid protocols. Aside from tests we’ve had, daily info needs to be uploaded to the app we were given on entry to Japan. Today, as we’re nearing the end of the period of needing the app, the info it needs is so complex that we’re needing help getting it in. Even the wonderful folks with the promotion co. are challenged by this one. This is hardly the exciting rock band backstage scene some might envision.
I’ve just heard of a new pre-show ritual going on before our show starts. Crew members Jason and Paul go out 5 minutes before the show, to take down the signs that are on the stage (asking people not to take photos!) But here in Japan they are greeting each other with a bow, then bowing to the audience. I’ve heard the applause but didn’t know why.
So of course, I tried to get a picture of it. But didn’t have the right camera settings, so it’ll have to do for now, but I’ll get it better at future shows.
After the first set, a brief time backstage, and we still have our fascination with the setlist
It was another excellent show, and we’re now getting used to the 6pm start time, that’s typical in Japan but not what we do elsewhere.
Tomorrow things change a lot for us. We’re completely out of quarantine (if we filled in those app details correctly!) and allowed out in public. We’ll take the train to Nagoya, have the night off before our show there.