8 February 2016: London
On the road again… almost!
Time to start up after a long break in the tour. Word has it that Roger is quite well again, it was serious business that derailed him in the Fall, and we were all looking forward to a restart of it all. That time has come.
Everyone’s in London now, and we begin by pulling all the equipment together for the coming show at Wembley this weekend (then off to the USA for the re-scheduled shows in about another week.) While the video and sound crews gather local supplies for this single UK show, the backline (stage instruments) crew grabs our normal equipment from the off-season WHO storage unit.
The location has changed several times over the years. Not so long ago, our equipment was stored and secured by Bill Harrison, longtime WHO crew member. Bill had stayed off the road, but had earned the trust of the most respected names in the music business, so his storage held the equipment for the following organizations: The WHO, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Queen, some Led Zeppelin and whatever equipment was still held by… (wait for it…) The Beatles. Yes, indeed. Bill’s place was holy ground for ONLY the legends of the music business. Sadly, Bill Harrison passed away not long ago, and no one else could be trusted to manage such a collection of valuable equipment. He is quite missed in the world, a great guy. Each of those groups now has their own secure warehouses.
Our current storage holds not only the current tour gear, but any old WHO things that need long-term keeping, some going back quite a way: the original “Who” branded Hiwatt heads are there, John’s old ear monitors and string packs, bass rigs from previous tours, posters and banners from all over the world. Stuff in boxes and cases.
It takes a full day to pack and move everything to our new rehearsal spot, a massive warehouse space. Here we will spend most of the week getting cables connected, clean out drawers of previous tour stuff, and take airline stickers off cases. Anything that takes more time than our usual daily setup gets attention now: custom-built equipment, people who’ve sent us amps or guitars to try out, new setups for audio or stage will be worked through. All of Pete’s guitars and amps are tested and compared, hoping for a perfect match so that any changes made during a future show won’t cause issues. This pre-rehearsal setup is a rare and valuable time, for larger projects that can never be done while in the middle of the tour. Zak has a new DW drumset that sounds AMAZING. John has a new Kawai piano which also sounds great, a far leap beyond what was possible years ago.
We’re not running full lights, video, and sound for this week’s rehearsals. It’s mainly a tech time for the stage crew, monitors and the band. As there is only one show in England, we’ll have local video, lights and PA on the night, and then new equipment when we move to Detroit in a week. The American lighting, sound, and video gear will be tested just prior to the Detroit show and then travel The States with us through May.
Soon the band will be in. We hear Roger’s in good shape again and certainly eager to be on the road. Slight setlist changes are promised, possibly so. Of course, we never know what’s really happening until the show itself… no one does!