Saturday, 20 February 2010

USA Tour: Day Fourteen

A day for meeting some pretty cool people and busting some stuff open.

Our hosts had to leave the house at about 7:30 this morning so when we got up we were all alone apart from the little dog ‘Joy’ who is very appropriately named. Her tail never stops wagging and she always wants to play and be stroked. We left the house around 8:30 to meet top session drummer Dennis Holt who is a friend of Godfrey’s. He played on the “You’re Still God” studio album, “R U Ready?”, which was recorded live in a church here in Nashville that’s been converted into a studio, and several times at a big event in Eastbourne UK. He’s played for everyone – his MySpace page lists them and reads like a who’s who of top musicians. We met in a cafĂ© called “Fido” – somewhere that isn’t a chain, at last – and I managed to get cereal for breakfast. My stomach is sick of stodgy food. It was still ridiculously sweet, everything seems to be loaded with sugar or honey or maple syrup but at least it wasn’t swimming with fat or grease! Dennis was a delight to meet, very down to earth and normal and full of good humour about the slightly crazy world of the session musician. He offered to lend me a kit if the one provided at Belmont Church tonight wasn’t up to scratch along with some top of the range Paiste cymbals and a Ludwig Black Beauty snare drum! He’d only just met me and was willing to loan me the best snare drum ever made, the make and model my drumming hero John Bonham used live! We spent a very pleasant hour or more with him and he said he may come tomorrow night – I told him to sneak in at the back as I didn’t want to know he was there or I might freeze in terror. I think that used to be true but I doubt it’d happen now but it would still be a bit nerve wracking.

After we left Dennis we headed of to meet Kim and Daniel who are leading the new Friday night ‘Awakening’ meetings that are kicking off tonight with Godfrey leading it. They wanted to meet us and get to know us a bit and share what the whole thing is about. We were going to eat early at a Mexican taco place just before noon. We met them and Daniel’s wife Elizabeth and they had two friends with them Kim and Skylar – I thought I recognized Kim but couldn’t quite work out where from. Then the first Kim said that she was Kim Walker-Smith the worship leader from Bethel in Redding. We saw her in Liverpool with our kids when they brought the “Jesus Culture” tour to the UK last year. We had a great time at lunch chatting then Godfrey and I went back to Fred’s house for some down-time before we went back to Belmont Church for 4pm to set up drums and do a sound check and rehearse with the band.

We’ve got the biggest band here that we’ve played with this trip; an electric guitar, a bass, a keyboard and three backing vocals. The drum kit was already set up when we arrived – it’s a very sweet looking and sounding Gretsch. It was set up nearly the same way as I have mine but there’s only one ride and only one floor tom. I needed to tune the snare resonant head up a lot and the floor tom batter head up a bit to get the sound I like and swap a couple of the cymbal stands over so I could get the ride into my preferred position. The Gibraltar cymbal hardware looked fancy but really isn’t very flexible in allowing positioning how you want it…I wouldn’t swap my “DrumWorld UK” stuff for it that’s for sure. The kit was a bit far back on the stage but at least it was out of the ridiculous ‘garden shed’ that the regular drum kit is stuck in. The cymbals weren’t all that hot. The Zildjian AA thin crash is particularly nasty – my lower spec Sabian ProSonix one is much better. The ride was OK but there was only one and I do like two rides, one dark and one bright. Still we’re not cutting a CD so it doesn’t really matter and I’ve certainly played much worse cymbals in my time. I put a dampening ring on each tom and that made things sound better too. The whole kit was mic’d up including a bottom and top mike for the snare!!

Look at the garden shed the regular kit is in at the extreme left of the stage.  Wow!  I'm glad I'm not in there with the ol' hag!

 We had some real issues with the PA fold-back at the beginning – they don’t have standard monitor wedges but little tiny speakers up on a stand at waist height for some of the musicians and the rest have ear-pieces!! I had to wear some “wrap-round the ear” ear buds and although they were quite comfy and the wire went down my back so it wasn’t in the way the mini-mixer I had to control what I wanted to hear was far, far too quiet. I simply couldn’t hear Godfrey’s kick drum at all and even at full volume there was barely enough vocal and guitar to enable me to follow him properly. I switched to standard headphones before we started with one headphone can on my right ear and the other partly on the left ear so I could hear some front-of-house through it. They still weren’t loud enough and when playing “Wild Bell” they fell off during rehearsal – so for that song I had to remember to put them on both ears properly for the fast loud parts so they stayed on and unhook my left ear partially for the quiet sections! What a palaver! The rehearsal went well once we actually moved on from the PA shenanigans.

At 7pm the meeting started and after the pastor welcomed everyone Kim and Daniel explained what the “Awakening” nights were all about and then they turned the evening over to Godfrey. He brought his Paul & Silas ‘lovely time of worship’ word so people knew where the evening would be going and then we started. It went really well and “Wild Bells” really broke something and Daniel asked people to line up and come and declare stuff out from the stage to ring out the old and ring in the new. At least that's what I think he said as I couldn’t hear him at all through my headphones but the song went on much longer than usual with people coming up and declaring things and us doing the “Ring, ring. Ring ring. Ring ring” part after each person spoke out. We finished with “Beep Beep” and it went really well especially as we hadn’t had time to rehearse that one. There was some business done tonight against the old hag of religion and the spirits of control and manipulation. At about 8:45 we finished and people had a chance to get some prayer and ministry and buy some of Godfrey’s CDs. The keyboard player stayed on the stage and had an acoustic guitar join her and another vocalist and they did some other worship songs for during the ministry time. I prayed with about five people and had some prophetic words and insights into their situations and prayed into them. They seemed to really do some business with God. One person I prayed with was a nine year old boy called Kyle - he was a little fire-starter - the Holy Spirit was on him all right.  When I'd prayed for him he laid hands on me and I got totally whacked.  
Three of the people had spoken to Godfrey before I prayed with them and he told me in the car on the way back to Fred’s house that they’d driven eight hours from Minnesota to be there tonight, that’s how hungry there were! They asked if he’d come to them on his next visit to the ‘states.

We had a light meal at “Ruby Tuesdays” on the way to Fred’s as it was pretty much the only place open at 10:30 then it was off to blogging and bed.

Tomorrow we’ve got a restful day, time for some last chance shopping, then we’re back for another rehearsal at 4:30 then they have a “Sunday morning” meeting on the Saturday night, starting at 6pm. So we’re doing that! They have two “Sunday morning” meetings on the Sunday morning too! Busy, busy, busy

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