Saturday, 25 November 2017

South Africa 2017 - Day 8 – 25th November

So judgement day has arrived, the four horsemen are heralding the apocalypse, my doom is upon me, all my nightmares are come true; I am sitting behind an electric drum kit!  But before we get to that lets rewind to a happier time, a time of innocence, a time of blessing; breakfast.  Breakfast was good.  Sausage, mushrooms, beans (clearly not Heinz though), bacon, cups of tea, cereal.  Ahhh hotel breakfast I do love you so.  I will never cheat on you with a greasy spoon café, I shall remain faithful and love you always.

Ok now I’m in my happy place reminiscing about hotel breakfasts I can face the trauma.  We were picked up by JD about 9:35 and it was only a short drive to the Airport Christian Fellowship’s building which is undergoing considerable expansion work.  The guys in the band and doing the words/PA were there to great us and were lovely friendly people.  The pianist, keyboard player and guitarist had clearly worked hard to learn the songs and really didn’t need much rehearsing at all just a few prods in the right direction for when to dial it down and when to build it up which always makes this process a lot easier.  One of the guys helped me move the electric drum pads into slightly more comfy positions for me and helped with programming the ‘brain’ to make a sound somewhat similar to real drums.  Helga the keyboard player is apparently their regular drummer and she hates the electric kit too and calls it ‘the plastic drums’.  Barend was playing lead guitar and showed us a nice solo in R U Ready?  It’s a bit odd not to have a bass player when there’re two sets of keyboards but we didn’t seem to really notice the lack.  The electric drums are, as expected, execrable.  No subtlety is possible, the triggers in the cymbals are awful and only trigger every other strike unless you pound them, which kind of misses the point.  The snare and kick sound pretty good but the toms sound completely fake, nothing like real toms at all.  I must have had a face on like someone chewing a wasp during the rehearsal because JD came over and asked if I was OK!  I assured him it’d be OK and that I’m just not used to electric drums as I’ve no idea how to get a good sound out of them.  I presume if you’ve loads of experience with them you can fiddle with the ‘brain’ and get a good sound but that’s not me. As I always say I’m not really a musician ‘I just hit things with sticks’.  The thing I miss the most is real cymbals, electric drums can sound adequate (they’re never good or even a close second to real acoustic drums) but electric cymbals are complete and utter pants.  You’d be better off hitting dustbin lids.  You get one sound, ‘ting’, and you can vary how loud the ‘ting’ is a bit by hitting it harder but I use brushes, beaters, tips, ends, edge of sticks, my hands everything on cymbals and you can get a dozen different sounds out of one reasonable cymbal.  You can add some atmosphere and background to the quite moments, you can build a crescendo or choke a crash to a dead stop for dramatic effect with even cheap real cymbals.  With electric ones you can go ‘ting’.  Yay.

OK, now I’ve vented my spleen about how utterly, utterly, utterly, utterly pitiful and inadequate to the task electric kits are (and for the price of a reasonable electric kit you could buy two acoustic ones) I shall move on.  Honest.

The pastor, John Wasserman, arrived and chatted with us before taking us for lunch at a nice place nearby.  We had a good time and were joined by a guy called Andre and his friend who were going to be doing some stuff at the meeting that evening.  I had a chicken, mushroom and pasta dish and Godfrey had prawns.  I felt like I usually do when eating in a restaurant with Mags, I should’ve had what he had!  Mine was good but his looked spectacular.

We got back to the hotel quite late so only had an hour and a bit to rest before being picked up for the evening meeting.  Our key cards had both mysteriously stopped working on our doors when we got back, but fortunately we didn’t have to go all the way back to reception from the eighth floor as a lady with a master key happened by just as we set off and she let us in. 

When we were leaving the hotel it had gone quite cold and there’d clearly been a lot of rain and there was more on the way.  Perhaps this is God’s way of acclimatising us for getting back to England in November! We both needed our coats to go outside.

When we got to the meeting the Pastor did some welcomes and introductions and handed out some of his teaching DVDs and anointing oil to the visiting pastors in the room and included Godfrey and me in that. Then he introduced Godfrey and me and we took to the stage with the band and got the fun started.  The crowd was lively and enthusiastic and seemed to love the songs, both older more familiar ones and the newer ones.  The words, as often happens, seemed to get a bit scrambled at one point and wouldn’t come on for one song, technology eh?  I felt sorry for the person operating the words and bet it worked fine when they tested it earlier!  It didn’t matter much though really.  According to those present the electric kit sounded OK out in the auditorium but it seemed a bit quiet to me, and also the cymbals and some of the toms seemed to cut out occasionally and not make any sound when hitting them.

After Godfrey had finished, the pastor and the visiting guy Andre prayed for and ministered to quite a few people then we did a couple more songs to finish off including ‘Outrageous Grace’.  There’s NOTHING for the drummer to do in that until the last word of the last line of the last verse and then it blasts in for that and the final chorus.  It’s amazingly effective to remain silent up to that point and then suddenly arrive.  I’ve not played it for over ten years I guess.

There was food after the meeting and it was great.  They have on-site cooks and I had a burger sized meatball thing with a name I can’t remember and probably couldn’t pronounce with a fantastic salad with feta, avocado, lettuce, cucumber, tomato plus some potatoes cooked in creamy sauce.  Man it was really good. 

We got a ride back to the hotel and had a quick drink in the bar to chat and unwind before heading to bed.  We’ve got an early start tomorrow.  The meeting starts at 9am so we’ll need to have breakfast at 7am as we’re being picked up at 7:45!  Wow I love the fact that Pioneer (our local church at home) meets about 10:30 and doesn’t start until 11am.  How very civilized.  By hey, this is Africa and they love an early start here!

More fun to come on our last day of meetings tomorrow I think.

No comments:

Post a Comment