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:::::: 03.22.03: in tandem with the boss ::::::
today was the sydney show. we played in a hall next to a stadium where the Boss was doing his show. we did our sound check and got in a van where we were taken through a series of back alleys, gates, checkpoints, lots, entrances, hallways, ramps and corridors until we penetrated the inner sanctum and found ourselves watching the first few songs of the Boss' concert. the lights flashed over the crowd of endless faces that stretched back for a mile it seemed. the Boss was getting into it and the band sounded really muscular and solid. the PA went out just as things got started and the spectacle became bereft of sound. unfazed the Boss got everyone stomping and shouting. these are always my favorite moments, when the rock show becomes something else strange and human and awkward. I remember once the PA went out and I had to play an acoustic guitar and sing as loud as I could without amplication. it changed the audiences perspective and made them concentrate really hard to hear a tiny sound as opposed to being overwhelmed by a larger than life sound. this is how performers like Jimmie Rodgers would perform in the '20s. he'd come into town, play unamplified at the town hall and ride the train to the next town. a concert with a man on a stage with an old guitar and his bare voice would seem awkward now that we're so conditioned to modern sound. another time the power went out during the first song. we stood on stage sonically emasculated. luckily I had a bullhorn handy and drilled my band through an aerobics routine.

these current shows have been more sedate then our usual fantasia due to the new album songs, but we still kicked out some jams here. we've had amazing film projections by Jeremy Blake laying behind us. he did all the color transitions for punch drunk love and usually exhibits in galleries and such. when I started working on the album art I imagined beautiful colors and abstract shapes, the idea being that bright intense colors could be melancholy and emotional not just happy and shiny. when I met with him and saw his work it was like seeing the album in physical form. it was one of those coincidences of two people in different mediums working towards the same place.

during our gig we tried to see if we could hear the boss. once in belgium we had a nightmare show at a festival in belgium on the small stage next to the main one where coolio was performing. I remember being drowned out by gangsta's paradise for an hour as coolio's might asserted itself over ours in one of those awkward, bear through it kind of nights. it didn't help that the stragglers in the mud were throwing bottles at us and people were actually shooting up in the audience! gangsta's paradise indeed.

well, this was the last show of the australia run. sydney was good to us. we braced ourselves for the next chapter as Japan loomed before us.