Journal, Music, Stage Design

Day Nine – Tryout

The stage is set up and it sure looks impressive. Under supervision of Lucas, the stagehands mount the two huge screens and rig the lights. It takes the largest part of the day to set everything up. We’ll be moving in tomorrow afternoon and have run-throughs with the visuals. Lucas is facing difficulties: he programmed the show on his light mixer back home, but the software is incompatible with the version of the mixer at the venue. He loses a couple of hours reprogramming.

Meanwhile, we have our last day at the Music Studio. In the final stretch before the premiere, the schedule is flipped to evening timings to get our minds and bodies adjusted to late-night concentration. The final rehearsal without visuals takes place in the afternoon. As players drip in, we flip the “stage” around. Up to now, everybody was seated in a comfortable circle for maximum visibility. It’s time to face the audience. After all, this is how we’re going to bring the material live, with our back to the other musicians (they’re behind us). Turning the stage also implies switching the cables, the mics and a lot of other PA wiring. We go over a few specific spots: we still can’t get the 7/4 part in ‘A Serpent’s Lust’ completely right, we practice the sung chorus in ‘Kibitsu’ and we focus on the moments where the music blends in and out of Valgeir’s soundscapes or vice versa.

Later that evening, around the actual show time, we play the show for a selected audience of friends, musicians and other people whose opinion we value. The first dive in is always a bit scary. We’ve been living with the songs and the stories for more than a year, carefully shaping and molding every single one of them into a seamless whole. It’s time to play the music for an audience and invite them into our universe. The tryout is shaky and uncomfortable. The visual show, an essential component of the show, is missing, so people have to base their opinion on the naked music. No costumes, no lights, no projection… After a 60 min tryout we head to the bar where we get valuable feedback. The general feeling is that the songs are overcrowded with instruments, the arrangements could benefit from more clarity. Two more days, tons of work ahead.