It was like any other phone call for a gig. I’d done work for these people before, and I knew it was on the way, but I wasn’t going to lift a finger until I got the offer from the main guy. It was only after I got off the brief call that I realised how different this circumstance actually was. This wasn’t a one-off in the burbs somewhere, or a fill in Soho café gig. I’d just said yes basically to the next six months, possibly a year of work, From a two minute phone call.
The call came on the Monday, which was supposed to be first rehearsal day, and so it followed that across the next two intensive days, we only just covered the material. The show is basically a Motown review, about forty songs all-up, of maybe three or four minutes each, largely at similar tempos, with a variety of solo, three part, four part and all cast appearances vocally. In short, a truckload to learn in two days for a six month world tour, starting three weeks in Munich the following Monday.
But that wasn’t such a concern this time around, as it was quite a different situation from the work I’d done for them previously. The Thriller tour in May was a new show put through a month of one-nighters across the UK. It took a lot of extra hours from an already well-prepared, hard-working band to get it together – there were times when we were writing and arranging charts on the bus on the way to the next gig! In contrast, this show just finished a three year run in the West End, and half the band had been doing it for most of that time, meaning that us guys that made up the newer half were dealing with a more established situation.
So what did I do, between the Thursday after rehersing and the Monday fly-out? Got trolleyed every night with my house mates of course!, as well as playing about five or six gigs in the meantime. And so it was on the following Monday that we all left from dHeathrow, maybe a little under-prepared? for the opening run.