Nine days ago I flew from Nashville TN to Cleveland to start the rehearsals for A Wizard A True Star.
Holed up in a Townsuites Hotel in Middleburg Heights OH, I spent the following six days going over the material for the show. The task was to perform Todd Rundgren's album of the same title from beginning to end.
No breaks, no deviating from the original, no shortcuts, no changes at all except for a slight change in song sequencing.
Anyone who is familiar with the album is well aware of the quirkiness of each song. Time changes, odd bars, weird sounds, dog fights and lots of background vocals. One song runs into the next in 'stream of consciousness' fashion.
All of us, myself, Roger Powell, Prairie Prince, Jesse Gress, Greg Hawks and Bobby Strickland did our respective homework but as much as we tried to be prepared, actually playing the music as a band was harder than anyone expected. Each day we would start at the beginning of the record with International Feel and wind our way through each song. Working out kinks and going over particularly troubling spots.
By the end of the week we were merely tired. Exhaustion would set in soon.
On Friday morning we left the relative comfort of the rehearsal studio in Cleveland for Akron where the first show was to be staged on Sunday.
The Akron Civic Theater is an amazing gem from the past. Sconces on every wall, stars in the ceiling and a stage that would be hard to match in any other Theater. (I have video that I will post at a later date).
The next two days would be the hardest ... running the show twice a day as if we were performing in front of an audience. This included the 'opening act' that a few of us are involved with. Culminating in a final Dress Rehearsal on Sunday afternoon, the day of the FIRST show.
In essence we did nine shows in a row. In 33 years, the most I've ever done without a day off is 4.
I don't want to sound like I'm complaining... I'm not. Sometimes it's the concentration that takes the most out of you.
Now ... to top it all off, on the suggestion of CK, I decided to put a solo show in at 1pm on the day of the first show. Hence the pictures at the top of this post. I did the show in my pajamas and asked the audience to wear theirs as well. The night before was the big Pre-Show soiree and I knew most people in attendance would be up into the wee hours and there would be copious amounts of alcohol involved.
I had over 350 people in the Ballroom at the hotel for my show and I had the best time ever. Played a few songs including a brand new one that I hadn't performed yet and truly enjoyed myself.
Whew, thats about it for now ... there are some exciting things happening in the coming weeks.
Like ... MY band. My new band.
Mark Alexander on Piano, Mike Chiavaro on Bass and Tad McCully on Drums.
It's going to be great.