tour diary

July 31st-August 4th: Jebediah Support Tour in Queensland & Victoria - Ben Grounds

WEDNESDAY 31/7/02 - Jindabyne

An uneventful drive to Jindabyne left us disappointed with the relatively excessive temperature and lack of snow. In fact Wesley had no dilemmas wearing only his muscle shirt on top the whole night, to show his new acquisition off.

The crowd was a little sparse in population and understanding. Earlier, at dinner, we are approached by a nervous-looking character, who, it turns out, just wants us to accept a bottle of vodka in exchange for mentioning the brand name of this vodka while onstage. Our rider included another bottle of vodka, of the other brand… it seems there's rival vodka wars down in these parts.

Another rider issue: somehow tonight some cans of Redbull find themselves a place in our rider. I'm not sure if this happened because we're gaining a reputation for being tired and dreary, or because Wesley phoned ahead with a little addition to the usual. Maybe they just thought a band, after a long drive (you know, it didn't seem as long as it was) would appreciate a little pep-up on arrival. At any rate, none was consumed tonight.

THURSDAY 01/08/02 - Albury

There's an old Russian saying: There's only one thing worse than not getting what you want, and that's getting what you want. Our complimentary hot breakfast this morning comes at a cost - breakfast finished at 9am… but we almost all agree that a complimentary breakfast is a complimentary breakfast, and drag ourselves out of bed for the occasion.

On the way over the mountains we pull over for a frolic in the snow. I've never been to the snow, and it was quite exciting. Actually, standing there in the snow, amused by Ben and Jamie's uncoordinated, legless efforts of descending a steep, snow-faced hill, I felt an anxious desire to go snowboarding. Partly present, no doubt, because I couldn't.

Tonight's appearance was in Albury's revered club, Liquid. The afternoon saw me in search of a lock for the trailer, and this search had me wandering the isles of a major chain store. After trudging around for a while, I found and bought a couple of items to help us on our touring way. I hurried to the car park where our unlocked trailer sat attached to our van. As I began the task of fitting the lock to the trailer, two rough-looking, burly, unshaven men surrounded me (they were big enough to do that), one showed me a police-type badge (I was surprised enough to barely pay attention to the badge), and both began a tirade of interrogative questions. They had been following me for the last ten minutes. I looked very dodgy. What was I doing in the car park, the large retail variety chain store, the area? Where was I from? Did I take anything from the store that I didn't pay for? Could they see what was in my shopping bag? What was in my shoulder bag? I was a little startled, but eventually they decided I was innocent (not guilty) (even though I looked so dodgy), and was free to return to life as usual and get back to fitting my lock. Which, I discovered now I had taken up the task again, would not in my wildest dreams fit where it was supposed to. So back into the retail store I went…

Batter up! I arrived at the venue in just enough time to immediately start setting up. And only slightly less immediately find that in the chain of events that makes sound in the frequencies where I reside occur, had called it a permanent, irreversible day. After much stress and rearranging we found it was my brand new speaker box's dacks that had been packed. And after a great deal more rearranging, with a lot of effort and obvious trouble by another, I had something that made sound. Not enough sound for me to hear, but sound nonetheless.

The day up to now held events that made me think the show would follow suit and spend the entire time smashing its head against a brick wall: on the contraire, it was a great show, a room full of loudly appreciative crowd who sang along, applauded ferociously, offered endless drinks, requested signings, and bore witness to a rare crowd interaction at the end of Goodnight Believer. As Ben titillated the crowd with his prowess of presence, those who could reach him hugged and kissed him.

FRIDAY 02/08/02 - Melbourne

I allowed with little regret the crew to leave at 6.30 this morning to make Jamie's JJJ appointment in Melbourne. I spent a lot of the day on the blower, trying to tie up many of the loose ends that had appeared in the last twenty-four hours.

At the other end of the day, I eventually arrived at the venue, having been stressed to (almost) the end of my tether, mostly by public transport. And even though I managed to make it there before the doors opened, the 'Sold Out' signs were going up. The show was quite good, good enough for Ben to repeat last night's performance of getting within reach of the crowd…except unlike Albury, no-one within reach reached for him.

SATURDAY 03/08/02 - Ballarat

We were in no hurry to get to Ballarat today, so we moseyed around until late afternoon. Jamie, who had temporarily spilt from the pack, called me to say he was sick, and that we should pick him up later than previously planned, and skip soundcheck.

Once we got to the venue (run by one of the nicest venue-runners I know), Jamie went straight to bed, while the rest of us played pool and the jukebox, passing the time until we were due onstage. Team Wesley very obviously had the upper hand on the pool table, although we were up against some stiff competition in the White Ball Challenge.

We woke Jamie a few minutes before we went on, and had quite a reasonable show, although we were all suffering to some degree - a fuzzy-logic, grey type of degree, of tiredness and/or sickness.

Jamie went straight to bed, and we all enjoyed the luxury of not having to load out until the morning.

SUNDAY 04/08/02 - Adelaide?

At last I catch a little bit of a sleep in, and upon doing the rounds to wake everybody, and begin pouring the water out of the trailer (yes), and then loading it, Jamie wakes to find himself unfit. For anything. He's more sick today and after little deliberation we decide we aren't going to Adelaide.

Unaccustomed to driving from Ballarat to Sydney, the captain at the helm at the time decided to pull over and ask for directions. Why the captain (Richo) decided to ask directions from an old guy who had surely never left Ballarat ever was beyond us all. This directionee was a nice guy, but tried to be more helpful than was possible for him. Alarm bells rang when, after asking the quickest was to Sydney, he replied "oh yes, Melbourne…" and proceeded to refute interruption for the next 10 minutes giving us useless directions.

Being on the road has an infallible capability of taking any feeling to its extremity. In particular, any less-than-positive notion seems amplified with tiredness and contrasted loneliness.


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