October - Washington DC - 9.30 Club
arrived a couple of days before and did the tourist thing (as you
do!). I had spoken to a lot of people in DC about the gig and the
kind of crowd to expect. They said that the crowd tends to be a
bit more laid back.
The venue itself is very similar to the Hackney Ocean club only
not as posh. It looked like an ideal place to host an Orbital gig
with plenty of viewing areas on the balcony and plenty of room for
the dancers. The old 9.30 club was a bit different - rumours had
it that the dance floor was slightly caved in when they closed it!
The crowd slowly spilled into the club and it was very much a younger
crowd as opposed to mixed age. I met up with a few people before
- one person I had met two years ago in Brixton! All friendly of
course and a special mention for France who put up with my deranged
English humour (well....thats what I would call it anyway!). Orbital
came on stage and "Tension" ripped the set open. The crowd
response was appreciative but more in a head-noding way. After a
period of time the movement started and the domino effect took place.
The dance floor was now transfixed into the music, the balconies
were a mass of bopping heads.
Everything was in place tonight although the 303 decided to go all
mute during the "Weekend Ravers mix" of "Funny Break".
The crowd didn't notice it but of course some sad trainspotter did
:) "Chime" also didn't want to stop but there was nothing
wrong in that!!!
Speaking to people in the crowd - there was a positive vibe and
no negative comments. Many said how better it was from the gigs
they did two years ago. Washington DC - a very friendly place (in
most areas) with very friendly people.
We left Washington in the early hours of the 11th and started our
long drive all the way to Worcester by Boston. I think most people
were woken by the rough roads on the outskirts of New York City
but it was worth it just to take in the views. As we approached
Worcester we could see the beautiful display of the Autumn Trees
- a mixture of dark reds, yellow, green and orange. Colours that
we just wouldn't see in England. We arrived in Worcester approx.
MORE PHOTOS OF WASHINGTON DC ON THE TOURS
October - Worcester - Palladium
jet-lag effects are slowly disappearing and the lack of sleep on
the drive to Worcester have added to my deranged sleeping pattern.
Worcester is a quiet city and a total contrast to DC. I decided
to spend the first part of the morning (yes...morning!) walking
up the main street to find a source of information about the place.
St Pauls Cathedral had the information desk I was after but the
person who talked to me said there wasn't much to see. "You
need to go to Boston" he said.
The venue was slightly bigger than the 9.30 club with a deep balcony
section which unfortunately was closed for tonight's gig. There
was a lot of activity around the stage as Paul and Phil were looking
into bringing a classic track back into the live set. They had received
many requests for "Halcyon" and decided that it should
get another airing. A few hours later and the sound check consisted
of the lush vocals of Kirsty Hawkshaw.
met a couple of people before and during the gig who were off the
old mailing list and the new forums. Again...friendly people and
eager to experience the live sounds of Orbital. A lot of people
were asking the question "Why Worcester....why not Boston".
I wasn't too sure of the answer at the time but I had a quick chat
with the Tour Manager and he explained the situation. Boston has
a strict curfew in the week so if Orbital played in Boston then
the gig would have to be finished by 9.30pm
Orbital came on to a warm response and it didn't take long for the
crowd to maneuver into a mass of waving arms. No technical problems
and a smooth transition from track to track. Phil announced Halcyon
to a massive cheer. You can just imagine the response when THOSE
samples kicked in. Fantastic to see and experience. There were some
unusual dressed up people - saw a couple of fairies at one point
and im sure it wasn't the drink!
We decided to video a few people about the gig and when I get back
to England we should hopefully get some of these videos online for
everyone's amusement. No negative comments - all positive. An appreciative
audience that were obviously there to have a good time.
The drive took south and once more past the rough roads of New York.
The Manhattan skyline was in the far distance - lights twinkling
in the dark night. The eerie feeling soon came across as I realized
how things have changed over the past month. We arrived at Philadelphia
as the sun was creeping up over the horizon but I was in bed way
MORE PHOTOS OF WORCESTER ON THE TOURS
October - Trocadero - Philadelphia
three...Philadelphia. The morning started with the search for the
venue itself. We parked in Chinatown around the corner from the
venue...but which corner. After around 10 minutes the Trocadero
was found (and i thought my memory was bad :) ).
Philadelphia has some cool sights to see. Lots of unusually shaped
sky-scrapers with cool blue colours. Its one of those cities where
its easy to get lost...and i did....twice!
The venue was very similar to DC and Worcester. There is a tall
balcony looking over a reasonable size dance floor. I came across
some strict rules about drinking - as in you was not allowed to
drink in the hall itself. Mickey Mann was informed that he wouldnt
be able to smoke at the mixing desk neither. Unusual ... but maybe
not in America.
There was a slightly better turnout tonight. Most people that i
had spoken to had mentioned that they never really heard about the
gig until the last minute. Not many had heard of the website neither
but we are working on that now.
Orbital kicked off their set and had no problem getting the crowd
moving. Everything seemed a lot tighter tonight although "Halcyon"
(yes...its still on the set list at the moment!) had a bit of a
Once it had kicked in there was a gigantic roar as the crowd showed
how much they wanted to hear it. There was no turning back - the
crowd didnt stop moving until the final bars from the last track.
I only spoke to a few people after as one of the bouncers (as
we say here) wanted people out and he was as wide as i am tall.
I did manage to meet up with a few people including the resident
Loopz graphix artist Mike Melli (see you in New York!).
Tonight was the best gig so far of all the American dates i have
attended. The crowd played a major part - its always good to hear
good music and see lots of smiling faces.
is New York - this is one i am seriously looking forward to.
MORE PHOTOS OF PHILADELPHIA ON THE TOURS
October - New York - Roseland
very short drive to New York turned into a tale of detours. I was
in the truck following the tour bus as the tour bus driver knew
how to get there. Its a shame he couldnt remember to turn into the
right roads :) We arrived at the venue after many minutes getting
lost and a scary moment where we encountered a low bridge that was
fortunately just about high enough for the truck to get under.
New York...its a name that is on everyones minds and a place which
really appealed to me when i heard about the tour. It was about
4am on the day of the gig and the city was very alive. I was really
tempted to hit the town then but i knew that i had a couple of nights
where i could let my hair down (if i had any). I hit the trunk bunk
We was parked round the back of the club so i awoke to see some
really cool art graffiti alongside the outside wall. The venue itself
is similar in size to the Wolverhampton civic but with a very low
roof. Balconies span the sides and the back.
I met loads of people tonight including a friend who i have had
virtual communication with for 5 years (Doris).
That was a special moment for me and i wont ever forget it. There
was also two people i met at Maida Vale in April (Becs
and Chris) who had flown out for the weekend especially to see
Orbital. Then there was people from the forums and xmission list.
Im glad to say that people i talk to via email, messaging or by
phone end up twice as friendly in real life.
Orbital were on top form - Phil came onstage and immediately was
warming the crowd up - "Its great to be here!". The party
had started and there was nearly 2000 people freaking to the awesome
sound of "Tension". It was hot in the venue and it soon
became a sweat bucket with the crowd activity. "Funny Break
(Weekend Ravers Mix)" is still proving to be a massive crowd
pleaser. A mass of arms waved as the breakdown introduced the uplifting
synth. "Illuminate" has metamorphosed into a vocodered
version 2 with the aggressive fat bass lines and crashing beats.
Orbital bid goodbye before the encore and immediately the crowd
simultaneously shouted "We Want More!....We Want More!".
Paul and Phil gladly fulfilled the request. Tonight the crowd in
New York made this into the gig of the tour without a doubt.
Tomorrow is a non-gig day - the band moved onto Toronto overnight
whereas i decided to spend an extra night in New York. I travelled
with a few people from the meetup with our host Doris to a really
cool , low-lit pub not far from that cafe from "When
Harry met Sally". It was a long night ...
MORE PHOTOS OF NEW YORK ON THE TOURS
October - Toronto - The Opera House
my extra day in New York and not much sleep at all, I made my way
to the airport for a quick flight to Toronto. I had a very interesting
taxi journey - the conversation was totally inspiring and one that
I caught on video as I was filming the scenery. A few people have
asked if I have photos and video of the sights and the answer is
yes. I will be creating a side page so that those who are interested
can view it online. This wont be completed until I come back from
the tour and recover of course :)
My flight was very relaxing and I probably spent less time in the
air than I did in the airport. Security was way too relaxed for
my liking and I was surprised the reaction I got when I told three
people about a box that was quite happily sitting in the baggage
area on its own. No one was interested and one security person mentioned
that they "didn't care". Shocking...
Unfortunately I didn't get chance to see much of the sites - I wanted
to experience the view from the tower for one. Downtown Toronto
was rammed - I experienced the rush hour on a tram with all my baggage.
Great Fun! I finally arrived at the venue just as the sound check
was starting up. The atmosphere has always been very relaxed considering
that the tour has remotely suffered from poor promotion and a reduced
crowd because of the obvious reasons. We have received many emails
with kind comments including "All thoughts of the attacks,
missing friends and Anthrax scares melted away the moment you hit
the stage. It was incredibly therapeutic and you made a lot of people
happy". That is the biggest compliment that Orbital could have
The venue is the usual balcony theater's but this one had different
levels for viewing. The support act was a live group so that made
a good change. Their music was fairly chilled out which appealed
to me and a lot of the crowd (I have some brief video footage which
I will get online when I get back). I met some wonderful people
tonight and a few eccentric fans (nothing wrong in that). Special
hello to Aimee,
her Boyfriend, her Brother and her Dad (Thanx for your help getting
me away from the airport). Aimee is another friend who I have had
years of communication with over the Internet but never ever met
her until tonight.
had no problems warming the crowd as they were already up for
the gig. "The Girl With The Sun In Her Head" was warm
and refreshing enough to raise the hairs on the back of the head
in time with everybody's arms and cheers. Phil and Paul appear
to be even more animated on stage as they respond to the crowds
response. "Oi" has been a favorite with the American
crowd and it appears to have made an impact with the Canadians.
The video animation created by Giles Thacker contains the infamous
PacMan sequences being chased by toasters! Totally deranged!
I managed to mingle down front left and the crowd were certainly
one of the best of the tour especially as "Impact" turned
everyone seriously mad. It was a big wet sweaty night!
Tomorrow we make our way to the American border and get ready
to entertain Detroit.
MORE PHOTOS OF TORONTO ON THE TOURS
October - Detroit - St Andrews
left Toronto and my head was spinning. I don't know whether to
blame the two bottles (ahem) I drank or the lack of sleep. I managed
to update the site as Kenny (Mr Truck driver extraordinaire!)
blasted towards the border. We was expecting some serious delays
because of the added security checks but it was surprising easy
to get back into the states.
As soon as we crossed the bridge we could see the lights of Detroit.
It was raining...and it didn't stop raining and raining. After
a short sleep I decided to have a look around. I thought i would
find a record store so i could grab some classic Detroit sounds
but i searched for at least an hour. I was soaked and cold - the
wind didnt help one bit neither. No one could point me in the
direction so it wasn't long before I came back to the venue.
The venue was smaller than the usual gigs we had been to but it
still looked an appealing night. The balcony creaked as you walked
on it and the downstairs was supposed to be THE place that the
Detroit house sounds were made - Strings of life!
I was generally feeling a bit low today and im sure that other
seemed to be the same. Sounds a bit mad but seeing and experiencing
the bad weather just made a few of us think of home (its an English
thing I guess!). So it was good to see the doors finally open
ready for a night of Orbital.
There was a few familiar faces, Aimee, Chantale and Trish turned
up because they wanted a second dosage from the Toronto gig night
before. Orbital were certain to please and fulfill their request.
There were quite a few photographers and its always a good idea
to see their reaction to the gig. I remember watching one guy stop
shooting his film during "Belfast". The familiar tones
were brought in and he just stopped clicking away, looked up and
beamed a massive smile. "Illuminate" oozed the crowd into
a frenzy as the more up-beat part of the track enticed the people
with the big deep bass and "phat" beats. Hypnotic they
didn't start dancing until the night was over. The crowd was a lot
slower to react but in the end they were one. Not the best crowd
of the tour but it was certainly a different story as the last few
tracks played out. Tomorrow is Chicago.
MORE PHOTOS OF DETROIT ON THE TOURS
October - Chicago - The Metro
left the wind, rain and cold of Detroit and made our way to
the Windy City. We arrived in the early hours of the morning
after the long drive. Chicago wasnt as cold as I thought it
would be and it wasn't raining so that was a massive bonus.
After a short visit for breakfast with multiple cups of coffee
(they just keep filling it up yaknow!) the truck was unloaded
and another gig day starts. It takes hours to set up the Orbital
stage and equipment. These guys just make it look so simple
and it always runs fairly smooth. There needs to be a bonding,
when they are on the road for weeks without seeing their family.
It appears yesterdays blues had an effect on half the crews
brains as one by one, people within the Orbital camp realized
they had left something back in Detroit. I then realized I had
left my coat and my traveller cheques (although...i realized
that they were with me all the while...thick or what :) ). It
was gonna be fun getting everything back!
The venue was yes...you guessed it....a hall with a balcony.
This was more wider than the others and it was to be rammed
with Orbital punters. Sales were very good at this gig and the
general thought was this was to be a sell out.
opened and the place was packed - a confirmed sold out gig. The
crowd didnt disappoint and soon got into the swing of things. "Tension"
is always a good starter to an Orbital gig. Hard, loud and generally
evil sounding. It sends the eardrums into overdrive just like "Satan".
"Satan" is just changing as time goes by and all for the
good reasons. The visuals are dark and menacing, the sounds are
loud, heavy and the Kirk guitar solos are just mind-blowing. "Halcyon"
had a massive response as soon as the synth came in. It was a good
move for Orbital to bring this classic back for the American audience.
There were a lot of people filming and taking shots - hopefully
some will get in touch. There wasnt much room to move and even shoot
photos without disturbing someones space so i decided to complete
some quick shots and let everyone enjoy themselves. I spoke to many
people after the show who had never seen Orbital before. Good responses
as normal and i even saw a few people in tears.
My last leg of the tour is tomorrow...im tired and i seriously smell!
MORE PHOTOS OF CHICAGO ON THE TOURS
October - Minneapolis - Quest
had a bit of a nightmare finding the venue in Minneapolis. Ken knew
where it was but the truck had to deal with reduced road widths
due to roadworks and navigation problems because of the one way
systems. We got there in the end!
The venue looked very cool - a dancefloor, side bars, sit down table
area, a balcony with more sit down areas and this really cool tree
infested nightclub area.
This was to be my last Orbital gig of the USA tour and I would have
to admit that I was starting to feel very tired and rundown because
of the whole experience. All those late nights and cat nap sleeping
doesn't really help does it ? :)
I managed to get a small video interview with Paul and Phil before
the gig and within time (hopefully sooner rather than later) we
will get that online for everyone to download and watch. I just
had enough time to get myself booked in the hotel and then back
to the venue to meet up with a few people.
This was a bit of an early gig with Orbital due to FINISH at 10pm
but there was a good vibe in the club from the start. I got all
the photo stuff out the way early on and I decided that I wasn't
going to video any of this gig just so I could get stuck into the
gig with the crowd. "Belfast" sounded awesome tonight
- the rumbling bassline that introduces the track from the Weekend
Ravers mix of Funny Break is enough for me. I could listen to that
loop for hours on end. The vocal samples that are lifted from the
original always guarantee a response and tonight is no different.
I cant see anyone not enjoying this rendition and I feel exactly
the same with "Impact". Last tour they decided to reverse
part1 and part2, this time they take the original track in a different
direction. I seriously cant get enough of this track and its current
version. Brilliant! "Satan" has also been taken to another
world mainly because the visuals and lighting play a major part
in the track. The final section with the strobes is just great to
watch and hear!
Its all over. Its time for me to head back to normal English life.
I have the jet-lag to look forward to and then I have work at 9am
on Monday. cant wait. America is an amazing place and it was good
to see a mixture of cities. The people I met were friendly and made
us feel very welcome. I felt sorry to go especially as I knew that
Orbital were carrying on westward. I missed my life back at home
as well and I missed a lot of special people in my life.
I would like to thank everyone who I met and everyone within the
Orbital camp for making all this possible. A big thank you for Ken
for the entertainment on the road!
I have plenty of material in photo and video format that I will
be slowly adding to the site within the few weeks. I will also be
creating a separate page that will have sight-seeing pics for those
who are interested in that. Join the mailing list to ensure you
are kept up to date with any updates on the site.
PHOTOS OF MINNEAPOLIS ON THE TOURS
End of the Road
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