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The week I ran away to the circus


Aidan

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Monday, May 12. Very early, 2am. A cab calls to take me to Birmingham airport. I'm on my way to Seattle to join the circus.

 

Back story: Singer Kari Kirkland, who was my musical partner for several years here in the UK, moved back to the US a few years ago, and married Gary, who runs Emerald City Trapeze Arts in Seattle. The facility specialises mostly in training and 'experience days' but puts on a few shows every year. I'm down to play piano in that show, along with other performers including Cirque du Soleil guys from Florida, and a clown from Italy.

 

Arriving in Seattle, there's no time for jet lag as I arrive at ECTA (located in an old iron foundry) and begin working up the songs with Kari all are swung/slightly reharmed versions of pop favourites, including Billie Jean, Oops I Did It Again and in a nod to our 'home city', Pearl Jam's Alive.

 

The rig is a single Yamaha P255. Not the best DP I've ever played but the vibe of the whole show is so great I don't worry too much about that for very long.

 

The second night of my stay is a long one, with a tech rehearsal, working on sound, lights and cues. We fortify ourselves with a pot of delicious chicken gumbo made by aerialist Rachel. The following night, the dress, is longer still and more like what the tech should have been. But no chance of a breath... into three shows, boom boom boom.

 

And now the bit most pertinent to this place...

 

On Saturday morning, I stroll down into the lobby of my hotel to meet Bill (Burningbusch to you lot). We get in his car and drive up into the mountains, and we talk about everything and anything including keyboards, needless to say!

 

For those who've never met him, Bill is a hugely nice guy and it was a pleasure to do this mini road trip with him.

 

Afterwards, he drops me off at a brasserie near my hotel where I have another KC 'date' this time with Richard (voxpops) and his wife, who are also coming to see the final show. Again, it was great to spend some time nattering, again mostly about keyboard stuff, thus boring poor old Val!

 

Then it was time for the final show everyone was on fire that night, with breathtaking catches on the trapeze, immense physical comedy from Marco the clown and some pretty good music from Kari and I, if I do say so myself.

 

The next day, some of the cast gathered for a final brunch before I headed back off to SeaTac airport and, around 14 hours later, I found myself once more at home here in the UK.

 

The whole thing was so compressed time-wise it felt like one big dream for much of the time, but I had an absolute ball and made some wonderful new friends in my circus family.

 

What a wonderful gig.

Yamaha P515 | Yamaha CP4 | Yamaha MODX 8 | Casio PX S1000 | Nord Electro 5D | Moog Sub 37 | Korg Monologue | Native Instruments Maschine MK3 | Novation Circuit Tracks | Plug-ins Agogo

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and a clown from Italy.
At which point I thought, "you mean Carlo?" :D

 

Sounds like a blast, Aidan! I'm glad you had such a fun adventure. Have you been to the U.S. before?

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Was wondering what you were doing in Seattle. Sounds like the experience of a lifetime! Congrats on an incredible couple days that only a professional musician could ever experience.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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Sounds like a great gig and awesome experience, Aidan. I must admit to being slightly envious; I enjoy traveling for gigs.

 

Running off to join the circus has been tempting, at times. Sometime I'll have to tell the story about auditioning for an actively shrinking, circus band :crazy: .

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And for the 'pix or it didn't happen' brigade, here's me and voxpops (Richard) enjoying a pre-show drink at the local brasserie.

 

http://www.goldstraw.com/images/seattle.jpg

Yamaha P515 | Yamaha CP4 | Yamaha MODX 8 | Casio PX S1000 | Nord Electro 5D | Moog Sub 37 | Korg Monologue | Native Instruments Maschine MK3 | Novation Circuit Tracks | Plug-ins Agogo

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If you're on Facebook, you can see some pictures from the show here...

 

Klonkety

Yamaha P515 | Yamaha CP4 | Yamaha MODX 8 | Casio PX S1000 | Nord Electro 5D | Moog Sub 37 | Korg Monologue | Native Instruments Maschine MK3 | Novation Circuit Tracks | Plug-ins Agogo

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Yeah, Richard's a dab hand at the old Photyshop, ya know!

Yamaha P515 | Yamaha CP4 | Yamaha MODX 8 | Casio PX S1000 | Nord Electro 5D | Moog Sub 37 | Korg Monologue | Native Instruments Maschine MK3 | Novation Circuit Tracks | Plug-ins Agogo

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He forgot to Vesti La Giubba though :)

Yamaha P515 | Yamaha CP4 | Yamaha MODX 8 | Casio PX S1000 | Nord Electro 5D | Moog Sub 37 | Korg Monologue | Native Instruments Maschine MK3 | Novation Circuit Tracks | Plug-ins Agogo

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Sounds like a great trip, and yes, swing tunes seem appropriate for that crowd.

 

Since you made it back home safe and sound that means you didn't run away with aerialist Rachel, despite her excellent chicken gumbo. Where's her pic btw? ...not that I don't enjoy an ocassional pic of a talented and handsome clown...

"It is a danger to create something and risk rejection. It is a greater danger to create nothing and allow mediocrity to rule."

"You owe it to us all to get on with what you're good at." W.H. Auden

 

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Just for you, humannoyed...

 

http://www.goldstraw.com/images/rachel.jpg

Yamaha P515 | Yamaha CP4 | Yamaha MODX 8 | Casio PX S1000 | Nord Electro 5D | Moog Sub 37 | Korg Monologue | Native Instruments Maschine MK3 | Novation Circuit Tracks | Plug-ins Agogo

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I was expecting elephants! ;)

 

It was a great show, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Aidan and Kari seamlessly wove the performance together with polished singing and playing - they read each other superbly.

 

No, the P255 sound is nothing to write home about, but Aidan coaxed the very best out of it with some truly imaginative arrangements.

 

All-in-all, a memorable day out. We had a really nice pre-show get-together, and though he chickened out of getting up there with the trapeze artistes, Aidan made the evening swing in other ways!

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