This month Mitch works with “a man that can hear frequencies that would defeat the auditory apparatus of a bat”! Read on...
Our home is a tad Dickensian in appearance. Think Pentonville prison but without the charm
it is the First Monday in January. it is 6.30am. Outside lies an alluring combo of the Dark, the Wet and the cold. the wheelie bins are stuffed to overflowing with wrapping and seasonal messaging.
the living room floor is littered with socks of random size, battery depleted games consoles and boxed sets of Breaking Bad. the offices of relate have run out of time slots. a lone figure loads a large estate car. it needs to be. Large, that is.
By the time he is done, it has swallowed a flightcased Mesa Boogie valve amp, an aer acoustic amp, a Gibson L4, Fender strat, Parker Fly, taylor electroacoustic, another taylor electrospanish, collapsible guitar rack, effects board and three bags of accessories. it can mean only one thing: it is time for, wait for it: strictly come Dancing - the Live arena tour 2015.
and so i make way to John henry’s rehearsal studio complex in London’s deeply unfashionable Kings cross industrial estate for the start of rehearsals.
Our home for the week is a tad Dickensian in appearance. think Pentonville prison (only a couple of knotted sheets away) but without the charm. however, appearances are deceptive. Our rehearsal space is warm, there is parking and there is breakfast. the closest thing to Musician nirvana this side of christmas!
and so to business. the rhythm section is set up and at around 11.00am i turn over the first page of music. and there it is.
“scD 2015 Opening - Michael Jackson Medley”.
We are up and running under the watchful ears of the musical genius that is David arch. a man that can hear frequencies that would defeat the auditory apparatus of a bat. the only man to correctly transcribe the exact chuck Berry guitar intro to Johnny B Goode, complete with the original mistakes on the record. and then insist that i play it that way. exactly.
to misquote a well-known popular music ditty, he Wants it all. he Wants it now. and he Wants it Played right. right now. and by and large we do, with a little guidance from the Maestro himself.
We sight read each chart pretty much immediately. there is a short discussion after every piece to fine-tune the exact synth sound, tidy up some phrasing or adjust the level of a particular guitar effect. and then we’re on to the next dance.
at 2.00pm we are joined by the Brass section and the merry day wears on. By 6.00pm this bunch of hot-shot session superstars (present company excluded) have taken 14 individual dance arrangements in an assortment of styles, two group dances, an opening and a closing sequence and the generic “strictly” links and nailed them.
there is satisfaction to be gained from performing the material to the highest standard possible and in such a short time. it is close of play. “thanks guys. same time tomorrow. We’ll do it all again.”
i am a trifle fatigued, it must be admitted. in this professional musician game, apparently, one has to concentrate. Why was i not informed at the outset? The Strictly Come Dancing - The Live Arena Tour 2015 Band comprises: Allan Rogers (Musical Director/Keyboard 2), Brett Morgan (Drums), Trevor Barry (Bass Guitar), Jeff Leach ((Keyboard 1), Oli Blake (Percussion), Mitch Dalton (Guitars), Simon Allen (Sax/ Guitar 2), Tom Rees-Roberts (Trumpet 1), Chris Storr (Trumpet 2), and Barnaby Dickinson (Trombone). See you next month for some more shenanigans!