SES­SION SHENANI­GANS

This month Mitch works with “a man that can hear fre­quen­cies that would de­feat the au­di­tory ap­pa­ra­tus of a bat”! Read on...

Guitar Techniques - - Intro -

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!

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