It’s time to start work on the next tour.For the sake of perception and those who wish to discover for the first time ‘Brand Jem’, we are simply calling this a mini tour, or perhaps: a few gigs just strung together in Germany. We’re only going to be away 10 days and that includes travel in and out, plus a day set aside for a TV show. So no major pressure apart from the usual times set aside to rehearse songs we know almost backwards, inside out, and anywhichway.
Being a serial rehearser, I call it ‘Finding the trapdoors’. Songs are deceptive little pests that throw up traps and unexpected snakes, down which to slide, especially when you’re relaxed, looking for an ascending ladder and certainly not expecting any hidden problems. They occur most of the time when you’re mid chorus and thinking of food or why the ceiling is green.
The mind goes blank, and then, the sudden creak of the trapdoor heralding potential doom. You fall into creative oblivion waving hands about, wondering why there are 88 unrecognizable black and white blurry piano notes, or guitar chord-shapes made from pink jelly. Mini seconds appear as minutes and then you’re back again, sweating and wondering if anyone noticed. So rehearse I / We must!
Sadly, Jem is unlike me and has the uncanny and enviable ability to perform with the minimum of preparation. So our run-throughs and rehearsals descend quickly into tuneless mayhem with me trying to get to the end of a song sensibly, while she sings a jokey quartertone sharp throughout, while strumming meaningless, tuneless chords on her ukulele. We rarely get through without serious tears of laughter and a final resignation that it will be OK on the night. So good luck studio!
And unlike the previous tour when we had a leisurely 30 minute set each night, this time we are expected to perform two sets of 45 minutes. Then do the table so we can make some dosh on merchandising. Thank goodness it’s only 7 gigs.We decided that should the audience comprise of those who had already seen Jem on the last tour and had already bought the essential albums, we would do a very small, very limited run of a LIVE mini CD EP, Compilation offering.
Jem Cooke LIVE is now complete and we have a total of three hundred and fifty CDs ready to go, and only available on this mini tour. A rather nice eclectic eight songs recorded live on stage, and also in the studio, never to be repeated.
So here’s to seeing you at one of the concerts, checking out the merchandising, old and new, and coming over simply to meet Jem and congratulate her on the recent wedding.
I think we should call this one ‘The Housewarming Tour’. Now, what will a few albums buy for the new home?