Doing a tour as huge as a worldwide Simon and Garfunkel tour really has its own set of demands and occurances, but it certainly is like no other form of touring! I had done many other tours before that, and each time, the treatment, the accommodations, the food, you name it, were totally different.
One of the roughest I ever went on was actually a very fancy one…at least for the headliners! It was a Bee Gee tour of Canada, back when it was still, in my opinion, the “real” Bee Gees. This means it was prior to their Disco-era material, and it focused on those great early songs of theirs such as “To Love Somebody”, and “Lonely Days, Lonely Nights”! I was playing with the opening act, a duet called Janey and Dennis, young kids who were barely known, but we had just done a big-budget lp on Capitol, and were touring in anticipation of its release.
I guess we deduced that the Bee Gees themselves were somehow arriving at all these far-apart Canadian venues with their own Lear Jet, while we were relegated to the back of a freezing cold tour bus, with no heat and no working bathroom, which we also had to share with their 30-piece orchestra!!
Rough, to say the least! I can recall our “harshest” time being that we got off the stage, didn’t change, and then made it to the next gig, 24 hours later, just in time to walk onstage again……no place to sleep, change, eat, nothing. I got terribly sick on this tour, as I seemed to all the time, but this was really harsh. There were even some band members so elderly and sick they were lying on cots in the bus’ aisle!
One time, the crowd of 15000 screaming kids were all chanting “Bee Gees, Bee Gees!!” at the top of their lungs right through out slow and quiet blues number, so I figured I’d shut them up by starting my solo with the loudest, stinging guitar note they’ve ever heard. And boy, did it work…I think that note is still reverberating off the back wall somewhere in that hockey stadium!
Still, all in all, it was a rewarding experience…. the Bee Gees asked me to play pedal steel guitar on “Massachusetts” each night, and Janey ended up becoming my first serious girlfriend, but THAT’s for a whole different blog, at another time and place!! Oh, by the way, the album we were touring to promote ended up being shelved by Capitol Records, never to be seen again, effectively ending the young career of Janey and Dennis! Till then, please try to stay inspired, my guitar-picking friends!
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