Posts

Music Daze: The (Isle of) Wight Album p. 7 Sunday: We Are The Champions!

This is the seventh part of my series of articles about my experience in the Isle Of Wight. You can read here the FIRST part,  SECOND part, THIRD part, FOURTH part, FIFTH part and SIXTH part.

 

In the crowd in the rain…

At one point during the Ocean Colour Scene set, they sang a song about rain, and just when they finished their last chord, it started to rain much harder. The whole crowd cheered happily, because it felt like a magical moment, where the weather heard the band calling for water!

That was a very nice moment, but honestly, I was mostly anxious, because I wanted to move forward, and once this band finished performing, it was our last chance to move to the front.

So the band finished their set, and it was raining a lot. We had about 45 minutes left before Queen hit the stage, and it was time for our last effort to make it as close as possible to the stage.

Only few people moved around, and we got very near the barrier and to the right side of the stage. That was it; we couldn’t move any further.

At first, I was disappointed, but then I realized I had just two people in front of me before hitting the barrier, and I was just about to see the concert I waited all this year for, just a few feet from the stage! Our position wasn’t as good as the day before, but I was one lucky person to be there, enjoying all these bands, and now about to enjoy a full Queen concert in such a close standing position.

The people in front of me were Queen + Adam Lambert fans, as they had the tour t-shirts on. They were hardcore fans who came from all over England to see these concerts, and my friends and I started to talk with them. They turned out to be very, very nice, and they helped me out, taking some pictures of me and my Chilean flag. My friends told them that I came all the way from South America to see this concert, and they were thrilled.  We had a little chat about cultural differences, music, and some other topics. It was all fun!

While the stage was being set up, I got to see how the roadies installed the guitar amps, the drum set, and some stairs between the catwalk and the Main Stage. All this while flying like coordinated dancing working bees. It was thrilling to me. And very exciting.

A black curtain in the background that was used by the other bands for their scenography, was taken off, and it revealed a big, round L.E.D. screen with a “Q” shape. It was hidden back there all this time, just for this moment. The wings on both sides of the stage were uncovered, too, to reveal yellow stairs as an extension to the Main Stage.

And at this point, a white curtain with the “Queen” logo dropped down covering all the stage. This was gonna be revealed only when the band started their set.

Queen stage right wing

While the rain was still hitting hard, I could see people with brooms nervously trying to dry the floor of both the catwalk and the side wings.

It was awesome to see those backstage details!

Then I started to hear the “Track 13” from the Made Of Heaven álbum, which is the indicator that the show was starting in about 15 minutes. It’s a 15 minute track hidden on that album that mostly contains a D note, played in a strings patch of a synthetizer. It’s so simple, but it sets the exciting atmosphere right away.

A loud sound came from the PA system and the concert was finally starting.

 

On the two big screens, I could see backstage footage of Brian May, Roger Taylor, Adam Lambert, and the whole band getting ready to come on stage while the recorded introduction for the song One Vision started to play. The audience started to go crazy, and by the end of it, the crisp, clear sound of Brian May’s guitar gave us the first notes of the same song. The white curtain was raised, and boom!! I could see for the first time on stage, since my last time in Chile 2015, Brian May, Roger Taylor, and Adam Lambert performing. Everyone started clapping and singing while Adam Lambert inmediately took over the catwalk, wearing a kind of George Michael jacket that shined in the lights.

Just the day before, all the news was about the sad killing of lots of people in a discotheque in Orlando, Florida, and my friends were upset that Adam could be the next victim while singing on stage. I could see many worried guards protecting Adam offstage and upstage, and at this concert, I could tell that they tried to hold him back from using the catwalk or the stage wings that much. My friends could not calm down.

But tonight, no tragedy happened. It was all happiness and fun. Brian May went up to the right wing, getting very near of our position at some songs and it was a full joy. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

At one point, one of the English guys we’d just met asked me if I was ok. They probably thought I was fainting or something. All I remember was jumping and singing every song at the top of my lungs!

Adam Lambert had his own show, singing Killer Queen while sitting on a throne, drinking champagne, and spitting it into the audience. As usual, he thanked Brian and Roger for the chance to be there, just before singing Don’t Stop Me Now. What an amazing frontman!

In the middle of the show, Brian May walked down the catwalk and took a selfie video of the whole audience.  Then, he sang  Love Of My Life, as always, dedicated to the late Freddie Mercury.

Roger Taylor had another drum set on the catwalk too, and he sang some songs there, too (sorry Roger, your voice is not the one that was before!). He had a drum battle between he and his son, and then he performed Under Pressure, dedicated to David Bowie.

Later, Brian May had his trademark Guitar Solo while being raised above the skies in front of the big Q shaped screen in the background of the stage. Not one of the finest musical moments of history, but one of the most impressive moments of the show to me.

Later, during I Want It All, there was this big fire coming from the stage making everyone go crazy.

There was this big emotional moment just before Adam Lambert sang Who Wants To Live Forever. He dedicated this song to all the victims of “irrational hate crimes,” as he called them, referring to the Orlando shooting the day before. This song was embellished with many laser lights and a disco ball that came down from the ceiling, making the show even more impressive. Adam hit every note just right, and it was such a perfect climax.

Much later in the show, the band performed Radio Gaga, and Adam came off the stage to sing in front of the people (much like Iggy Pop the day before). Sadly, he didn’t come to our side, but that was another moment when the audience went crazy.

Then the encore came: We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions, which ended impressively with an explosion of gold confetti. The show was over, the band said goodbye from the Main Stage without approaching to the catwalk for the last time, while the recording of God Save The Queen was sounding over the PA system.

The stage was empty again, and I grabbed confetti from the floor to have as a souvenir from this wonderful night.

 

My friends and I hugged, and as we turned back, a big fireworks show started displaying in the beautiful skies of the Isle Of Wight, closing this year’s festival and finishing our adventure on this great Island.

Music Daze: The (Isle of) Wight Album p. 6 Sunday – Helplessly Hoping

This is the sixth part of my series of articles about my experience in the Isle Of Wight. You can read here the FIRST part,  SECOND part, THIRD part, FOURTH part and FIFTH part

The whole park was filled with people, and I started to get more anxious, as I was seeing more and more people with Queen t-shirts, Adam Lambert clothes, and I even saw a couple of Queen + Paul Rodgers t-shirts (Queen performed live with the singer Paul Rodgers between 2005 and 2008 and that project was dead a long time ago). So I started to think that if so many people were there to see Queen, it meant that we had less chance to get to the front.

Once we returned to the bar, we saw the crowd at the Main Stage, and decided it was time to go there and start making our way to the front. This time it wasn’t gonna be as easy as the day before! The place had many more people, and about 70% of them were already waiting for Queen & Adam Lambert,  so they weren’t moving anywhere. We had still more than 3 hours to go, but we decided it was time to start the “get to to the fence or die” operation!

IOW sunday crowd

The crowd in the middle of the day

The clouds were threatening to punish the whole audience with a long and hard rain, but I didn’t care.  All I wanted to do was to get to the front.

Mike + The Mechanics were still on stage and, as we walked through the people, we could only get to the right side of the stage, and not even close to the fence. I noticed that the stage was shaped differently today: the night before, there was installed a catwalk on the center of the stage, and 2 “wings” on both sides that served the purpose of being extensions of the stage. Those wings had stairs and they were covered in plastic paper to protect them from the possible rain. As I saw Queen & Adam Lambert last year in Chile (and on countless Youtube videos too), I knew those nIMG_6740ew things were for the Queen concert, and they were  probably installed by some hard working roadies the night before (who were probably now sleeping inside the big Queen Trucks).

I was actually happy to see that the band was about to use the usual stage props for their show, and not a reduced one, due to the many different bands performing on stage that day.

By the time Mike + The Mechanics finished their set, only very few people moved away, so we had one more chance to keep walking through the people, and start approaching the front. We started walking to the center of the crowd and then forward until we hit a barrier of people who weren’t moving at all!

So we decided to wait there until the next band finished their set, and hopefully then, try again to move a little further to the front. It was exciting and scary at the same time, as I didn’t want to give up on my hope to get to the front, but this time it wasn’t looking as nice as the day before.

 

Next on stage were TThe Cribs IOW stagehe Cribs and we were stuck on the right side of the stage, still not near the front. The band started playing, and I noticed they were a rock band with a grunge attitude, kind of like a mixture between Green Day and Pearl Jam. But oh my God! They sounded so bad. I imagined they were having a bad day or something, because I think that every band on the Main Stage probably deserved being there. But these boys had their instruments and voices completely out of tune. It was painful to hear their one hour set.

Again, I was very surprised about how respectful the audience was. People around me looked equally impressed at how awful this band was, but they still clapped and cheered when each song ended. I didn’t hear anyone booing.

But I must say, the band had a very rock attitude, and the singer/guitarist was the only one I saw using the catwalk installed for Queen. I imagined it was probably forbidden for other acts to use Queen’s scenery, but this guy did it anyway in a rebel rock attitude. In between one of the songs the singer/guitar player said something like “I know you are here for Queen, we all love Queen so we are on the same side”  To me, that was like apologizing for having a bad day, and I got a little sad for them. I imagined that they probably heard people getting bored, or not liking their songs, and being a musician, myself, I can imagine how hard it is to be in such a position.

So, they ended their show with a loud, out-of-tune noise from all the instruments, as if they were about to break everything, and then got off the stage.

OCS IOW stage

Ocean Colour Scene on the stage

After that, we managed to try to keep moving. We were running out of time, as there was only one last band left before Queen & Adam Lambert. We managed to move a little more to the center and front, but still not quite near the barrier.

We stayed there, and after about 45 minutes, the last band came on stage: Ocean Colour Scene. It was a softer rock band than The Cribs, and I could instantly tell the difference in their sound. This one sounded a lot more profesional and clear, from their instruments, musicianship and even to the sound mixing. Everything sounded more polished compared to the last band.

By this time the feared rain started falling on us. At that time I thought it wasn’t really that much rain, but the people around me started quickly covering with rain ponchos as if they knew this was gonna be the end of the world. It wasn’t that cold for me, so I just covered my head with a Chilean flag I had in my bag during the whole time.

 

And I waited…

 

Stay tuned for my next and last article about my experience at the Isle Of Wight festival 2016

Music Daze: The (Isle of Wight) Album p. 5 Sunday: Prelude

This is the fifth part of my series of articles about my experience in the Isle Of Wight. You can read here the FIRST part,  SECOND part, THIRD part and FOURTH part

The Isle of Wight Festival 2016 and the day of Queen + Adam Lambert performance, Sunday.

The holy day we all waited for! Queen + Adam Lambert was scheduled to end the festival on the Main Stage that night. This time we arrived early, at about 11:00. The weather was cold and we were prepared for a long, rainy day, as it had been forecasted all week.

We had planned this day a long time ago, as my friends had something called “Premium VIP” tickets, and they had invited me. That was a hublackstar barge deal for me, as we were about to get provided with an “exclusive” view of the Main Stage, a bar serving drinks all day, meals, and a shelter in case the weather was too bad.

It was such a treat for me. For only this day, we had a new black wristband for the bar, which was called “Blackstar” in honor to David Bowie’s last álbum. It was a pub installed on a second floor at one side of the big open area where the Main Stage was. Inside, it was all about David Bowie: it had lots of big pictures and paintings of different Bowie’s eras on the wall. It had rest areas, sofas, cushions, and of course, the open bar where pretty ladies were serving drinks on demand. You could drink all you wanted during the whole day.

 

It was a little paradise. Then, with a drink in your hand, you could go outside to a balcony and get a perfect view of all the acts performing on the Main Stage.

The Entrance

The Entrance

Even at the entrance, people treated you differently. You went inside from a special “VIP parking entrance” which was just behind the Main Stage, and security guys acted all nice to us once they saw our wristbands. The long walks across the Seaclose park to get to the Main Stage were all over for today! While we were walking there, I could see the back of the Main Stage, where roadies were still working installing equipment for the upcoming bands, and I saw the Queen & Adam Lambert Trucks parked there. Those were the trucks used to transport all the gear and equipment for Queen’s summer tour across Europe, and they had a blue truck company logo and the Queen + Adam Lambert On Tour words marked on the sides. It was very exciting for me.

I also saw a building on the side that wasn’t accesible to the audience: it had signs marked as “backstage and wardrobe”, So, I imagined that it was the site where all the bands hung out and got ready for the performances that day. I didn’t see anyone “famous” at that time, though.

 

 

Main Stage Sunday morning

Main Stage Sunday morning

Anyway, for a normal day, it was way too early to start drinking. But this wasn’t a normal day. So we started to help ourselves getting drinks and I got many margaritas, rum cola, cider, and beer. And that was before lunch time (I’m a drunk ok?).

Inside the bar, there were a couple of ladies painting faces so that you could pretend that you were a “jolly hippie at Woodstock”. I didn’t have the courage to paint my face (I probably needed more drinks for that) but I had enough drinks to get a big “Queen + Adam Lambert” painting on my arm that looked just like a tattoo.

Then just like that, from the balcony of the Blackstar Bar, we saw the performances of The Orders, The High Kings (nice ireland folk music!), Twin Atlantic, Half Moon Run and Mike + The Mechanics. Paying them attention from time to time, as (once again) I didn’t know most of this day’s acts.

Getting my arm painted on the Blackstar bar

Getting my arm painted on the Blackstar bar

The day was passing, and I wanted to go as close to the stage as possible, just like the day before, and hopefully get in a similar spot, near the fence, just like we had watched Iggy Pop and The Who.

So, before trying to go there and spend the rest of the day waiting inside the huge crowd, we decided to go and take a walk for the last time to see this big park and all its carnival games. We caught a troubador singing on one of the stages that reminded me a lot of the “trova” movement in South America. Unfortunately I couldn’t catch his name but he reminded me a lot of the Cuban singer Silvio Rodriguez.

Then, we caught some d.j.’s playing electronic music nearby, and then a couple of songs from The Family Rain at the Big Top.

english "trova"

english “trova”

Soon, we were ready for our big move toward the Main Stage…

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Friends and me at this glorious day

Music Daze: The (Isle of) Wight Album p.2 – Thursday

THE FESTIVAL

This is the follow up article about my experience in the Isle Of Wight. You can read the first part HERE

Now I’m gonna talk about the 2016 version of the Isle Of Wight Festival, as me and my friends lived it. I don’t pretend to be writing a full review of it, because I’m not a journalist, and I didn’t see all of the acts, anyway. So I’m just gonna write here about my experience and how it all felt to me.

IOW festival 2016 poster

Isle Of Wight Festival Official Poster

The festival ran from June 9th to 11th, Thursday to Sunday. Our wristbands were good for the four days, so even if I didn’t know many of the acts, and we were there for Queen + Adam Lambert (who were performing closing the festival on Sunday night) I encouraged my friends to go, at least, for a while to the four days. Because as I said before, this was my first time ever out of Chile, and my first time being at an authentic European festival.

The festival was held in Seaclose, a big park in the city of Newport. As I said before, we were staying in an area of the island called Seaview, which, according to Google Maps, was about a half hour from Newport.

So, on Thursday, it was a beautiful, sunny day, and my friend’s husband dropped us at the entrance after a 45 minutes drive (It took us forever to get there due to the confusing roads and the non helpful signs).

Once we finally got there. I found that the whole place was beautiful. At the entrance, there was this huge space for campers, and after a 10 minute walk inside the park, we got to the festival area, which was filled with clothing stores and souvenirs. It was also like a big carnival featuring

once again: not my entrance....... yet

once again: not my entrance……. yet

some scary games which I didn’t ride cause I’m a chicken. There were countless attractions and many small stages which were starting to fill the air with music. But the principal area was the one where you could go to the 2 main stages: the Big Top, and the Main Stage (what a clever name!). Those were the 2 principal stages where the best known bands were about to perform during the 4 days of festival. The Big Top was like the younger brother of the Main Stage. It looked like a huge circus tent, and some well known bands were scheduled to perform there, like Status Quo. But it wasn’t really made to hold the majority of the festival audience.

The other part the Main Stage was a huge stage, located in a big open area of the park. That was the real deal: the stage where you would see these big acts performing one after another, and it was made to be seen from very far away. Artists like The Who, Iggy Pop and Queen + Adam Lambert were scheduled to perform there.

On Thursday, the first day, there weren’t artists scheduled to perform on the Main Stage, but the Big Top was open and receiving their first bands and audience.

I was interested in checking out a band called The Sex Pissed Dolls, which caught my attention several weeks before arriving at the festival. They are an all-girl punk band, with very young girls performing in it. I checked out some of their youtube videos while I was still in Chile, and decided that I wanted to see them live. Also, I must say, they are all very gorgeous, and I couldn’t help being attracted by that too (shame on me!).

In the festival publicity, they were featured as just “The Dolls”. So, that was a bit confusing.

We got to the Big Top just a couple of minutes before they started to perform. There weren’t many people there, so my friends and I quickly got to the front.

And so, my first experience ever in an European festival was seeing The Sex Pissed Dolls at the Isle Of Wight Festival.

They played a tribute set of punk songs, and they were impressive to me. A very promising start for what would be this experience to me. As I was in the front, I could also see that they were being filmed by professional cameras. Those images were being broadcasted live on two big screens on both sides of the stage. It was so much fun to see the girls giving it all for the audience, but also playing and making sexy moves for the cameras. I really wish I could find this performance on Youtube to see them again, because I enjoyed it so much. Thank you girls for giving me a really great start to the festival experience!

the dolls

After that performance, we had to go out of the Big Top because the volume of the PA was too loud and we were standing just in front of one of them. As a musician myself, I must take care of my hearing; even if I was having so much fun listening to The Dolls at a very high volume, at times it was too darn loud! (spot the two Back To The Future reference I’ve made so far!)

After watching that show, as it was our orientation day, we got ourselves a beer and some food, and wandered around the stores and some of the small stages, and I got some memorabilia. As the park was so big, it was actually a long walk getting from one place to another. So we quickly found out that it was impossible to really see most of the festival acts, unless we could clone ourselves. This was like a big Disneyland to me and the day passed too fast!

Join me next time where I’m gonna keep revisiting my experience in the Isle Of Wight Festival 2016

Music Daze: The (Isle of) Wight Album p.1

Following the few days my friends and I spent in London, our next adventure on this trip was going to the Isle of Wight festival to see Queen + Adam Lambert. Of course,  that was just the main excuse to go there.

It’s always fun to see a new place I’ve never heard of before starting to plan this trip, and I spent a lot of time trying to imagine what it would look like. I wanted to “sightsee” everything and, of course, have the experience of attending a real European festival. So once it was confirmed that we were attending the 4 days of the Festival, I spent several months daydreaming about it.

 The Isle of Wight was also the place where we were going to stay for the most time during this trip.

last ride on “The Tube”

Our adventure in London finished with us taking, for the last time, the tube to the Terminal 5 station, which was one of the many subway stations at the Heathrow Airport. (Wouldn’t it be great to have a subway station to get directly to the Santiago airport in Chile?). On the same day, we were meeting with a couple of friends that were coming from the USA to start their part of the journey with us.

After meeting them, our first adventure in London finished, and we took a van heading to Southampton, a city with one of the biggest boat harbors in England, and where we would be taking a ship to cross the English Channel to the Isle of Wight.

Southampton harbor

It was a wonderful sunny day, and I was pleasently surprised about the good weather coming with us. Back in Chile everyone kept warning me about how awful the weather was in London, and I was waiting to have lots and lots of rain and cold, especially near the sea in Southampton.

adventure island!!

We found that the harbor was huge, and the van driver (who was a local) got lost trying to find the right gate for where we had reserved a rental car to take to the island. We spent like 30 minutes wandering around, trying to find the right spot. It was very funny, since the rental car agency was basically, right across the Street from where we kept looking.

Finally, the driver took us to the right place, and after my friends rented the car to travel through the island, we were set to head to the ferry.

After a pleasant 40 minutes ride on the ferry, we arrived at a town on the Isle of Wight called East Cowes, which is located in the north of the island. After that, we were inside the island and all we had to do was discover it.

England from the ferry

 

 

the Isle of Wight from the ferry

As we were heading to our new “operation base” in an area called Seaview, I looked out the window from the car, and started discovering how everything had these incredibly bright colors.
Everywhere I looked, was like looking a real life postcard, including the houses and construction which had this very antique “English” look.

We also discovered another very remarkable side of the island: the roads! Wow… I must say I’ve never seen such confusing roads. I was so glad I wasn’t driving, or else I would be a nervous wreck the whole time there!

First, most roads are very, very narrow, so you really feel like you are about to fall down a cliff or you are gonna crash against another car driving on the opposite side. And second: the signs on the streets indicating directions were very confusing, and most of the time they led us to a whole different area of the island where we weren’t supposed to be. Even with the gps turned on and the app Waze running on our cell phones, it was very difficult to find the right location. So driving along those roads was an adventure of its own!

To get around the tension that driving on the island caused, we found ourselves constantly joking about the “roundabouts”, which were very weird for us, or taking bets on how many wrong turns we were going to make before finding the right direction. So the roads were kind of annoying at first, but in the end it was all fun.

So finally, after countless wrong turns on the roads, we arrived at a nice house located in Seaview called “Wight Lodge” (some day I must do some research on why in England they keep naming their houses as if they were pets). This was a big, beautiful house that my friends had rented to stay in during the festival, and it was the place we called “home” during the next five days. It had a very nice view to the sea (Duh! it’s Seaview!), and the weather was surprisingly hot (I even got to wear shorts during that evening!). While some of my friends decided to go to the yard and spend the evening in the sun, I decided to take a nap in
a nice little room I had for myself. Life was good!

the seaview from Seaview

 

posing on the English Channel beach
English Channel beach

Later that night, we started to make plans for the first day of the festival, which was starting the next day. There were few bands I had heard before, but I was very excited and curious to see how would
it feel to be inside a real “European festival”.

TO THE FESTIVAL

So the next day, Thursday, we woke up, and went to a lovely place to have breakfast nearby called Lily’s Coffee Shop, which for me, was one of the most memorable places we had meals during our stay on the island. The food was excellent, people were very nice and it had this really antique but comfortable feeling of a real English house. Plus, it had funny and some historical signs on the walls.

desayuno “Di campione” y qui pa?!

 

breakfast with friends

And then we were ready for our first festival day!  Some of my friends decided to skip this day, so I just went with two of them. This was, for us, like a “recognition” day, where we would get to know the place, get to know where all the stages were, and the most important thing: get to know the place where Queen + Adam Lambert were going to perform on Sunday.

So, our very first adventure was actually getting there.

wrong entrance! 🙁

I already talked about how difficult the roads were for us. And getting to the festival was not easy at all!. One of my friends’
husband was driving the car, and the plan was to leave us at the festival entrance. We had to go to a huge park in a town called “Newport“, situated slightly to the north of the centre of the island. Oh boy!, did I say already the roads were confusing? The festival, as the big event it was, had caused  many of streets to be closed, and the direction signs (some made especially for the festival days) were equally confusing. We almost ended up getting on the ferry back to Southampton,
we drove in circles, and the traffic was terrible due to the festival.

So, I think we spent about 40 minutes just driving around trying to find the entrance. At one point, we found a police officer. We asked him for directions, and he didn’t know what to say. Even locals seemed to be a bit lost there.

Finally, due to a miracle of God probably, we came  across the right road and we got out of the car, put on our wristbands and were  ready to see the first festival day!

Isle of Wight Festival 2016. Here we go!

And now for the festival itself…stay tuned!!!!!

Getting There.

Hello people from around the world!

I must say, I’ve been very busy. I’ve just finished a new Queen cover: The Show Must Go On.

 

But the most important thing of all is that, as I’m writing this, I’m flying over South America,  heading to Miami. I have finally started the new adventure. I’ll be getting to Miami to then take another flight to Los Angeles where my friends live. I’ve just had a nice dinner and now I’m drinking a Dr. Pepper.

It was hard to leave my family today; even though I know it’s just for a few weeks. I worked hard to stay calm and not cry. As I went through Immigration in Santiago, I felt so lonely and as helpless as a little baby; but, then, I relaxed and actually started enjoying the process.

This is still surreal to me. I can’t believe I’m actually flying to the USA right now. I can’t even imagine what’s ahead of me over the next few days visiting a new country, listening and speaking another language all the time, and who knows what else! All I know is that next weekend I’ll be heading to Europe to see Queen + Adam Lambert. What will happen in between? Well, stay tuned and I’ll tell you all about it soon.

By the way, I was trying to watch a movie on the plane and it was in English without subtitles… I couldn’t understand shit!! I guess my English isn’t that good after all.  We’ll see how it goes in the next few days …

¡AY DIOS MÍO!

¡AY DIOS MÍO!

(Piano Covers) My Life As a Glambert

This is “Welcome To The Show” by Adam Lambert,  featuring Laleh.

At the time I made this cover, it was a brand new song.  I was deeply encouraged to do it by a friend, who happens to be a big Glambert.The story goes a little like this:  after doing “Ghost Town” and having a quite nice reception, especially among Glamberts, my friend asked me if I could do  one of Adam’s songs for my next cover.  Originally, I wanted to do another one from The Original High Album.  But at that time, it was announced on  social media that a new song was about to get released which wasn’t featured on any previous albums.  So,  I thought this was a perfect chance to do something that hasn’t been done before, and the idea was that I could make the first ever piano cover of this brand new song (And hopefully Glamberts would like it!)

Okay Kitty don’t fail me

So my goal was set, and as soon as the song was released, I started listening to it several times a day and transcribing the chords and melody to do a piano arrangement.  But, like most things in life, very few work exactly as you expect them to.I  had my summer vacation scheduled just one week after I started working on the song,  and I wanted to have it recorded and uploaded to Youtube before leaving the city.  I wouldn’t have my gear on my vacation, so the options were:  1) doing the song in 5 days or  2) doing it after I came back home about 2 weeks later.

At the same time,  my friend came up with a whole “marketing” plan for my rendition of this song.  She would help me share it with friends and fellow Glamberts over Twitter and Facebook, and thought that we should take the advantage of all the excitement that a new song always brings to Adam’s fans.

As Adam was just starting his U.S. and European tour, she thought it was just the perfect timing to do it.And, she was already attending a Meet and Greet at  Adam’s concert in Amsterdam,  and she came up with the idea that she could give Adam, himself,  a flashdrive with my “Ghost Town” and the “Welcome To The Show” videos!   She bought a “Hello Kitty” flashdrive, which she thought would “stand out”  to honor the occasion.
It was the perfect plan aimed to get my work known, but as you might imagine, it put a lot of pressure on me.  The timing had to be just right, and I had to do this thing before leaving the city.

So, as bad luck would have it,  the song was in the key of Bbm and I found it wasn’t as easy as I would hope for. It has some technical difficulties I had to overcome between the right and left hand, not the usual “one chord per bar” like lots of pop songs, and overall, the Bbm key is always a nightmare for every pianist.I’m used to playing songs in any key.   I learned a lot playing in bands with singers that would say “Can we play this just a little higher???”, so the band decided to play the song a half key up.  Ok, the guitar player puts his capotasto one “square” high –no problem.   The bass player just plays the same thing as before but also half “square” up — no problem.   But the keyboard player gets completely fucked up in that process — BIG PROBLEM.

You see, you were playing mostly on white keys and a very common key, and now you have to deal with all the black keys at the same time.  That is a nightmare for any pianist or keyboard player who has to play songs “on the fly”.   So, that would make an easily relaxed key like Dm, converted to the hellish nightmare that is Ebm, or an easy song on Am converted to  Bbm.

And what does the rest of the band say about it??   DEAL WITH IT!, or “heey! I thought you were a professional musician”…… So, that way, I learned to play anything,  even if in the most difficult keys.  But it’s always a challenge, and you always curse the “genius” who said: “Hey, let’s make this song in Bbm instead of Am”, or “Let’s change the key from Cm to C#m instead of Cm to Dm which would almost be the same for any singer”.

Anyway, this song was in Bbm and I already decided that I would make all my videos in the same key as the original songs.  As I wrote before, I know very well how to play in any key, but it definitely adds a lot more challenge to anything you are attempting to perform, adding to all the technical challenges that any song has.

I noticed that this was a very time consuming task.  I could play the song from start to finish,  but I definitely was not ready to record it by the end of the week……. so I failed meeting the deadline… and I had to leave the city before finishing the song….I was beat up miserably by “Welcome To The Show.”

Anyway, I enjoyed my vacation, tried not to remember my miserable attempt at doing the song, and arrived home with just 3 days left before  the Meet and Greet. There wasn’t going to be any flashdrive at all if I didn’t make it, and it was the only chance to get my piano version of the song directly to Adam.I practiced the song many, many times  and completed it just one day before the deadline.  But I still had to record it!  So that night I  stayed up pretty much until 5am recording and editing the video.  I slept like two hours, and tried to get  the video to my friend,  who was already in Amsterdam and had given up on me by then, following several angry exchanges that only friends as close as we are can both engage in and endure.

Luckily another miracle happened:   the Wifi on both ends worked okay and she received the video file with just one hour left before the Meet and Greet.  I was just about to quit and forget about the song altogether!

But now, at this very moment,  thanks to a lot of effort and the right timing, this video is on a Hello Kitty flashdrive, hopefully still with Adam.  And after getting both my friend and I very upset, everything turned out just fine!Adam responded with a smile,  a giggle, and interest to my friend’s mention of the flashdrive and my songs.  My friend, one of those obsessed Glamberts, was thrilled with her part in this story.

And now, after 14 takes, here is the finished product

(Piano Covers) My Life is a Ghost Town

This is the 2nd Piano cover I’ve made for my web series.

I’m a big Queen fan, and I was very surprised to hear a new approach to the original Adam Lambert song created by Brian May and Roger Taylor.  They performed a very “Queenie” version of this pop-dance song during the Queen + Adam Lambert South American tour in 2015.  It was a big rocker,  and it featured an amazing Brian May guitar solo.  I was very amazed about their version, I liked it so much that I instantly wanted it to be on my next Piano Cover video.

This time,  I took a different approach and made, from scratch, a backing track based on the Queen version.  Originally, I wanted it to be ready before the Queen + Adam Lambert concert in Chile (September 30th). But due to a full time shitty job I had at the time, it could only be completed in 2016.

This was a full music production work:  I transcribed all the instruments and sequenced them on Cubase 8.5, using Kontakt VST instruments running through Midi. Then, I had the backing track mixed and mastered before recording my Piano performance live in front of the camera. I recorded about 10 takes before getting the one I was happy about.

Finally, the whole track was mixed and mastered again with the live piano performance, and synced with the video footage.

If you want to hear the original Adam Lambert song, you can find it on The Original High album HERE.

Enjoy my rendition of Ghost Town by Adam Lambert (based on the Queen + Adam Lambert live version).

 

My Life With Queen – Queen + Adam Lambert

This is the 3rd part of my story with Queen. Click to read part 1 and part 2

After the night of 2008, when I saw Queen performing in Chile, I thought that was it, I’d never see Brian May and Roger Taylor perform again.  But another miracle happened:  in the year 2012, Queen started touring again with another singer.  This time it was a young man named Adam Lambert.  So, as you can expect, I started again to daydream about seeing  Brian and Roger once again perform in my country.  And I waited…… and I waited…….. and I waited……..

yeah, just like this

 

until finally in the year 2015, the band announced a brand new South American tour,  and included Chile again. The new heavenly date was set for September 30th and the tickets started selling at the end of March.

So “what should I do?”, I said to myself.  Meanwhile,  on the professional career side of my life, nothing was much improved.   I was working on a shitty job and I had more
debts.  Of course, I wanted to see them again as close as possible, but 7 years later, was I still the same irresponsible human being??

 The answer is no. I couldn’t spend again all my money on a VIP ticket again. So with sadness, I had to convince myself that there was no need of seeing them again close to the stage, as in 2008. I’d already seen them once! Why would I’ve ever want to see them again that close??.   That said,  I bought the cheapest ticket.   It was in the balcony,  which I was sure would get only a partial view of the stage, and would be very far away (at least I would still see Brian’s white wig right?).  So I had my ticket, and I was
overly happy again!   I was going to see, once again, Brian and Roger perform with this young singer.

For the next months, I jumped on the social networks, and started joining on Facebook fan pages of both Queen, and the singer Adam Lambert.  By that time I started looking seriously at Twitter, too.  I did that mainly to get more information as close to the original source.  The fun thing is that I found that the people on Adam Lambert fan pages had much more accurate information than people on Queen pages.  Their love for that young singer is  enormous!  They call themselves “Glamberts” and are like the fan base that every musician wishes he could have. I’ve never been that active on any site, I think, but I learned lots and lots of things by just reading.

At one point, I thought that it would be a great idea if I tried to meet one of these people if they came to see the South American concerts. I thought I could be a great tour guide, and I could get a little practice speaking English.  I started looking on both Queen and Glambert sites to see if anyone mentioned anything about South America.

 One day,  someone asked if anybody was going to Brazil in September to see one of the shows. That thread had many replies; some people were going to Argentina, others to Brazil, and many of them were wishing they could travel at all.

One of the replies was from a lady who claimed that she was going to both the Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Santiago (Chile) shows all the way from the USA,  and she had gotten VIP tickets. I thought that would be a great opportunity to use my English skills, and hopefully to meet some nice people.

Then like a creep, I sent her a private message out of nowhere, introducing myself as a Queen fan, going to the Chile concert.  Then, we started talking.  She proved to be a very nice person and I was proving to myself that I could follow a conversation completely in English without using Google Translator.  She told me she had problems getting her tickets, so I offered my help.  I also helped her to get a safe transportation from the airport to the hotel.  She didn’t speak Spanish at all, so I was happy to be useful, helping with all those scary things to solve if you don’t speak the native language of a place.

lady: I just wanna be your friend and help you

By September, we were already cyber-friends.  So we set up a date to meet in person.  She was traveling with her husband and a friend, so I’d get to meet 3 people, and speak only in English. I was terrified! How would I know if they would actually understand my pronunciation???  What If she was nice on the chat but not in real life??  I was scared, but was so curious how would this work out that I just had to do it.

And the day of the meeting arrived! It was September 29th, the day before the Queen + Adam Lambert concert, and she had invited me to the hotel in which she was staying to meet her husband, the friend, and have a meal together.

And it turned out really well!   I met the 3 people.  They were the nicest people ever, and I spoke in English and they actually understood what I was saying.  And suprisingly for me: they were Glamberts! not Queen fans.

At one point in the conversation, I offered to go with them to a mall nearby to help them pick up their tickets.   Then something that I’d never imagined happened:   she said that they wanted me to help them to get through the line at the stadium, and then to the front of the stage.  I replied that I could help them through the line, and then point out to them out where the VIP section was. But my tickets were for the balcony.

And then she told me that, what if they give me a VIP ticket so I could join them at the concert??   And then I think I fainted…… again……….. much like in 2008.   Seriously,
I refused at first;  I’d already had my balcony tickets, and plus I didn’t want it to look like I wanted to meet her only to get a better ticket.  She insisted that they wanted my help!  But I knew she was being nice, and wanted me to be with them, enjoying being near the stage.  So finally,  I accepted the blessing and gave my balcony tickets to my dad and my brother so they could go to the concert too.  Then I realized: I was going to see Queen again!!   Just like in 2008!!  And now with these nice people that I had
just met, and that was a big improvement!  I was so happy and crazy that I even lost my wallet in the taxi back home. Those were some crazy couple of days!

So the next day, I invited them to a tourist site in my city, Santiago. We went up to the “San Cristobal” hill,  which has a giant sculture of the Virgin Mary (yes, my country is very Catholic).  I had them try the most typical snack here: the “empanada“, and have a typical drink: “mote con huesillos“.
It was all fun, and I was being a tourist guide, just like I wanted to be.   Later in the afternoon, I picked up my new friends in a taxi, and gave them a couple of bottles of Chilean wine.  Then we went to the concert, where we had to do a long and messy line to get into the stadium.  Then, finding the VIP location was crazy too.  Lucky I was with them, or they would still be lost  now!

Then the concert happened; it was all wonderful.  Adam Lambert is a kickass singer!

All this experience was very different from the one I had in 2008! This time, the concert was pretty much embelished by meeting these 3 new friends, and that’s something I’ll always remember with a big smile on my face.

Queen + Adam Lambert Chile 2015 poster

Queen + Adam Lambert 2015 Chile Poster