U.S. Tour '99
June 9, 1999
After a long day's drive we made it to Reno with just enough time to
change clothes and head down to the Amphitheatre attached to the
Reno Hilton (a mecca to the excessive use of crystal, brass and
glass - AAARAGH!). A wind started blowing. Cold air and flying
plant parts rode in on it. The band was shivering. We were
shivering. I noticed that the people who worked (and obviously
lived) there wore ski jackets - NOT a good sign. It was SO cold
and windy there was only ONE set - a little over an hour in length.
The audience was divided into small groups of people who were up
and dancing surrounded by larger groups of people who were
sitting and staring. Several sections of the amphitheatre were
empty. I can only hope that the powers that be give up on the
large venue idea. Reno is a weird place for them to perform
anyway with its cowboy/lounge lizard atmosphere.
One REALLY neat part of the Reno concert was when most of the band stepped back and sat down (to get out of the wind) and Michael jammed on guitar with Tonino in the spotlight.
This is just part one - barest highlights to tell for now - will continue with anecdotes and info in the next few days.
As with Lauren, I can only give bits and pieces at a time. There's just way too much to tell. What experiences! What an adventure!
The Reno show sucked, IMHO. The venue isn't that bad and the GKs weren't bad, but the crowd was. This was the most clueless crowd (using the term loosely, as Lauren pointed out there were many empty seats) I've ever seen at a GK concert. I'd say 98% of them had never heard of the GKs and went to the concert for something to do.
I usually clap my hands to the music during a show, but this time my clapping stood out like a sore thumb. I was the only one anywhere around doing so. I even got looks from people like "Why is this guy clapping in the MIDDLE of the song???!?". I heard someone behind me say "There are SEVEN of them!". After the show, shuffling out of the amphitheatre with the crowd, people were singing (to the tune of "Bamboleo") "Thumb -ba-LEEEN-ah" and "Jumb-ba-LI-ya". Jeez!!!
While the GKs were playing Bamboleo, I'd say almost half the audience was still seated!!!!! Did someone put super-glue on the chairs??
I predict they'll never play Reno again. Next year they'll do 2 nights in Vegas instead. Hope so, anyway.
One anecdote: I say Canut playing a slot machine in the casino after the show and walked up to him, over the casino carpeting, put my hand on his shoulder to wish him a Happy Birthday in French (thanks to Lauren) and shocked him! The carpet had lots of static. I also added "Bon Chance", which I actually remembered from high school French class.
Lots more to come.
I asked several of the group about this as a choice of venue. Canut seemed to think that it was chosen because GK had a following up there (why weren';t more of them at the concert?!?). Paul, Negrito and Pacheco agreed that it was just way too cold. I suspect it was chosen by management because it's a larger venue than the Joint and a purely misguided financial decision.
It probably did bring in more money than the Vegas gig, but consider the following:
A few hours after the concert I was wandering in the casino and ran into Canut. I asked him if he was having a good birthday and he held up a bandaged right thumb for an answer. He had cut it on a door in the restaurant. It was a deep. half inch long cut that went right to the meat under his fingernail. It throbbed, it ached. He was obviously in pain. By this morning he said it was much better and ( I think I understood ) that he had stitches in it. The bandage looked much more professional than the masking tape and gauze he had on it last nite.
Is there a point to this story? Yes indeed - he doesn't see how he can play guitar with his thumb swathed in a bandage. Will know Fri nite how it all worked out. So maybe Reno wasn't such a good choice for a venue after all.
BTW, I must take back what I once said about Canut mumbling. Speaking to him occasionally over the past few days I realized that when he chooses to be understood he can articulate quite clearly. He is, I realized, as much of a Gemini as I am.
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