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Jolly japes with the Lifesigns funsters!

Day 8 Part II

Post show


The post-gig analysis is taking place near the bar at the Pool Stage with JP, Sam, Ray, Maisie and me in attendance. Sam and Ray are the kind of crew that if a gig is not perfect, they take it personally even when it’s not their fault so they are a bit disgruntled with the way things went. JP’s happy, he enjoyed it, Maisie and I are both there for moral support. The little cloud hanging over our table is soon lifted and laughter returns when everyone lets me know that all the mispronounced words that have been thrown my way for the last few days were deliberate, an in-joke arranged before we had even met in Miami. They hope I’m not upset by it and feel the need to apologise but there is no need and of course I’m not upset. It’s a badge of honour and I now feel even more like a part of the family.


Big Big Train come onstage at 5pm but the wind is now up so much that the production crew have had to dismantle the video screen behind the stage. They are one of the bands I was looking forward to seeing but the gusts that are blowing across the ship are literally blowing the sound away. I move to the port side where the lush vocal harmonies they have and brass section are more audible and end up with a face full of fog from the smoke machines they are using. Still, they put on a performance that defies the elements and although I’ve missed the opportunity to see them again on this cruise, I take comfort that I will see them at the Cropredy Festival in August.


7:30pm, Deck 6, Bar City, the Lifesigns Q&A session.

All the band are present except Simon as he is setting up for his Protocol show. The MC kicks it off by asking how the vibe was onstage.


Dave: Fantastic. The last time we played on the cruise was definitely a highlight for us personally with a great vibe and the same thing happened again today. It’s great because half of the audience are friends now as we’ve been here for quite a few years. 


MC: I remember from the last time that your shows were the talk of the cruise.


John: Yeah it was a bit weird because we were not expecting it. Last time, we were backstage when the intro music started and Dave and I and Zoltán came on and Jon got lost in the engine room. (audience laughter) We started with Spinal Tap where Jon has got the music coming into his ears and he’s asking people for directions to the stage from the engine room. Then, when he came on, because of the lights in that particular theatre, we could only see the first couple of rows so we thought ‘Well there’s at least fifty people in’ and then we finished and there was just this noise. Then all of a sudden, with the lights on, we saw all these people standing up and it was amazing.


MC: Jon, what has it been like to play with these guys and get to come back and do it again?


JP: It’s been amazing! The first one I did was ten years ago and I met John through my brother because John plays with Bonnie Tyler and my brother plays bass with her. John asked my brother, Ed, if he wanted to do it but he hates Prog Rock – he’s a bit of a Jazzer – so he said he couldn’t do it but maybe I could so that’s how I got the audition. Nobody would think then that we would come and do this, when nobody knew us and we just made lots of friends when we did it. Sorry, I’m not answering your question, I’m just giving you a history of my life. I was born in 1969 in Hemel Hempstead, just north of London… (audience laughter)


John: I’d like to say that we have the wonderful Nick Beggs on this cruise as well. He was one of the founders of Lifesigns and he’s just great. He’s my next-door neighbour but I only ever see him on ships. (audience laughter) When Jon came for the audition all those years ago, a lot of other people came and they were copying what Nick did and then adding themselves which obviously was the idea and you could see people really struggling with the music. Jon came in, played the music and danced around the room so that was fine. (audience laughter)


MC: Let’s introduce the back-up singers you have here.


John: This is Catina (pronounced Cachina) and she is the other half of Otmaro Ruiz from Simon’s band, Protocol. Simon called me the other week because Lynsey Ward, the other girl we work with couldn’t make it sadly and Simon asked if we’d be interested and she’s bloody brilliant! (applause)


Catina: Thank you.


Dave: I remember her name because my favourite pizza takeaway where I used to live in Leeds was called Catinas. (audience laughter) They did a particular good vegetable pizza.


John: You do know there is no delivery out here? (Dave nods) Good. On the end here we have Sally Minnear! (applause)


Sally: Thank you.


She may have a familiar name but she is a beautiful artist in her own rite. I saw her playing with Dave the other night doing that twenty minutes show and they were both fantastic.


MC: Let’s talk about Simon Phillips playing with you…


John: We were very lucky. Jon was talking before about the first time we came on the cruise. There were all these musicians who we admired and we had bought all of their records and they were coming up to us and saying that they really liked what we did. We played the Pool Stage and it was so windy that we called it off after about fifty minutes. I was a bit miffed about that but as I was walking away from the stage, there was a tap on my shoulder and it was Simon asking if they could borrow Steve Rispin (original founder of Lifesigns and sound engineer) and he also said how much he enjoyed the band. Simon has also just been working with Dave on Dave’s new album which will soon be coming out and as Zoltán sadly couldn’t do this cruise, it seemed like an obvious choice, if Simon liked the idea which he did and said he was a fan of the music which is great.


MC: What were the rehearsals like?


John: You said rehearsals, (emphasizing the plural) we had one day…and a bit.


MC: Was that like in Miami before you boarded?


Dave: I have no idea where it was. (audience laughter) We flew into Tampa and then got the minibus and drove for a couple of hours


John: We rehearsed at Dream Studios in Alva which is near Fort Myers. There’s a Pink Floyd tribute band called Floyd Nation who are all good friends of ours and really amazing they really helped us out along with some others who are also on this ship. It was just a great time and it all just came together.


The MC now takes questions form the audience.


Q1: I’ve been on your website and seen dates for the UK and Europe, do you have any US tour dates?


John: The thing is, me and Julie, we look after a lot of what goes on with the band. You’ll find this with every independent - and this is a longer conversation over a beer – that it’s very difficult for independents to break through in the current scheme of things because everything is run by the record companies and radio stations. So, you don’t get played, you don’t get in the media, it’s just everything ignores you and building something from there is very difficult. We have already found a couple of people, agents and managers, that will take this load off me and Julie. We’ve had some interest in doing shows in Canada and The States, Glenn’s got something in Japan he’s looking at and we are looking at other areas of Europe. We’ve kind of just taken it through the UK and done a few European tours and there does seem to be a bit more of a global interest but I’d like somebody else to handle that.


Q2: Is there another album coming?


John: Yes, there will be. Altitude kind of surprised us because we didn’t expect it to be quite as successful as it was and that was the difficult-to-do third album so now it’s the even more difficult-to-do fourth album. We are looking at a number of options and there will be a Blu-ray of what we did in Holland and a few other things.


JP: I just want to say it is an absolute pleasure and privilege to be playing in Lifesigns.


MC: The live Blu-ray that’s coming out; how can people get that?


John: Well we do everything ourselves so if you go to, absolutely everything is there from downloads to CDs to T-shirts to various bits of Jon’s anatomy (audience laughter).


Q3: If you ever get to the West Coast, see if you can get the Rady Shell. It’s a brand-new symphony hall, they have a lot of good bands and you’ll sell-out easily. I’ll help you out managing.


John: We appreciate that because the selling out easily is always the hard part of it I’m afraid.


JP: John, I want to ask you a question: what factor sunblock did you use? (audience laughter)


John: It’s called ‘A boat.’ (audience laughter) I was hiding in it. Sorry, I should say a ship. I can’t take the sun all day long.


Q4: How do you get all of your different schedules to align to do a tour?


Dave: We let everyone know all our bookings in advance so we know what everyone is doing and Julie runs the Google Calendar which escapes me sometimes but in theory, that’s got all the dates on what people are doing so we work around that. For everyone though, Lifesigns is a priority so we just try and we love doing it, especially with backing vocals, it was great!


MC: What’s it like working with these guys?


Sally: When John messaged me, I already had Altitude and was listening to it so I just thought ‘Yeah, I’d love to do that!’ They are a terrific band but really annoying… (audience laughter) No, they are brilliant and they are a lovely bunch of people as you can tell.


Dave: Part of my day job is we have a duo imaginatively called Dave Bainbridge & Sally Minnear and we do lots of gigs together.


Catina: I was the last one to join the band. I’m a big fan for a long time and working with Sally has just been so great. She was so much fun, so helpful and I want to thank them for having me. (applause)


MC: John, what’s the songwriting process in this band and are you constantly writing?


John: Again, that’s a long conversation over a beer. It’s one of those things in that the songs kind of…arrive. I’m very fortunate that when I’m standing on stage, I send the music to the guys, Jon is our Musical Director and one thing that always amazes me is the sheer level of musicianship that these guys have. When I am standing onstage, I’m kind of awestruck by what they do – it’s just incredible; they transform the music. Yes, I get to write it but then it goes through this process and we’ve been very lucky that everyone we have approached with each album, even the special guests, have done things that no one is ever to know. We’ve also been fortunate with our music that we could take it to our peers who we all bought their records and we get to work with all the people we really love.


JP: I’d like to say something about Simon Phillips. John alluded to the fact that I am the Musical Director but Simon came along and just knew the stuff. He had done his homework in a way that some people still don’t do. So many people treat rehearsals as learning but Simon turned up not only knowing all the stuff but the way he approached it wasn’t just from a drummer’s point of view, it was from an arranger’s point of view and a producer’s point of view. He came in, served the song and needed absolutely no direction. I just wanted to say that because I want people to know just how much work he puts into his work. He could live off his name because of who he is but he doesn’t, he puts in a huge amount of work. (audience applause)


Q5: Could you tell us about Steve Rispin and his contribution to the band?


John: I always think that with a lot of bands, the people who work behind the scenes, never get the credit and that’s one of the things we resolved right from the word go. He can’t be here because he’s doing Steve Hackett’s show right now. I’ve been working with Steve for twenty years and he was my next-door neighbour for years and we’d just go in through each other’s doors saying ‘What about this? What about that?’ We formed Lifesigns after a night out in a pub because I said that I didn’t think Progressive music was progressing and someone said ‘Well, do something about it!’ So, Steve and I decided to take the bull by the horns, we teamed up with Nick (Beggs) and Frosty (Beedle) but the thing with Steve is he will go over and over and over something to make sure it is perfect. So much so that when we get to the end of it, we fight like cat and dog because it has to be right and to get it to a point where we are both happy that it is right. For instance, What Hi-fi? magazine use Lifesigns vinyl to test their hi-fi’s – that’s pretty good. (applause)


Dave: I’ll say as well that on these kind of situations on a cruise, where you have a really short time to set up, the crew, Steve and Sam and Ray, they make it happen and without them, there wouldn’t have been a gig today. (applause)


Q6: (The person asking the question apologises as she was late arriving) I was wondering what was happening with regards to crowdfunding and getting you guys to tout the United States.


John: We do want to come and it’s not so much about crowdfunding, it’s what comes first – the cart before the horse. To tour the States, this band would have to get something in the region of fifteen thousand dollars’ worth of visas and that’s just to come in, before we even play a note. (John then notices and acknowledges Nick Beggs has just arrived to cheers and warm applause) So, yes, we’d really love to come but we just need to find somebody in America that can put the shows together, somebody in Canada and then we are more than happy to bring Lifesigns to the rest of the world.


John brings the session to an end by complimenting all the people on stage with him and stating that they are going to raffle-off JP at the end of the cruise. As the audience disperse, I take the opportunity to talk to a few of their fans. Mark from Shrewsbury in England says they are ‘one of the best live Prog Rock bands around at the moment. Passionate and emotional.’ Joel from Boston, Massachusetts says he’s seen them progress through the ranks on every cruise since the first one and ‘they are always good. They touch all the Prog nerves that you want touched.’ Dirk from Frankfurt, Germany has met the band on several occasions and says ‘When you meet them, they are so friendly and open-minded and they all have time for every fan. They are never in a rush.’ I asked George from Fort Worth, Texas about the show earlier today and said ‘You can feel the love and energy in the room. It is like a family and you leave their show almost in tears from the emotion it elicits.’ High praise indeed backed up by Ian from Blackpool: ‘We barely got in because they are so popular now. Cruise to the Edge ought to make them headliners next year if only by virtue of the fact of the crowd they attract to their shows.’ For Juan from Columbia today was his first Lifesigns gig: ‘I loved their show! Their sound is beautiful with space and melodic voices.’ and Mark from South Carolina had this to say about their music: ‘Lifesigns brings a nice blend. It’s not all in your face and their lyric writing is the perfect blend between those who like their Prog heavy and those who like to drift a little bit. There were more but that’s a fair summation of the views expressed.


By the time I got to the Pool Stage, Protocol had already started and the wind was now very noticeable. So much so that Simon addresses the audience and quips that the captain is probably getting an extra couple of knots from his cymbals. Needless to say, their set is another hour of awestriking musicianship and although my stomach is rumbling as I haven’t eaten since breakfast, I just can’t leave until they say goodnight which was after 9:30pm. As it happens, I don’t eat much as my eyelids are drooping so I decide to call it a day. The elevator doors open and it already has half a dozen people in there. I step in and just have time to tell Big Big Train that I enjoyed their show and will see them again at Cropredy before we reach Deck 5. I bid them goodnight, enter my cabin and I am asleep before my head hits the pillow.

Day 9

At Sea and 2nd Show


This morning started with a mission. Two friends of mine, namely Morgan Fisher (keyboard player in Mott the Hoople) and Jonnie Allen (Martin Barre’s roadie from his Gethsemane days) had asked me to pass on their regards to Martin should I see him and as yet, I had not seen him around since the first show on the first day so I was hoping I would have the opportunity at his Q&A. The questions from the MC were about his solo work leaving the fans to ask about Jethro Tull. The audience were appreciative about his frank answers about the latter and he took every opportunity offered to credit the band onstage with him. I got the feeling that he’s perfectly happy where he is in life. Side stage when the session as over, I delivered my messages from both Johnnie and Morgan. Martin thanked me, asked me to send their regards back. I quicky moved on as there was a queue of fans waiting to meet him.


I have just enough time to see Jordan Rudess perform a magnificent rendition of The Spirit Carries On and then, somewhat surprisingly, Queen’s We Are The Champions. As you may well know, both of these songs are anthemic but they were made all the more powerful by vocalist Joe Payne who stamped his mark on them; impressive to say the least. Then it’s nosebag time where I see Dave and Sharon and offer to help Dave lug his gear up to the Spinnaker Lounge for the show. 1pm is arranged which gives me a short time to kill so I nip down to have a look at the bridge viewing room. On the way, one of the cabin doors opens and Steve Hackett is there. We acknowledge each other and I tell him to have a good gig. He thanks me and for this trip anyway, we become Longfellow’s ships in the night.   


As it happens, there was no need to go to Dave’s cabin. Ray and Sam had already been there and were loaded up with everything - almost everything – Dave needed for the gig when I bump into them at the elevator. They make good use of an extra pair of hands and as we enter the Spinnaker, Haken, Goblin and Marillion are greeting a very long line of fans for the at the last of the photo shoots. Sam and Ray start to set up, I help out where I can whilst keeping an eye on the shoot as I would love to meet Claudio and his band. The line is down to the last hundred by the time Dave arrives and the three photographers are trying to speed things up. The last of the fans has his photo taken with just forty-five minutes to showtime. I seize a moment to introduce myself to Haken and let them know I’ll be at the Japan show in April and then turn around hoping to meet Claudio. The enormity of this moment in my life is difficult to put into words. Having been a fan since I first saw a third-generation copy of Suspiria on VHS tape back in the early 1980s, to be just in the same room as the man himself is a privilege. They are talking to the last fan. I hover in the background and then step forward to say hello. I admit it, I was in awe. So much so I cannot remember what I said but there were smiles all round which was good enough for me. I would have loved to have talked longer but after two hours of photos, the right thing to do was to be very brief and let them go.


Back to Lifesigns. While I was pleasantly distracted, everyone seems to have arrived and I tell Julie with a big grin on my face I just met Claudio Simonetti. She smiles sweetly. I drop my bag backstage where Sally breaks off talking to Simon to say she likes my Sgt Pepper T-shirt. I go on stage where Dave is setting up and wearing a T-Shirt from The Musician in Leicester in my honour (his words) and then realises he’s forgotten his pics and asks me to nip back to his cabin to get them. Meanwhile, Sam is frustrated by a couple of buzzes in the monitor desk. One is fixed when he unplugs a light onstage, the other is fixed by Ray somehow, somewhere, behind Simon. Steve is up on the out-front desk when I return from Dave’s cabin and the soundcheck goes well. Again, Julie and I nick pole position seats near Steve and once again, come showtime, the place is packed to the back. What we hear in the next hour is extraordinary.


I have to credit Steve at this point for one of the best mixes I have ever heard at a Prog gig. The Spinnaker has a low ceiling which creates a natural warmth but Steve’s layers and spacings are sublime. He takes John’s vocal and doesn’t mix it with Sally and Catina’s backing vocals but envelopes it in them. This creates a 4th dimension to the sound and when he adds in JP and Dave so that all five are singing together, it’s something…dare I say it, close to Om. It’s easy to hear why Steve is so integral to the Lifesigns sound and as a measure of just how good he is, in other shows I saw, people were talking. Today, nobody was talking, they were listening.


I was told later that a Lifesigns show will often contain a JP moment and today we had two, both involving pairs of glasses. The first was when he was bouncing around the stage and his sunglasses fell off. A fan stood up, retrieved them and placed them back on his head without JP missing a beat, a paragon of the man and his musicianship. The second occurred between songs. John steps up to the mic to begin his MC as JP places his bass on the stand. He picks up something on a flight case near him and steps off the stage into the audience. He then walks through the audience, all the way to where Steve is mixing and asks him, in a not too subtle voice, ‘Are these your glasses?’ Steve looks at him incredulously and says ‘No.’ Steve’s look is all the more incredulous because he is actually wearing his glasses at the time. JP say ‘Oh, ok’ and walks back to the stage, climbs up, replaces the glasses on the flight case, puts his bass back on and takes his place as if nothing happened. Amazingly, all through this, neither John, Dave, Simon, Sally or Catina bat an eyelid. I look at Julie and she shrugs her shoulders.


John Mitchell is in the audience and John invites him up to join in backing vocals on the last song after which, having seen how everything was unpacked, I can help pack up. We are swift and Dave is ready to take is gear back to his cabin in half an hour. I volunteer my hands again and with Sharon, we make our way, stopping a couple of times for Dave to talk to fans. Even having just performed and loaded down with guitars and bags, he still has the time for anyone and everyone. Having seen them too their cabin, I leave Dave and Sharon and go back to the Spinnaker to see what is left to do. Obviously nothing as I am greeted by Sam, Ray and Maisie leaving; Maisie has an opened beer in her hand for me. Bless her.


As mentioned in another part of these articles, the Spinnaker is behind the Pool Stage bar so within a minute we are sitting at a table, sharing what is left of the rider and chatting , Wishbone Ash are playing their second show for audio comfort. Ray asks if I’m going to the Artist’s Party later; there is always one at the end of a cruise. Up until that point, I didn’t know there was but of course I will. It’s in the Spinnaker and starts at 10pm. The sun is starting to lower in the sky and Sam suggest we go to dinner at the Summer Palace, one of the main dining rooms none of us have eaten in yet. It’s far more sumptuous than the Garden Café with a descending staircase into it that you could easily pretend to be Jack meeting Rose on (except there is no clock). Dinner is marred slightly by the waitress losing Sam’s keycard so he has to go and get another but that only takes a few minutes and is soon forgotten. It’s gone 9:30pm when we leave.


There is already a substantial number of artists and their entourages when we arrive. However, Ryo Okumoto is running overtime with his set. Due to finish at 10pm as the party starts, he is still playing at 10:15pm. The cruise stage manager is unhappy and tells Ryo’s sound engineer to end the set as the artists party is underway. At 10:20pm, the stage manager is angry, points at his watch and threatens to pull the plug on the band if they don’t wrap it up. At 10:25pm, he is furious, and storms from the mixing desk to the stage. Ryo is just spared the embarrassment of being cut off mid-song by his vocalist saying ‘thank you and good night.’


The drinks are free. I go for the orange rum punch, Maisie and Ray go for the strawberry ones, Sam chooses the luminescent blue one, whatever that may be. We toast a successful cruise and mingle. I have a brief chat with Mike Portnoy and then see Claudio and rest of Goblin so go over and say hello. We chat for half an hour about horror films, favourites, classics, etc. Claudio tells me they will be in Japan in July. This is the ultimate way to end a cruise and I manage to say hellos to a few others I had seen perform but after my second rum punch, the alcohol through the day is starting to take effect and I know that I should not have a third. I bid everyone goodnight and go out onto the deck. The stars are magnificent and I’m tempted to stay a while longer but we disembark early tomorrow and the last thing I want is a hangover while trying to navigate myself off the ship up to Fort Lauderdale. It’s time to call it a night.


Day 10

Disembark, farewells and travel to Fort Lauderdale


It’s just gone 5am. Outside my cabin window, the Caribbean Sea and sky blues have been replaced by a port still waiting for sunrise. The aged quay has algae creeping up it, the bumpers show scars, everything having a dark olive-greenish hue. I have my morning shower and turn the TV on, there’s no football. I pack slowly, do an idiot check and then knock on Ray’s door. He doesn’t answer. Too early. I go back to my cabin, leave the door open and wait. I have that end-of-tour feeling that through my forty years of touring and writing, I still find indescribable.


I don’t have to wait long. Ray says we are meeting Sam and Maisie for breakfast at the The Great Outdoors and up we go. The view of Miami is something to behold but poor Sam is not well enough to enjoy it as he has the hangover from hell. He’s surprised that the blue cocktails contained vodka – he doesn’t drink vodka. Maisie has no sympathy for him. I tell him I have some Japanese medicine that I’ll give him later which will help. I ask how we disembark but no one seems to know but I spot John at a table talking to Tony Levin so go over and ask. Everyone meets at the Bliss Lounge apparently and we all go from there. Back to the cabins, collect the bags, a final idiot check and we make our way to the Bliss lounge. Dave and Sharon have already arrived and I ask if their lost bag ever turned up – it didn’t. Julie, Sally and JP are also there so we converge and we make small talk. Julie’s flight is delayed by an hour; Sally will go from here to sing with Pendragon in Europe and Canada.


Disembarking is as smooth as embarking and in less than half an hour, we are off the ship, through immigration and on one of the buses that take the artists to Miami International Airport. Also on the bus is Mike Portnoy, Martin Barre and his band and some of Steve Hackett’s band. Claudio is also on it and nods good morning too me; that was a nice moment. John is not coming with us as he’s staying in Miami a few days but he comes on to say goodbye to us all and thank us. After a hug he says he’s glad that we got to make some new memories. A bit choked, all I can say is ‘Me too.’


The atmosphere on the bus is subdued. The driver delivers a wealth of trivia about Miami but I’m not listening. At the airport bus depot, we shuffle off the coach and the smokers amongst us light up before going inside. I point out the no smoking area sign but no one cares, least of all the Miami International Airport security guard standing next to it. We go in and it’s time for me to split. It’s with great sadness that I have to say goodbye to Ray, Sam, Maisie, Sally and JP, the last of which says ‘Take care Glonn.’ That put a smile on everyone’s face. They have a long wait for their flights and I briefly consider staying a bit longer but that would only mean going through this again so I walk away and don’t look back.


On the Tri-Rail back up to Fort Lauderdale, I reflected over the last week. All the new friends, the laughs, the bands, the fans, the ship and all the camaraderie that went with it. Maybe I should have stayed at the airport a bit longer, had lunch and one last beer, perhaps then I would have remembered to give Sam that medicine…


The shuttle bus arrives on time to take me from the Tri Rail station to the airport from where I will catch another shuttle to the La Quinta Inn where I am staying. Half a dozen of us board but for some reason, we sit there for ten minutes. One passenger is checking his watch and asks the driver when we will be leaving.


“When aaaayy say so!” was the in-your-face reply to the passenger. “Now ah gatta praablam here on ma phone and when ah fix it, that’s when we’ll leave – you got a prablam with that?” The passenger sat down but the driver wasn’t finished and continued her tirade at the him in between calling her kids and shouting about school and homework. The passenger looked half embarrassed, half shellshocked; he received sympathetic looks from all of us. “Raight, now we’re goin’” came the announcement from the driver’s seat, some twenty minutes after the scheduled departure time.


The second shuttle bus wasn’t so eventful and I arrived at the La Quinta around 11am. Check-in time wasn’t until 3pm so I asked when the room would be available. I was hoping the receptionist wasn’t going to say “When aaaayy say so” and thankfully, she didn’t. Instead, with a smile and a set of peraly-whites that could light a coal cellar, she said it already was and checked me in. I slipped the keycard into my wallet, bought a couple of bottles of water in the shop and went to my room. The keycard didn’t work, the door wouldn’t unlock. I was about to go back to the reception desk when I noticed I was holding my Cruise to the Edge cabin card. Oh yeah, that’s right…

The End


Lifesigns Q&A, photo by Maisie


Spinnaker Lounge soundcheck, Steve at the helm.

Cruise to the Edge Part 1(クルーズ・トゥ・ジ・エッジ パート4)


第8日 パート2










Dave: ファンタスティックだ。前回クルーズで演奏した時も、素晴らしい雰囲気の中で演奏できて、個人的には間違いなくハイライトだった。観客の半分は、もう何年もここにいる友人たちだから。


MC: 前回、あなたたちのショーがクルーズの話題になっていたのを覚えているよ。

John: ああ、予想していなかったから、ちょっと変な感じだったよ。前回は、イントロの音楽が始まったときにバックステージにいて、デイヴと僕とゾルタンが登場し、ジョンはエンジンルームに迷い込んでしまったんだ(会場笑)。スパイナル・タップから始めたんだけど、ジョンは音楽が耳に入ってきて、エンジンルームからステージまでの道をみんなに尋ねていたんだ。彼が登場した時、あの劇場は照明の関係で最初の2、3列しか見えなかったから、「少なくとも50人は入っているな」と思ったんだ。そして終わった後、ただこの雑音がしただけだった。そして突然、照明が点灯し、すべての人々が立ち上がっているのが見えた。驚いたよ。


MC: ジョン、彼らと一緒にプレイし、また戻ってきてプレイするのはどんな感じだった?

JP: 素晴らしかったよ!最初にやったのは10年前で、兄を通じてジョンに会ったんだ。ジョンがボニー・タイラーと一緒に演奏していて、僕の兄も彼女とベースを弾いているからね。ジョンは私の弟のエドにやりたいかどうか尋ねたんだけど、彼はプログレが嫌いで、ちょっとジャズ好きなんだ。それで彼は、自分にはできないけど僕ならできるかもしれないと言って、それでオーディションを受けたんだ。誰も僕らのことを知らないのに、僕らがやってきてこんなことをするなんて誰も思わなかっただろうし、ただ、やっているうちにたくさんの友達ができたんだ。ごめん、質問に答えているんじゃなくて、僕の人生の歴史を話しているだけだね。僕は1969年にロンドンの北にあるヘメル・ヘンプステッドで生まれたんだ...(会場笑)。


John: 今回のクルーズには、素晴らしきニック・ベッグスも乗船している。彼はライフサインズの創設者の一人で、とても素晴らしい人なんだ。彼は僕の隣人なんだけど、船の中でしか会わないんだ。(会場爆笑)。何年も前にジョンがオーディションを受けに来た時、他にも大勢の人たちがやって来て、ニックがやっていたことを真似して、自分たちの演奏を加えていた。明らかにそのアイデアで、みんなが音楽と格闘しているのが分かったよ。ジョンが入ってきて、音楽をかけ、部屋の中を踊り回ったから、それでいいんだってね。(会場爆笑)。


MC: ここでバックシンガーを紹介しようか。

John: この人はカチーナさ。彼女はサイモンのバンド、プロトコルのオトマロ・ルイーズの相棒だ。先々週、サイモンから電話があったんだ。僕らが一緒にやっているもう一人の女性、リンジー・ワードが残念ながら来られなくなって、サイモンが僕らに彼女に興味があるかと聞いてきたんだ!彼女は素晴らしいよ!(拍手)


Catina: ありがとう。

Dave: 彼女の名前を覚えているのは、以前リーズに住んでいたときにお気に入りのピザのテイクアウェイがカティナスという名前だったからだ。(会場笑) 特に野菜のピザが美味しかった。


John: ここでは配達はないって知ってる?(デイブは頷く)いいね。最後はサリー・ミネアです!(拍手)


Sally: ありがとう。




MC: サイモン・フィリップスがあなたたちとプレイすることについて話そうか...。

John: 僕たちはとても幸運だった。ジョンは以前、僕たちが初めてクルーズに来た時のことを話していた。僕たちには自分たちが尊敬するミュージシャンたちがいて、彼らのレコードを全部買っていた。そして、そんな彼らが僕たちのところにやってきて、僕たちの仕事が本当に好きだと言ってくれたんだ。僕たちはプール・ステージに出演したが、風が強かったので50分ほどで中止した。僕は少し気分を害したが、ステージから立ち去ろうとした時、僕の肩を叩く人がいて、それはサイモンがスティーブ・リスピン(ライフサインズの創設者でサウンド・エンジニア)を貸してくれないかと頼んできたのだった。彼はまた、このバンドがいかに楽しかったかを語ってくれた。サイモンは、まもなく発売されるデイヴのニュー・アルバムのためにデイヴと仕事をしたばかりで、ゾルタンは残念ながらこのクルーズには参加できなかった。サイモンがそのアイデアを気に入り、この素晴らしい音楽のファンだと言ったのであれば、当然の選択のように思えた。


MC: リハーサルはどんな感じだった?

John: 君は何回かリハーサルしているように言ったけど(複数形を強調して)、僕たちは1日...とちょっとだった。


MC: 搭乗前のマイアミのような感じ?

Dave: どこでやったのか分からないよ。(会場笑) 飛行機でタンパに入り、ミニバスに乗って数時間走った。

John: リハーサルはフォートマイヤーズに近いアルヴァのドリーム・スタジオでやった。フロイド・ネイションというピンク・フロイドのトリビュート・バンドがいるんだけど、みんな僕らの親友で、本当に素晴らしい人たちなんだ。彼らは僕たちを本当に助けてくれてね、メンバーの何人かはこの船に乗っているよ。素晴らしい時間だったし、すべてが一つになれたんだ。




Q1: あなたがたのウェブサイトを見たところ、イギリスとヨーロッパでのツアー日程が掲載されていましたが、アメリカでのツアー予定はありますか?

John: 僕とジュリーは、バンドに関わる多くのことに気を配っているんだ。どのインディペンデントにも言えることだが、これはビールを飲みながら話すと長くなるんだけど、レコード会社やラジオ局がすべてを仕切っているため、インディペンデントが現在の図式を打破するのは非常に難しい。だから、オンエアされることもなく、メディアに取り上げられることもなく、すべてが無視され、そこから何かを築き上げるのはとても難しい。僕たちは既に、僕やジュリーからこの負担を軽減してくれるエージェントやマネージャーを何人か見つけているんだ。カナダやアメリカでのショーにも興味があるし、グレンも日本でのショーを検討してくれている。ヨーロッパの他の地域にも目を向けているよ。僕たちはイギリスを経由してヨーロッパ・ツアーを数回行っただけで、世界的な関心はもう少し高まっているように思える。でも、それは他の人に任せたいね。


Q2: 次のアルバムは予定されていますか?

John: そうだね。『Altitude』がこれほど成功するとは思っていなかったから、ちょっと驚いたよ。それが難産の3枚目のアルバムだったから、今回はさらに難しい4枚目のアルバムになるね。


JP: ライフサインズでプレイできることは、とても光栄で特別なことだと思う。


MC: 今度発売されるライブブルーレイは、どうやれば入手可能ですか?

John: 何でも自分たちで用意していて、, にアクセスして、ダウンロードからCD、Tシャツ、ジョンの解剖学的な様々なパーツに至るまで、あらゆるものが揃っているよ(会場笑)。


Q3: もし西海岸に行くことがあれば、Rady Shellでプレイできるかどうか調べてみてほしいです。真新しいシンフォニーホールで、いいバンドがたくさん出るし、簡単に売り切れますよ。私がマネジメントを手伝います。

John: 簡単に売り切れてしまうっていうのは、いつも大変なことだと思うので、その点は感謝しているよ。

JP: ジョン、質問したいんだけど、日焼け止めはどんなものを使ったんだい?(会場笑)。

John: 「A ボート」って言うんだ。(会場爆笑)。僕はその中に隠れていた。ごめん、船と言うべきだったね。一日中太陽に照らされるのは耐えられないな。


Q4: ツアーに参加するために、それぞれのスケジュールをどのように調整しているのですか?

Dave: 事前にすべての予約をみんなに知らせているので、みんなが何をしているか分かっている。そしてジュリーは僕たちが従って仕事をするグーグルカレンダーを管理しているんだけど、これを時々忘れちゃうんだ。まあ、そんな感じでやってるかな。でも、誰にとってもライフサインズは最優先事項だから、僕たちは努力するだけだし、そうするのが好きなんだ。特に今回はバッキング・ヴォーカルとプレイ出来て素晴らしかった!


MC: 彼らとの仕事はどんな感じだった?

Sally: ジョンが私にメッセージをくれた時、私は既に『Altitude』を持っていて聴いていたから、「ああ、ぜひやりたい!」と思ったの。彼らは素晴らしいバンドだけど、本当に迷惑なバンドなのよ......(会場笑)。いえ、彼らは素晴らしいわ。お分かりのように、彼らは素敵な人たちよ。

Dave: 僕のもう一つの本業は、デイヴ・ベインブリッジとサリー・ミネアというデュオを組んでいて、一緒にたくさんのライブをやっているんだ。

Catina: バンドに参加したのは私が最後だった。私はずっと彼らのファンだったし、サリーとの仕事は本当に素晴らしかった。彼女はとても楽しくて、とても親切で、私を招待してくれたことに感謝したい(拍手)。


MC: ジョン、このバンドでの曲作りのプロセスはどのようなもので、常に書き続けているのですか?

John: それは、またビールを飲みながらの長い話になるよ。ある曲は、曲が......天から降ってくるようなものなんだ。僕がステージに立っている時、彼らに音楽を送ることができるのはとても幸運なことだ。ジョンが音楽監督を務めているが、いつも驚かされるのは、彼らの音楽性のレベルの高さだ。ステージに立っていると、彼らのやることに驚かされる。信じられないよ; 彼らは音楽を自在に変化させるんだ。ああ、僕が曲を書くことになるんだけど、その後、このようなプロセスを経ることになる。各アルバムでアプローチしてきた人たちは、スペシャル・ゲストでさえも、誰も知らないようなことをしてくれて、とても幸運だった。自分たちの音楽を、レコードを買ってくれた仲間たちのところへ持っていくことができたのも幸運だった。そして、僕たちが本当に愛している人たち全員と仕事ができる。

JP: サイモン・フィリップスについて一言。ジョンは、僕がミュージカル・ディレクターであることに言及していたが、サイモンがやってきて、そのことを理解してくれた。彼は誰もしないような下調べをしてくれていた。多くの人はリハーサルを練習として扱うが、サイモンはすべてのことを把握しているだけでなく、ドラマーとしての視点だけでなく、アレンジャーやプロデューサーの視点からもアプローチしていた。彼は入ってきて曲を提供してくれただけで、指示はまったく必要なかった。彼がどれだけ仕事に打ち込んでいるかを知ってほしいから、こう言いたかったんだ。彼は自分の名前だけで生きていくこともできるが、そうではなく、膨大な量の仕事をこなしている。(観客拍手)


Q5: スティーブ・リスピンと彼がバンドに貢献したことについて教えてください。

John: 多くのバンドでは、舞台裏で働く人たちが評価されることはない。そしてそれは、僕たちが最初から解決したことの一つでもある。彼は今、スティーブ・ハケットのショーをやっているからここには来られない。スティーブとは20年来の付き合いで、何年もの間、僕の隣人だった。お互いのドアを訪問して、「これはどうだ?」「あれはどうだ?」って。パブで一夜を過ごした後、プログレッシブ・ミュージックが進歩しているとは思えないと僕が言うと、誰かが「それなら、何かやってみようぜ!」と言ったので、ライフサインズを結成したんだ。そこでスティーブと僕は、ニック(・ベッグス)とフロスティ(・ビードル)とチームを組み、強気に出ることにした。でも、スティーブの場合、完璧に仕上げるために何度も何度も確認するんだ。それだけに、最後までやり遂げる時には、それが正しくなければならないし、それが正しいとお互いが満足できるところまで持っていくために、犬猫のようにケンカをする。例えば、『What Hi-Fi』誌はライフサインズのレコードを使ってハイファイをテストしているよ。(拍手)。

Dave: クルーズのこのようなシチュエーションでは、セットアップの時間が本当に短いんだけど、クルー、スティーブ、サム、レイがそれを実現してくれて、彼らがいなければ今日のギグはなかっただろう。(拍手)。


Q6: (質問者は到着が遅れたので謝っている)クラウドファンディングについてどうなっているのでしょうか、そしてあなたたちをアメリカで宣伝してもらうことはどうなっているのかと思っていました。

John: クラウドファンディングのことよりも、何が先か、つまり馬の前に荷車だ。アメリカをツアーするには、このバンドは1万5千ドル相当のビザを取得しなければならない。それは、音を出す前に入ってくることなんだ。(ジョンは、ニック・ベッグスが到着したことに気づき、歓声と温かい拍手を送る)だから、来たいのはやまやまなんだけど、アメリカでショーを企画してくれる人、カナダでショーを企画してくれる人を見つける必要があるんだ。そして、僕たちはライフサインズを世界中にお届けできることを、この上なく嬉しく思っている。


 ジョンは、一緒にステージにいたすべての人を褒め、クルーズの最後にJPを抽選でプレゼントすると言って、セッションを締めくくった。聴衆が散会するのを見計らって、私は何人かのファンと話をした。イギリスのシュルーズベリー出身のマークは、彼らは「現在、最高のライブ・プログレ・バンドの一つだ。情熱的でエモーショナルだ。」と言う。マサチューセッツ州ボストンに住むジョエルは、最初のクルーズ以来、すべてのクルーズで彼らがランクアップしていくのを観てきたが、「彼らはいつもいい。彼らは、みんなが望むすべてのプログレの要素に触れてくれるんだ。」ドイツのフランクフルトに住むディルクは、何度かバンドに会ったことがあるそうだ。「彼らに会うと、とてもフレンドリーでオープンマインドなんだ。いつもファンのために時間を割いてくれる。急いで無視することなんてしないんだ。」と言う。テキサス州フォートワースのジョージに今日のショーについて尋ねたら、「この空間に愛とエネルギーを感じるよ。まるで家族のようで、感動で涙が出そうになる。」と言っていた。ブラックプールから来たイアンも高く評価している: 「今、彼らはとても人気があるので、私たちはかろうじて入場できた。クルーズ・トゥ・ザ・エッジは、彼らのショーに観客が集まるという事実だけで、来年のヘッドライナーになるはずだよ。」コロンビアから来たホアンにとって、今日は初めてのライフサインズのギグだった:「僕は彼らのショーが大好きだった!彼らのサウンドは宇宙的で美しく、メロディアスだよ。」サウスカロライナ出身のマークは彼らの音楽についてこう語っている:「ライフサインズは素晴らしい融合をもたらしている。彼らのリリックライティング(歌詞)は、ヘヴィなプログレが好きな人と、少し漂うのが好きな人の間の完璧なブレンドだ。」










  ジョーダン・ルーデスが「The Spirit Carries On」の壮大な演奏を披露するのを観るのには十分な時間があった。そしてちょっと意外だったのは、クイーンの「We Are The Champions」だった。ご存知のように、この2曲はいずれもアンセム的なナンバーだが、ヴォーカリストのジョー・ペインがその足跡を刻み込んだことで、より力強いものになった;控えめに言っても感動的だった。それから休憩の時間になり、デイブとシャロンに会って、デイブがショーのためにスピネカー・ラウンジまで機材を運ぶのを手伝うことになった。午後1時ということで、少し時間ができたので、橋の展望室を見に行くことにした。途中でキャビンのドアが開き、スティーブ・ハケットがそこにいた。私たちはお互いを認め合い、私は彼にいいギグを、と伝えた。彼は私にお礼を述べてくれた。とにかくこの旅では、私たちは詩人ロングフェロー言うところの『夜の船』になるのだ。





  ライフサインズに戻る。私が楽しく気を取られている間に、みんな到着したようで、私は満面の笑みでジュリーにクラウディオ・シモネッティに会ったばかりだと伝えた。彼女は優しく微笑む。バックステージにバッグを置くと、サリーがサイモンとの会話を中断して、私のサージェント・ペッパーのTシャツを気に入ったと言ってくれた。ステージに上がると、デイヴがセッティングをしていて、私に敬意を表してレスターの『The Musician』のTシャツを着ていた(彼の言葉だ)。そして写真を忘れたことに気づき、キャビンに取りに戻るよう私に頼んだ。一方、サムはモニターデスクで2、3回鳴るブザーに苛立っていた。一つは舞台上のライトを外したときに直り、もう一つはサイモンの後ろでレイがどうにかこうにか直したものだ。私がデイヴの小屋から戻ると、スティーヴはアウトフロントのデスクに上がっていて、サウンドチェックはうまくいった。今回もジュリーと私はスティーブの近くのポールポジションに座った。そしてまた、開演時間になると、会場は後方まで満員になる。これからの1時間で聴けることは並大抵のことではない。





























 「そう言われたら言うけどね~!」と乗客に面と向かって答えた。「今、ここにあるオイラの携帯電話の調子が悪いもんだから、これが直ったら、出発するよ~。」尋ねた同乗者は席に座ったが、運転手はまだ話を終えておらず、自分の子供たちに電話をかけたり、学校や宿題のことをわめいたりする合間に、同乗者に向かって暴言を吐き続けた。乗客たちは半分恥ずかしそうに、半分殻に閉じこもっていた; 尋ねた彼は私たち全員から同情的な視線を受けていた。









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