‘Grease’ 2016 National Tour NZ

The tour is officially over and I have met some fantastic people, saw some new parts of the country and played almost every night for 6 weeks.

I had a blast playing in the show and since we were on stage at times, we had to be in costume and act a little bit too. It was great fun and brought a different dynamic to the show instead of being hidden away in the orchestra pit. I loved everyone I worked with too, everyone in the band gelled extremely well with each other. I was the only guitarist playing in the show, the other members were:

Musical Director: Laughton Kora

Musical Supervisor and Keys 1: Paul Barrett

Keys 2 and Saxophone: Jimmy Reiney

Bass: Sam Nash

Drums: Cameron Burnett

All of them are outstanding musicians, I have a lot of respect for them and to top it off, they were all awesome to hang out with when not playing (which is extremely important on tour!). Laughton did a great job with the feel/groove/style of the songs to give us all a little more freedom during the tour. It made it much more interesting as a musician to play rather than playing what’s written religiously every night for 6 weeks. I hope I get to work with them again at some stage in the future!

band-grease-tour-2016

Left to Right: Jimmy (Sax), Me, Paul (Keys), Sam (bass), Cam (drums), Laughton (MD)

The Performances

We performed all over New Zealand from KeriKeri all the way down to Invercargill. Like I mentioned before, during the performance we would be on show at certain points. For example at the dance scene at prom, we were acting as the live band ‘Johnny Casino and the Gamblers’. This made the show for us a lot more interesting each night rather than being in an orchestra pit. The actors would obviously change how they would interact with you each night which kept it fresh throughout the season! Here’s a few pictures of those scenes:

I also mention in the gear video (below) that there was a scene that we had to go out to the front of the stage. This was during ‘Those Magic Changes’ and we (Sam, Jimmy and me) would initially be playing the song underneath the set and around half way through the song, we would squeeze through some school locker doors and join everyone else on stage. Here’s a picture of us during that scene:

locker-scene-those-magic-changes

And here’s a short clip of one of the improvised solos I did during ‘Grease Lightning’:

Some venue highlights for me were definitely Dunedin (Regent Theatre), Christchurch (Isaac Theatre Royal) and Hamilton (Claudelands Arena). The Dunedin and Christchurch theatres were absolutely stunning and Hamilton brought in our largest crowd throughout the entire tour. Here are a couple shots of those theatres:

Hopefully at some point in the future I will get to work with everyone again… Here we all are at the end of our final night:

last-show-grease

Setup/Gear

(scroll down to view video)

Wireless

Sennheiser EK 300  (transmitter for in ear monitors)

Sennheiser SK 100 (transmitter for guitar)

IEM

Shure SE215

Amp

Blackstar Artist 15

Guitar

Fender Squier 1990 Japanese Stratocaster

Pedals

Keeley 4 knob compressor

Fulltone Fulldrive 3

Fulltone OCD

Line 6 M5

TC Electronic Polytune

Here’s a walkthrough of the stage setup:

National tour of ‘Grease’

I have been offered to play guitar in Ben McDonald’s production of Grease. We will be going on tour for approximately 5 weeks and have around 2 days of rehearsals. I will be starting off in the Bruce Mason Centre up in Takapuna and then making my down the North and South Island playing in a different location every night for most of the duration. Then the final week will be in Sky City in Auckland.

The setup for the band is Keys 1 and 2, Guitar, Bass, Saxophone and Drums. The musical director for the show is Laughton Kora and musical supervisor is Paul Barrett. I have  also had to give measurements for a costume which means that we are on stage for some parts of the show.

We start on November the 3rd and finish December 12th – looking forward to meeting everyone on the team.

Mamma Mia Regional Tour NZ 2016 Pictures and Video

Had a great time playing in Mamma Mia with fantastic cast/crew/musicians. The season flew past really quickly and really enjoyed playing through all the tracks every night. I managed to get a couple of pictures with the band mates and also put together a quick video (link under pictures) of the first act of the show, giving you an idea of what I had to play:

Mamma Mia First Act Guitar Orchestra Pit

More FM Radio

Happy New Year all!

I’m hopefully going to try upload smaller ‘news’ posts more often rather than just uploading large updates to catch up with everything after a long period of time.

Here is a little video I recorded a couple of months ago for some fun. It’s the solo from ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ by Thin Lizzy. A simple little solo, but has a great groove to it:


I also recently played at the More FM radio station with Jazzi Axton, which was a lot of fun! We played a mashup of “Why Don’t You Love Me” and “Bust Your Windows” as part of the breakfast show. You can see the full performance below: