Last Saturday 8th June saw the brand new Haçienda Classical show debut at Scarborough Open Air Theatre. After months of hard work, preparation and preproduction it was time to head to the Yorkshire Coast to perform alongside Tim Crooks, The Manchester Camerata, Yvonne Shelton, Rae Hall, Melanie Williams and The AMC Gospel Choir.
I was pretty nervous when I woke up early ahead of catching an 8am train to Scarborough. Earlier in the week I’d taken all of my gear and tech to Wigwam Audio, who supply the sound and tech, to set it up, try it out and to make sure it worked as planned. I left everything with them so that it could make its way over with the rest of the equipment so all I had to worry about was my overnight bag, my laptop, iPad and my in-ear monitors. Despite having everything ready for the show I ended up spending a lot of the train journey double checking audio, edits and software on my laptop and iPad and inevitably started fiddling with the synth sounds I was using and editing some of the acapellas and samples I was using before switching everything off to enjoy the rain sodden view of East Yorkshire as the train trundled east.
I arrived on a very wet and chilly site on time at 11am to find that all my stuff was set up and ready for my line check. Once I’d connected up my MacBook Pro and iPad and made a few minor adjustments to the layout and connections, we were ready to try everything out. Half an hour later I was attempting to relax in my dressing room as I nervously waited for the rest of the performers to arrive. Peter Hook appeared around midday for his line and sound check before the choir, musicians and singers all arrived and began setting up.
As the heavy rain continued to fall from the slate grey sky, it was time to start rehearsing the new show and excitement began to build as everyone took their place on the stage and sound crew and technicians scurried around to make sure everything was as it should be. Once everyone was happy our conductor Tim Crooks spoke to us all in our in-ear monitors and we started the show. In previous years we’ve always had a full rehearsal in the days leading up to the show, but this year we decided to have our full rehearsal on the day of the show whilst sound checking. This was partly due to cost (a full rehearsal costs almost as much as putting on the full show) but also because after three years of shows we were all confident that we knew what we were doing. The musicians of the Manchester Camerata had already seen the score and arrangement, the AMC Gospel Choir had rehearsed their parts in advance and Yvonne, Rae, Melanie and I had also got together to go through our parts the day before so we were all confident. Despite this and even though I’d already pretty much worked out what I would be doing, the nerves kicked in even more as the introduction blasted out of the PA and the show began. Of course the nerves soon gave way to a real sense of excitement as we all performed the new show and everything went beautifully. Three hours later, after a positive reahearsal and run through, the sound, tech and lighting guys were happy and it was time to grab a couple of hours rest. I headed to my hotel to relax and eat before heading back down to the site an hour before we were due to perform the new show.
When I returned 808 State were on stage getting the crowd fired up and the atmosphere was building. The rain had stopped and there was a real sense of excitement and anticipation in the air. Amid lots of pacing around I had a quick check of my equipment on stage to make sure everything was as it should be and then it was time to gather backstage as the orchestra took their seats. As MC Tunes fired up the crowd and introduced us, I had one last check that my new Cosmic Ears in-ear monitors were securely fitted and connected to my audio pack as I grabbed my microphone and walked on stage. We were off! And, even if I say so myself, what a show! Everything went to plan and everyone on stage and behind the scenes performed magnificently thanks to the encouragement and positive vibes from the amazing crowd. Thank you Scarborough!
The new songs sounded incredible, the songs I decided to bring back from the first two shows sounded much better than they did when we originally performed them and the songs that we kept from last year sounded better too. The post show feedback has been incredible and everyone involved in the show is absolutely buzzing. Obviously I’m not going to give anything away here and spoil the surprises we have in the show, but if you have a ticket for any of our forthcoming shows you’re in for a real treat. If you haven’t got yourself a ticket yet and are thinking about coming along, please don’t hang about but grab one while you can. You won’t be disappointed. I think this new show is the best yet but there are only six more confirmed dates for you to catch it.
Next up for us is a triple header as perform at the Isle Of Wight Festival Friday 14th June and then at two Forest Live events in Kent Saturday 15th June and Gloucestershire Sunday 16th June. I’ll be posting regular video updates on my Instagram IGTV channel as well as on my Facebook Page if you want to keep up to date with everything behind the scenes. Hopefully I’ll see you with a massive smile on your face and waving your hands in the air over the weekend. You can get full details of all of our forthcoming dates with ticket details from Haçienda Classical Dates