JSS REPORT FROM SOUTH AMERICA (He's on the road again!!!)
Its been a while since I’ve blogged so I thought I would spend some of this 16 hour travel out of Brazil to jot down some of this recent South American adventure…firstly, I’ve been meaning to leave my own words/thoughts about the recent loss of our Metal pioneer, Mr. Ronnie James Dio, but as I wanted to find the time to truly express myself properly, I literally have had little time to breathe recently…dating back to the end of the 3 months I spent with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra from Oct to January, gigs between Jan-Feb, right back with TSO from Mar-May, straight to Denmark with Spike Edney’s SAS Band & straight out to Brazil with my boys…let the ride begin!
I was extremely excited to see the guys again as it had been nearly a year since we played together, coincidentally in Brazil…yet I knew I needed to change things up a bit on the set list so I put them through the wringer a bit before having them learn a few things, changing up how we approach others & making the set different from last years which was basically like the current Live In Madrid DVD out. I was also looking forward to sharing the stage once again with the amazing Eric Martin!
I left London on Tue May 18 to connect in Munich where Jorge (Salan) & Fernando (Mainer) would be flying up from to fly the rest of the 12 ½ hour flight to Sao Paulo with me. We landed on Wed May 19 at about 5:20AM local time, just to give you an idea of what was coming up with our schedules…BJ & Edu (Cominato) along with our promoter Ricky Dallal (Free Pass Entertainment) were there to greet us & it felt complete, the JSS Band were together again…we had rehearsal planned for later that afternoon so the 1st business in order was proper sleep as we got little to none on the flights down. We met around 4PM & got straight to work…the guys certainly did their homework & one wouldn’t know it was nearly a year since we played last, the boss was happy J We ended around 8 knowing we should do another round the next day if we were to feel confident on the new additions as well as changes to the set but for now, we had dinner then a meet n greet event to attend at the venue we played last year, Blackmore Bar. Attendance was free if you showed proof of your ticket for Sun’s show. A few autographs & photos later, the band were setting up to play, a last minute booking of BJ’s Toto tribute band…was looking forward to this & boy did these guys not disappoint, AMAZING really! I fought off all the invites during the set to come up & sing (I wanted to save the voice for rehearsals & such) but as soon as the beginning chords to 'Georgy Porgy' started, I couldn’t help myself & ran up to sing, haha, ended up singing 2 or 3 more. It ended up an early night as we were all still exhausted & had long days ahead.
Thu we got up for lunch then hit the ground running again to hone in on the set some more. From there we had to rush to a radio interview for KIIS FM which we barely made it to…great station & we got a lot of good promo from them for the Sao Paulo show. From there it was another mad rush to a TV station so we could be on the National variety show called Todo Sue hosted by Ronnie Von, a former Brazilian pop star from the 60’s & 70’s. He couldn’t be more personable & we got to perform acoustic versions of ‘Broken Man’ & ‘Soul Divine’. We finally got to dinner at 10PM & were pretty much in bed by midnight as we had a 8AM lobby call for the flight down to Buenos Aires!
The flight down on Fri morning took about 6 hours in total, once we landed we were informed we would have to go straight to sound check as things were running behind & since Eric & I agreed in advance he would close the show there, I would close both shows in Brazil, we had to get our check done before doors opened. It was great to reunite with my friend & promoter Ariel Vigo, Volumen4, as it’d been 5 years since we worked together last. His crew, the venue & all were seemless although things took longer than we thought & with traffic at it’s peak, it was agreed rushing to the hotel to check in would only mean rushing right back to hit the stage immediately upon returning. No biggee, we relaxed instead & had all our things backstage with us which then was evident of the bad luck to occur shortly.
We had another early morning/late night ahead so we decided to get to the hotel while Eric was still onstage as it was nearly an hour away (don’t ask!) so the crew loaded up our stuff & off we went…upon arriving, Fernando realized he left his small bag that contained his wallet, iPod but more important, passport, at the venue. No worries, we called the promoter & had his team looking for it…umm, no dice. Nando, our tour manager & a couple others did the trek back to the venue to do a thorough search but again, nothing! Panic set in & after no sleep for the poor guy, our only choice was to head to the airport at 8AM for our 10AM flight out. Now it’s a Sat, public holiday in Argentina AND the emergency passport embassy number we had went to voice mail….now what!! Fernando finally got a call back from the embassy & a series of things needed to occur for him to get an emergency passport…the only choice they offered him was to go back to Spain but not to another country 1st! we rushed to board our flight as I went from thinking I could get some more shut eye to working out how we would get through the set that night, as well as possibly the show in SP. It was already a task getting the set to what we got it to, now I had to work out which songs I could play bass & sing, which BJ could possibly do instead of guitar but more important, how our brother would get out of Argentina ok! We left him with the news they would do their best to get him out today but it was unlikely…by the time we boarded our connecting flight, there was the miracle text we were all praying for….they were getting him out on the last flight out that would get him into Curitiba where we were playing an HOUR before showtime! A sigh of relief from all left us to forge ahead to sound check!
Luckily Eric was on 1st that night which bought us more time for Nando to arrive, more than enough time actually as he didn’t start until midnight which meant we started close to 2AM…this after being up at 8AM, flying, stressing, etc., Nando got there & after big hugs we made our way to the stage & popped out a better show than had it been a ‘normal’ day, we were happy to be 5 again! We got to bed about 5AM which was 19 hours after we had woken up & again, had to be downstairs by 10AM for the flight to Sao Paulo…sleep deprivation & exhaustion really now starting to kick in….HARD! But SP is an important city for me so I knew I had to find the energy to pull it off…well, most there know my energy drink is the local popular Caipiroska! In Curitiba, I had a monstrous pitcher sized cup for one which I passed around the stage before I skulled it so of course had to do it that way onstage in SP. Eric pulled off a great set & the pumped up crowd were ready for us now. In these days/shows, Jorge was doing a short guitar solo in which he would end it with the chords to Dio’s Holy Diver in which we did a verse & chorus of in memory of the master! In addition to this, I had the band rehearse a finale/encore that would have me bring Eric onstage with us to do Mr. Big’s ‘Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy’ with a chunk of ‘To Be With You’ set in the middle of the song, went over like gangbusters! We also did the song ‘Insanity Desire’ from the Tempestt debut album which I did a duet with BJ on along with their guitarist Leo Mancini which was great too. The exhausting set lasted nearly 2 hours & we were all spent by the end, especially after the 2nd encore, which was a moving tribute to my brother & friend Marcel Jacob. We did the version of the Talisman song ‘Since You’ve Gone’ (from the Humanimal album) that I rewrote some lyrics as a dedication to MJ, which I had only sung previously at his funeral nearly a year ago…I wanted his fans to share this moment & even asked BJ to translate my memorial so everyone would understand, not only the ones who knew English.
After a late night meal, again we got to bed about 3AM & had to be up & ready to leave by noon for the loooonnng flight out of Brazil. After an emotional, draining, sleep deprived & adventurous trip, it was all worth it but I wont be doing anymore of these marathon runs with little to no time to recharge again…not worth going so far to not even get to enjoy some of it! Thanks to all who attended, all who worked their asses off, Eric Martin for his professionalism, wit & wisdom & finally my band for proving yet again why I have them with me!!
Going to sleep for the next 2 days now, ciao everyone!
Source : Richard Mace