New Age Guitar
This was my 3rd or 4th concert working with Acoustic Alchemy, but the first since one of the founding members, Nick Webb passed away. I was really looking forward to this show.
The band's tour bus showed up even before I did, which is rare. They needed a bunch of extra time to get some equipment bugs worked out, since this was only their second show on this tour. When I arrived at the theater, most of the band gear was already on stage, and the band's road crew and sound engineer were already there. Scott Jones (their front of house engineer) has been with the band since they have been appearing at IMAC, so we already knew each other. For a 5 person band, they sure had a lot of "stuff" with them. The electric guitar player had 2 Fender Twins with him, being driven by a Sans-Amp PSA-1 which was fed by a bunch of pedals and switches and stuff. He was playing a MIDI guitar hooked to a synth module in his rack.
The drummer had a full rack of drum stuff. Why do drum racks always look like plumbing to me? It was a very nice all wood set (looked like maple) that sounded great. The bass player used 2 huge 4x10 bottoms, a Hartke amp, rack tuner, compressor, and a gob of pedals.
The two main guitars (one nylon and one steel) went through a very impressive looking rack of gear including a pair of custom made pedal boxes containing tuner, preamp, switches, and some other goodies. Each box was run with a multi-conductor cable back to their equipment rack which contained reverb and some other stuff.
They also brought their own pair of custom monitor wedges and an amplifier and EQ rack to drive them. I provided a line level signal from the monitor board to feed their rack.
There were some equipment problems with one of the guitar amps, the Sans-Amp (which was brand new) and some hums and buzzes to get rid of. We sound checked the band for about an hour before Greg and John (the main guys) showed up for their part. Everything went fine, and there were few adjustments to be made to the sound.
Important: everybody got to eat dinner. It was a successful sound check.
When Nick Webb died from his battle with cancer in February, the band wasn't sure what to do. After a while, Greg knew that Nick would have wanted the music to continue, so they enlisted the services of John Parsons to fill in for Nick. As Greg said at the show, John was the only one they felt comfortable about replacing Nick with. John and Nick had gone to school together, and they were all friends. John had also produced the band's first four recordings. It turned out to be a phenomenal choice. They were as good as ever, and the first show was sold out. The second show was well attended, though not a sellout.
It is always awe-inspiring to me to see great talent. Every person on stage was a fantastic performer and an equally outstanding musician. They did a lot of songs from the band's newest album (sorry, the title escapes me), and a lot of the classic Acoustic Alchemy songs. On the more upbeat numbers, the audience was clapping and bouncing in their seats, and on the quieter numbers, they were enraptured by the talent of Greg and John.
To say that they put on a good show would be like saying that Everest is a little tall. The band was so thrilled at the audience response that they played even longer than they were planning to. On top of that, they graciously signed t-shirts, CDs, and butt-cheeks (just kidding) after each performance. They certainly gave the audience more than they paid for, and the fans certainly loved it.
It's a pleasure to work with talented musicians. It is surprisingly uplifting when the musicians are as genuinely nice and pleasant to work with as this group was. I hope I get to work with them again, and I know that each member of the audience would like to see them again as well.
They are on a short tour this time around, but if you ever get a chance to see them, I guarantee you won't be disappointed.
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