After finishing up with our final electric shows for a while, we began prepping for our first ever acoustic tour. The thought of this has given me many sleepless nights, for one reason. Acoustic guitars are for men!
I’ve toured South Africa many times before, but always in the format I’m most comfortable in. Loud power 3-piece. The problem I’ve always had with acoustic guitars is I’ve always tried to play them like I would an electric guitar, which doesn’t really work out well for anyone. I decided I would pick songs that would suit the acoustic set and respect the acoustic guitar for what it is.
The tour that our tour manager/booking agent ‘Pumpkin’ has booked for us is quite a busy one. 25 dates in 30 days, hitting pretty much every major centre in South Africa. On the road this time are the same bunch of guys, Clint on bass, Andy on percussion, and myself on acoustic guitars and bottleneck guitars.
I arrived at rehearsal with a preconceived idea on what tunes I wanted to play, these included tunes from Robert Johnson, Son House, The Band, and of course some of my own. After playing around with the tunes for about an hour, it became very apparent that this was going to be one of the rawest, real things we would ever do. The way the Blues should be. The final set list looked something like this…
- 20 Stones (off my 20 Stones album)
- Miss Oowee (a track I wrote for the acoustic tour)
- Kwazi (Indian style slide piece inspired by the great Derek Trucks)
- Preachin’ Blues (Son House piece I’ve always wanted to do)
- Bright Lights, Big City (a Jimmy Reed classic that we did on 20 Stones)
- Big Things Going Down (off my move my soul record)
- The Weight (a very cool song from The Band)
- Traveling Riverside Blues (Robert Johnson)
- Kaynin (solo bass piece)
- Bring the World to its Knees (opening track off 20 Stones done on a slide guitar)
- Superstition (Stevie Wonder classic I’ve always loved)
- Kashmir (Zeppelin)
The First Leg of the Tour
We started in my hometown of Pretoria, South Africa’s Capitol city, at a cozy little theatre called Centurion Theatre. (200 seater). Warming up backstage we listened to a stellar set by the support act for this tour, Shannon Hope. Not a Blues lady, but an extremely powerful singer and piano player.
We all hit the stage for the first time already drenched in sweat from pre-show nerves. What a perfect setting and audience to start the tour off with. Everyone was there to listen and enjoy, you could hear a pin drop in the room.
Sometimes South African audiences for some reason will pay a lot of money to come see a show but will insist on having a fat chat about completely unrelated topics during the performance. But thankfully, not this crowd.
Show #3 was at a venue we have played many times before also in Pretoria called Cafe Barcelona (150 seater), and show #3 was the only one booked for Johannesburg at an outstanding venue called Tanz Cafe (400 seater).
Both of these shows were a bit more of a challenge due to fact that they were far more noisy crowds, but both shows never the less went great. I look forward to rest of the tour in other parts of SA, because I believe the set will just get better with time.
We’ve only done three shows thus far but I’m having a blast, if I’m honest I’m kind of craving playing my Strat turned up very loud. But that will have to wait until October. More stories from this tour will follow very shortly.
We also came across these epic comics on www.3chorddorks.com. Go check them out!
– Dan Patlansky