The First Thoughts
Instead of some short-form posts on Twitter or Facebook about how the Anything Box / Rob Rowe (Cause&Effect + WhiteWaits)/ Channel 69 / VIC-20 Texas run went, I thought I'd sit down and share a few pics as I find them off the camera, and reflect on things as I go. Somewhat erratic, but then again, I'm still recovering from the whirlwind that those 11 days on the road. And it seems as though it was both longer and shorter. Time as it were, shifts, doesn't it. So, expect this post to evolve as I add to it. I'll add chapters as I go
This was San Antonio, from the proverbial 'stand cam', which for most of the tour was not set up correctly, and was not a priority over the sound. But this shot and these next ones...
brought back that feeling of being welcomed into Texas with open arms. Texas as in the state, but also interesting to note, is that I got to chat with a person who flew in from the UK for Houston, and two couples from Seattle that attended the Austin show. There were other states represented in the shows as well, and it made for very emotional sets. No set, by the way, was exactly the same and I kept to the promise despite certain circumstances. In semi-fact (the brain is hazy as I type)...
Dead Stars was only played in McAllen.
In Your Smile was only played in Houston (and Gary made a cameo there and beatboxed Blue Little Rose)...
Lady In Waiting entered the setlist in Forth Worth, as it was easier on the voice, but I could not muster up Carmen there... Because that set was played with a full-on migraine to add to the vocal problem (more on this later)...
El Paso got a suped-up Living In Oblivion, complete with "I fought the Motherfucking Devil and Beat him" lyric and 'mystical tea' dominated the evening (more on this later).
Do You Hear Me Anymore entered the set in El Paso, I believe?
Clean was only played in San Antonio.
Fast Forward and 45 (as a live dub-remix with Gary Beatboxing) was played in Austin. I could not do it prior to Austin because my voice could not do it (more on this later).
And certain songs, like Where Is Love & Happiness, When We Lie, Jubilation, and Do you Hear Me Anymore were randomly flip-flopped or played together. So yes, no two sets were the same.
Songs that came off the set were disappointing for me, but vocally I just could not do them. These were Heaven, Industrial Wasteland, Diamond, and Dead Stars (except for that first night).
The intention was to do at least two newish songs every night. The only one that stayed semi-consistent was Hello.
And sadly, in Austin, there was no ladder. This was a first considering there has been one in every venue since 2018? But that's not the venue's fault. They had one, but it was rubber and would have sounded terrible. That said... The compensation for that was pretty cool. I played the lighting stands while Gary beatboxed, which turned into some kind of live dub thing. So no complaints there.
I hope I find more from the cameras, but one of them was somewhat damaged from a fall, and I am having to access the SD in little bits. So most of El Paso and Houston are missing. But of course, the best pictures don't come from my cameras, but from your phones, so share them with me and tag them #AboxTexas on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and I'll add them to this post!
The Voice Accident
I had an amazing show in McAllen, TX at The Dungeon. I don't feel I strained or had anything to worry about. It was hot, and it was the first night, that first show. But it went well! It was actually the transition from that show to Houston that did me in. The heat was crazy, and from what I've been reading in the news, it appears that this heatwave was causing people to faint on the street. The heat, it was also reported, might have even killed an athlete. What it did to me was rather benign, but nonetheless severe, in that I could feel a direct effect during the Houston show.
I cannot remember the exact song, but it was there in Houston, onstage, that I felt something in my throat literally tear. If it could have made a noise, you would have heard the sound of fabric being torn in half. I began to feel rather faint, almost as if the tearing 'sound' was its signal. I was not out of breath, as the notes were going out. But I could taste it. I could feel it. Something had just broken. And from there all hell broke loose. And, I must add, most of it I could have avoided with better planning.
I managed to end the show and even do the encore, but something was wrong, and I was rather worried. By the time I got back to the hotel and checked that all the equipment was properly packed up for the next trip, I could not muster a sound to come out of my voice... And I would have to do one more show before a longer rest period would come. What was I to do? Urgent care? Hospital? The situation was rather complicated. But at least, there was a plan of some sort.
I figured that I'd start on hot Lemon Ginger Tea and Honey ASAP before the next show. I'd get on that quick. This was not as bad as I thought, and by the next night, all would be OK.