As I battle a monster jetlag-exhaustion combo driven by an insane concert schedule, I caught myself pondering the following: in a society driven by an incessant pursuit of elusive perfection it seems like we are always trying our hardest to present ourselves as being something we clearly can never be–perfect. So, instead of propagating a fake ideal image of what a tour might seem to an outside viewer, here is an alternative, “behind the curtains” view of our ambitious undertaking in hope it may provide some wisdom to those who might be considering initiatives of similar nature and scope.
During our three-leg flight, we went through four (yes, you read that right, four) TSA checkpoints tripping additional security checks at every single one of them with our ominous looking hemi speakers that have confounded even most experienced TSA officers. In Charlotte (the point of origin for most of us), over half of students were unable to obtain their boarding passes for connecting flights. This, in combination with the fact we had to deplane our original flight in Charlotte due to a “mechanical problem,” we barely made it to our overseas flight literally minutes before its departure. As if begging for trouble, due to preexisting logistic challenges not all l2orkists shared the common itinerary. Ron joined us at Charlotte airport barely making it through security in time for our joint departure, while John joined us in Frankfurt. My advice? Don’t do this.
Knowing how much punishment checked luggage is commonly subjected to during air travel, we bought a hard-shell suitcase for our subs and supporting L2Ork accessories. Yet, upon arriving to Linz we discovered the brand new suitcase not only had a nasty rip in its plastic shell, but one of the subs inside it had a leg completely torn off (including a piece of its wooden enclosure), despite the fact we stuffed the entire suitcase with shock-absorbing foam-like material. So, I spent an afternoon in Linz between the workshop and a concert seeking inventive ways to fix the sub. Luckily, it all worked out since Martin generously offered access to his studio. Following the late Linz gig, on our way back to the hotel we were caught completely unprepared in a rainstorm which once again tested our L2Ork bags to their very limits.
Next destination, Ljubljana. As we were setting up in Kino Šiška, we discovered that one of the stations were not properly packed and that we left behind 3 critical cables (speaker, sub, and network), effectively rendering one station inoperable. While we did bring along an additional station as a backup plan and thus were able to compensate for this unfortunate loss, another one of these slip-ups and entire tour will be in jeopardy. And we are barely getting started…
And then there is the Budapest gig. The train to Ljubljana ran quite late begging a critical question whether we would be able to make it to Budapest in time for our 7pm gig where we had barely an hour between our anticipated arrival (following an 8-hour journey of the only train connection between Ljubljana and Budapest) and the beginning of the concert. Following our last night’s performance the ensemble spent two hours deliberating possible alternatives and finally arriving at the most dreaded, yet the only rational option of having to cancel our Budapest gig. Swallowing a bitter pill is never fun, but when one spends a year in planning an event just to cancel it less than 24 hours before the performance, it is plainly unbearable.
Nonetheless, there are many exciting things ahead of us and the one-day break has given us a chance to catch our breath and recoup some of the precious energy. Looking forward, despite all the curve balls we’ve been dodging for the past couple days, I cannot help but feel optimistic. We still have tons of exciting venues ahead of us. Our next stop? Zagreb’s magnificent Museum of Contemporary Arts and a performance on May 18th @ 6pm as part of the International Day of Museums.