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Date: Sun 31 Mar, 2002 at 00:00
Headline: That Space-Cadet Glow

It's Sunday morning, and I just woke up after the all-night drive home from Flyin' Zion 2002. Although the band finished up around 11:00 last night and we had a 5 hour drive ahead of us, Webmaster Fozz and I wanted to be home with our families for Easter, so we made the trek. I have to say that barreling down I-15 at 80mph in the dead of night while watching the Contact DVD on Fozz's laptop and still feeling the effects of post-show buzz was quite the surreal experience. Definitely a combination of circumstances to inflame the senses. I'm sure it would have been even moreso, had I been ingesting any of the plentiful mind-altering chemicals I had been offered throughout the evening. ;)

Both nights were marked by absolutely gorgeous weather, with a full moon and a breathtaking panorama of stars shining down on us. Last night was a little chillier than Friday, but fortunately our weather mantra of "hope for the best, but prepare for the worst" never had to be put to the test. Standing in the open meadow, preparing myself to go on stage and staring up at the transcendently beautiful night sky as the opening strains of 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond''s not the sort of moment that one forgets.

Well, if we were going to pick any time to debut the full-on Pink Floyd Tribute show, this was most certainly the place. The crowd was great both nights; large, loud, and very hip to what we were trying to achieve. They danced, sang, fully gave themselves over to the music. There was a small contingent of folks down front who knew all the words, even to lesser-known songs like 'Echoes' and 'The Gunner's Dream'. We even had the honor of having beautiful women flash the band. Groovy. :-)

For these shows, Daryn, Tim and I were joined on stage by Eric Litovsky (keyboards), Jason Savelsberg (saxophone) and John Dandry (rhythm guitar), and everyone played their hearts out both nights. I was very impressed with the amount of positive energy and "can-do" spirit that reigned over the weekend. After the massive workload and stress involved in putting the show together, to have it go off without a hitch like that was a fantastic reward. The performances were by no means flawless -- everyone hit their share of wrong notes, and there was the occasional sound FX snafu -- but those things were fleeting and did not detract from the experience, at least not for me.

Much of the credit for the shows going as well as they did has to go to Carl Roehmann, Flyin Zion's musical director. From booking the bands to working the audience to supplying endless technological know-how and equipment, he ran a tight ship and kept us all happy. Things we didn't even know we needed until 30 minutes before showtime were magically provided. No problems, only solutions. Most people we have worked with in more "professional" situations could learn much from his kick-ass example.

Gargantuan shout-outs must also go to FZ organizer Roger Fuller, our soundman Samuel Johnson, performer/audio documentarian Mike Beck (whom I was mistaken for several times last night), John Clark for allowing us to drag bits of his PA 300 miles south for free, the bass players from Blank Tape and Lip Service for letting me use their rigs to cut down on set-up time, and the people of Flyin Zion 2002 for making us feel welcome. At first I was unsure if I would fit in with the culture, as I am a tea-totaller who had never been a big camping fan. But I was won over by everyone's friendliness and enthusiasm for...well, everything.

A few quick words about my partner in crime Tim Hollinger: he brought the band to Carl's attention in the first place, and served as a contact liason. He drove to Rockville 2 weeks before the gig to wire the ranch for sound. He procured much of the building materials to aid in construction of the stage and sound tower. He built the flashpots, crashing airplane and flying pig from scratch. He drove all of this equipment, plus his entire PA and bits of the others we used down south by himself, and will be driving them back as well. Oh, and did I mention that he also sang and played guitar for a couple of hours a night as well? And through all of this, I never heard one complaint or note of discouragement. The man is my hero.

Special Ultra-Thanks to Webmaster Fozz for being willing to make the trip with me, shuttle me around and perform various technical duties during the event, everything from helping to wire the soundbooth to hauling speakers to filming the concerts, and many tasks in between. If you want to find out more about our experiences with Flyin Zion apart from the music and see some groovy pictures from this weekend, be sure to check out his Fozzolog Report

.....and a quick epilogue to all of this. I also took some time to visit relatives in St George this weekend, and I am so glad I did. I spent a great deal of my childhood there, but had been returning less and less frequently as an adult, mostly to do with the deaths of my grandparents and other unpleasant experiences. But as we drove through the red rock, took in the desert air, and spent time with my very generous Aunt Jane and Uncle Roger (who let us stay at their house Friday night when it became clear that we were in no fit state to camp out), I felt a wonderful sort of release. Whatever had been ailing me was healed, and I fell in love with the place all over again. It felt like coming home.

Audio, Video and Pics will be available from these shows just as quickly as we can get them ready. Thanks again everyone for a great weekend!

your humble correspondent
Thom Bowers