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Date: Tue 27 Aug, 2002 at 00:00
Headline: Inspiration & Perspiration

Greetings and Salutations!

Ok, time for a little update....

We are now just over a week away from the next FloydShow, and getting down to the wire for putting all of the light & sound tech together, as well as working out the tunes. We've chopped out about 45 minutes of material from our earlier set list, then added another hour of new stuff and shuffled around the running order a bit, so if you happened to catch the show back in May, fear not -- you'll be gettng more bang for your buck and definitely won't be seeing the same show twice!

Daryn and I played a short set with Jupiter last Saturday, at a block party for the friends and neighbors of our bassist Ray Opheikens. We hadn't played together since May (and this was our first performance with Daryn on drums), so it was good to shake the cobwebs off and try to get back into the groove. I had to use another keyboard player's gear -- well, I didn't have to, but it seemed like an easier course of action (ha!) at the time -- and was consequently fumbling around with patches and pedals for the most part. Good energy level, though, and the crowd seemed to dig us. Ray and I had both seen RUSH last Friday night at the Delta Center, and I could tell that it got him highly motivated to play - he was much more animated than usual. The band that played before us did mostly Beatles tunes, and honestly did them quite well - they even had the Liverpudlian accents down. Our set was a little sloppier, which was OK considering the circumstances but reminded us of just how rusty we have become. I personally haven't seriously practiced anything on keyboards for a few months (that's the hazzard of having someone as good as Matt Meldrum at your disposal), and I'm sure it showed. The whole band will be putting in some real woodshedding over the next few weeks to tighten things up, but before long we'll back to work. I'm looking forward to having my "day gig" back.

The aforementioned RUSH concert was stupendous on many levels. I loved the choice of material (even though I wish we could have heard more songs from the new album), loved the playing, loved the staging, loved the visuals. It was deeply inspiring, and a reminder of how important this band has been not only to me personally and my own development as a musician and writer, but to the world of rock'n'roll in general (critics and fashionmongers be damned). I was touched by how genuinely thrilled Alex Lifeson seemed to be back on stage, and the great interaction between him and Geddy Lee, especially during the acoustic rendition of 'Resist'. Alex was playing with more fire and passion than I have ever seen, and his "rant" during La Villa Strangiato' was priceless. Geddy, for his part, nailed all the high notes and showboated around quite a bit more than usual, which was fun to watch. As for Neil Peart...right now I am engrossed in his book Ghost Rider, chronicling the travels he undertook (both geographical and emotional) in the latter part of the 90's after the tragic deaths of his wife and daughter. It amazes me, considering the contents of said book, that the performance I saw last Friday was even possible, but one thing's for sure: I will never take the existence of this band for granted again.

That's all for now. I'll be back with another FloydShow progress report soon.

your humble correspondent
Thom Bowers