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The Tiger Journals
#4: Faster Than Lightning

The week leading up to the big weekend was driving, moving gear, rehearsing and posing for photographs, both in rehearsal studios and at the venue. It was great see James after all this time, and the chemistry was still there as we went through the sets in rehearsal.

Walking in to the venue on load-in day was quite an experience of Déjà vu – Road cases, equipment in various stages of assembly, scurrying technicians all seemingly as we had left them, twelve years ago.  After reality had set in and the stage gear was up, it was in to playing the sets on the performance stage while final touches went on around us. On the Thursday night, we left the place knowing that the next time we walked through those doors it would be for real – Showtime.

The day of the first gig got off to a good start when I got out of bed and couldn’t swallow. Fortunately, the problem was in my head not my throat, so I proceeded to focus my thoughts on what lay ahead. It had been a long time since I had performed live, and even longer since I had performed live at this level, so I had spent the weeks of preparation making sure that there was no margin for error in my playing or my knowledge of the material. I was better prepared for this than I had been for anything else in my career, and I knew it.

Once the world was left outside the Charles Hotel, it was into ‘Gig Mode’. The guitars were taken off to be tuned and polished, stage clothes were racked, and we were sent out to do a quick meet and greet with VIP guests and early comers. Once that was out of the way, the band gathered backstage to get changed, review the set lists and do whatever we did as individuals in those last few minutes before going on stage.  For my part, I was withdrawn and intense, as I remember it. I had built my passion and rage to this point, and as I heard the intro track run, I was ready to take the lid off and give it all to those poor, hapless souls in the front rows!

And that’s exactly what happened.

I suspect that sportsmen and women have similar problems with recalling exact moments in great games they’ve played. The event in itself is so awesome to be lost in that it seems to blur into a montage of images, sounds and feelings. I do remember clearly the feeling I got from the crowd as we walked on stage for the first time. They felt the same as we did – it was good to be back. The response that flowed up on to the stage from the room was almost a physical thing, and there was more than one moment in the course of the performance that I was lifted from exhaustion by the look on someone’s face.

The songs all went over a treat with the fans singing every word. It was great to see Croz (Dave Crosby – vocals) work the crowd as only he can, not to mention once again harmonize with that incredible voice.

The guys all performed in spectacular style, with no loss in ability but a dozen year’s more experience. We locked in together as only a seasoned combination can, and put on the shows of our lives.

The Saturday show was even bigger than the Friday, both shows crowds pushing capacity. The second night’s gig was a little easier to recall, as we were all a little less frantic. The Saturday night was always our traditional night at The Charles, and a lot of people shared the sentiment. There were familiar faces all through the crowd, as well as a gratifyingly large number of new ones. It was Classic Tiger – the audience knew when to sing, when to give ‘The Salute’, and were as much a part of the show as the five of us. We went out and mingled after the gig, and were overcome by the genuine sentiment of welcome and love from those who stayed to meet us. In a word, inspirational. In another word, humbling.  (Review with photos due shortly - Ed.)

Graham Greene


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