Here are some videos of the warm up gig I recently did to road test the setup and material for the “meet and greet” night of the “Dr Sardonicus 16th Dream” psychedelic festival in August at my local music venue.
First time I have been on stage in six years! Scary where that time has gone (not helped by Covid lockdowns of course)!
It’s taken me six months plus (on and off of course in amongst a crazy work schedule where I have been away a lot) to get the ideas and the setup together.
Normally I have only ever taken two keyboards out, but as this is meant to be just an occasional thing - two or three times a year - I decided to “go large” on this one.
As well as the keyaboards, you can see my gig rack towards the back between the stands, which was running Cantabile. All keyboards are in a MIDI STAR configuration with Cantabile software running on the gig PC acting as the router and processor of all MIDI data, and there is lots of layering going on as well, sometimes running multiple instances of Wavestate and Modwave, Falcon, DIVA, PolyKB, etc.
On to the gig itself, it went pretty well. A few glitches in both the kit and the player(!), but that was the whole idea for doing a warm up gig / test drive, and I played about three hours of music; the longest I have ever been on stage for!
It was interesting being on stage solely on my own. Not sure if it was the solo facet or not having been on stage for six years, but I was more nervous than usual at the start of any gig, but I soon settled down.
It was strange having to do the inter song chat with the audience. That is normally lead singer territory, and all I have ever had to do previously is say the odd “thank you” into a backing vocals mic!
Reactions were pretty good - even had a few people dancing in the faster numbers towards the end. Here are a few quotes from Facebook responses.
From Jim Harwood: The perfect Sunday afternoon at The Cellar Bar, Cardigan, in the company of Derek Cook, and his amazing array of keyboards. It was as close to a Tangerine Dream gig as you can get without them actually being there, close on three hours of beautiful synth music with a wide variety of textures, rhythms and tempos, and all for free!
From Geoff Leavold: What a pleasure it was to listen to this hugely talented guy yesterday. A free gig too - he was testing material for later gigs. Many thanks to The Cellar Bar - yet again this venue offers something different. If you’re a lover of Vangelis, JM Jarre, Steve Hillage, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwork, Eno or electro music generally, and you missed this gig - don’t miss him next time.
I have always loved playing the Cellar Bar. It is a small intimate venue. When I have played there in Echoes, Pure Floyd or Welsh Floyd we always sold the venue out. In these “not many people going out any more” and post Covid days it is struggling a little, but hangs in there. Steve the owner (ever the entrepreneur) has diversified by turning it into a second hand vinyl record store as well, which has reduced the audience capacity quite a bit, but it probably fits the size of crowd going out these days. I think I had about 40 people watching me. So, not quite Wembley arena, or even matching the 500+ we have have in my other bands at larger venues, but I prefer smaller gigs in terms of audience feedback.
And onto the videos. The first is the sound check promo and you can hear Steve, the Cellar Bar owner who I have known since 2006, making his amusing pronouncements. He does the sound check videos to post on the venue’s FB page to promote the gig. The second one is a short segment, and the 3rd one is longer, but with some camera video mangling for some reason!
Hope you enjoy and thnaks for listening (if you do!)