We’re back. And what a longstrangecrazycool trip it’s been. Of course, now I am confirmed full Mal, as I yam now Gelf retern. Silly Ray-ban, gold chain, etc notwithstanding. Fullmal and no quarter!
Flew Gulf Air via Muscat (sitting in the airport fooling about, the three Muscateers! Yes, only three. Rudy had visa issues and didn’t make it for the Dubai gig. Tony Dass on Bass.) Landed in Dubai International, that cavernous, ginomous, great big blue-grey bread-loaf of an airport. 39 degrees in the shade outside, and a happy 22 inside. Picked up by the good folks from Jump Media, Siobhan and Merwyn, and whisked off to the Arabian Park Hotel, an Olympic stone-throw from the Grand Hyatt. Rest of the day off to chill – and do Glaswegian (read: unplugged) rehearsals with the three-piece set up. Good grub at the hotel. Sure to be carrying a few extra pounds back!
Dubai is already on the familiar template of the 1st world. Big and clean and towering and fast and rich and so on. The heat, ah the heat. 40+ across noon – and you know, of course, they have a ski resort in Dubai. Yup, at a Mall (where else?). It boggles the imagination to think of all the kilojoules of energy pumped into keeping a vast indoor space at -1 degrees.
Soundcheck at Jimmy Dix, 3ish. Met our engineer, Tim. Really good man, all round. Just the three of us, so pretty uncomplicated. We’re set in a short while and use the time to squeeze in some practice. Tony is impressive as ever on bass as well. Missing Rudy like mad, but I guess we’ll pull through this gig somehow.
Place is filling up and by around 10pm we’re good to go. Kick off with Look At Me – and with the roar that comes at the end of that, we know we’re on to a good thing here. Gave it all we had, and really had a ball. Sold some CDs too. Quite a few old compadres from Bangalore, and Tony, being the proper mallu boy born in Dubai, had a bunch of short-pants cronies rooting away. Really really good gig overall. Sound was spot on, the ‘thermalized’ covers really got the crowd, and most of all, our own material was so well received. Heartening, me hearties! New song Simply Be had a bunch of guys dancing around. Couldn’t really do Holy Jose and HCIGYG without Rzu. Damn! But was still a good gig. Would have been SO MUCH better with Rzu. Well. Next time! Tony did a great job filling in on bass – considering he had exactly one day to learn up all the parts. Kudos Tonykutta.
Day off again on the 21st, spent mostly being mallrats and hogs. Malls – well, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen themall, even with ski resorts. Ate some fiery stuff at Nando’s for dinner that burnt off some stomach linings for sure. The oval office was rather busy the next morning…
Bahrain airport – held up at customs. Some usual protocol for bringing musical instruments in. Rzu in already – came in the morning. So he’s in now, and we’re stuck! What a scene. Takes two hours and 3 grand in phone calls to sort things out – but all well. Bahrain venue Likwid much smaller, and Tim makes the best of the sound. Good to back full on too! Very tired before gig though – all the waiting around, lack of sleep, etc.
Walk in as our opening act for the night, The Dilmum Dixielanders, go through some old-time dixieland standards, full eight-piece and all. Cool! Get on at about half ten, and it’s another good night! Lots more countrymen from God’s own.
Most of the next day spent sleeping – flight back 2240. Almost don’t make it on – flight overbooked – saved by a kindly official who seemed to like our honest faces! Usual duty free splurging and long red-eye flight later, we’re back.
Here’s a big thank you to all the folks at Jump Media for making this happen, (along with a couple of other distinguished gentlemen called Jack and Bud). Lets hope it’ll happen again soon! Cheerio.