We all got the email on Wednesday night – “We might confirm this gig in the United Arab Emirates, but it’s next week, so check your calendars and keep it in mind.” We got another email Thursday morning – “We are booked to go to the UAE. Get back to me asap.” What???
Maz, Joe, Jimmy and I left on Tuesday afternoon after a weekend of panicked packing and schedule rearranging. But hey, it’s not everyday that you get to pick up and fly away to the other side of the world to play some Taiko. It only took 16 hours to get there on our awesome Emirates double decker air bus. I think I watched 3 movies and had some of the best airplane food I’ve ever had.
Once there, the Dubai International Airport was a breeze. We even saw Paris Hilton, her body guard and her (less famous) traveling companion. The drive from Dubai to Al Ain (which is in Abu Dhabi) was filled with back-seat rehearsal time! Never stop working, people. We were greeted with juice and smiles at the Hilton Al Ain. Dinner that night? – Japanese food at one of the Hilton’s many eateries!
Suffice it to say, sleep that night was glorious. The next morning, we met Miss Hannah, our mother duckling for the rest of the trip. She was absolutely amazing and really easy to work with. The first day was a full drum unpacking and rehearsal day. We met Natalie and the rest of the People at the Al Ain football stadium. The production company had such great ideas and we had the honor of being included in all of them. Thanks, People! And thanks for keeping us hydrated. I’ve never had so much water in a span of 5 days ever. Woot! New personal best!
Later on Thursday, the Kagemusha folks arrived and got straight to work! Thanks for coming, guys! Guy, Kate, Ben and Michael were a blast to hang out with and perform with. I would do it again in a heartbeat. And while I’m at it – Thank you to Asano Taiko US for shipping drums to Al Ain for us to use! They sounded amazing as always.
Friday was another day of rehearsals and drum moving strategizing, including a full dress rehearsal that night. The crew was so great and so careful with the equipment. They really worked hard for us. The sound crew was amazing as well. A mic was carefully strapped to each drum and finely tuned according to each player’s striking volume. The extra-amplified hits sounded really powerful in that stadium.
Saturday was game day. The Al Ain football club already had the title. This was their last game. We were part of the post-game celebration and trophy presentation. The trophy was brought in to the stadium from the sky via sky divers, by the way. So cool!!! I must say that the show was pretty epic! We even got blasted from behind by streamers that we didn’t even know were going off, so it was a super surprise for all of us! Continue to scroll down for pictures of the trip.
More pictures and videos will come in a following post. Thanks for reading!