...And Then There Were Nine... ..In Budapest on the 28th!
....And Then There Were Nine...
"It's a fuzz guitar sound!"
exclaimed Mike almost one hour after the full-set rehearsal in Budapest on
the 28th had ended while he had been relentlessly playing a few chords form
Turn it on again and I can't dance in order to fix one of his on-stage
monitors that kept sounding distorted to him...
And then there were nine...
who were apparently the only people in the hall who didn't have any business
with the event (like roadies, management etc.). These nine were three
Hungarians who said they had attended the brief promo TV appearance for CAS
Genesis had had in Budapest a while ago and on that occasion had secured
their admittance to this rehearsal.
The other six were us Paperlaters! Duncan and Lisa Philips from London, Tom
Oastler from Atlanta, and of course the two 'without whom' from Budapest,
Zoltan Sessler and Tibor Molnar!
Without Tibor and Zoltan it wouldn't have been half the fun and ease for us
foreigners to make the trip to Budapest at all! We were all staying at the
same hotel, strategically situated just two subway stops from the Sportshall
were it all happened.
The crazy thing about our attending the rehearsal was that we were informed
only as late as Monday the 26th about the fact that a full-set rehearsal
would take place the night before the first show!
That was because it was on this Monday that Tibor got a call from the
manager of the local "Multimedia Concerts" agency (which is responsible for
this gig) that we were invited to attend this rehearsal.
I had originally asked Tibor if he could do anything to try to get us
admitted to the soundcheck in the hours before the show on the 29th. (Of
course at that time we had no idea they would do another full-set
rehearsal!) I suggested he should write something to the effect that the
official Paperlate delegation was coming to Budapest and would like to meet
the band and attend the soundcheck.
So Tibor sent a fax to Multimedia Concerts with our names on it requesting
admittance to the soundcheck - he even created a new Paperlate logo for this
occasion! (soon to be found on my site)
Naturally, he wasn't very optimistic about any reply, but then it did come!
And what a reply it was! Another whole show! So all of a sudden Duncan &
Lisa and myself had to come a day earlier than planned. Fortunately, we
didn't have any problems rescheduling our flight/train trips and with a
little help from our friends Zoltan and Tibor the hotel reservations were
taken care of as well. Unfortunately, Uli Fries, who was coming as well,
wasn't able to come a day sooner. (Tom had planned to come on Wednesday
So there we were, arriving on Wednesday morning and afternoon and meeting
all at our hotel. When Duncan and Lisa arrived they already had to tell us
an amazing experience they had just had: they were on the same plane from
London to Budapest with Genesis!!! So they met the guys at the Budapest
airport checking out of customs!
In late afternoon we had dinner and then met again with Zoltan and Tibor to
take the subway to the hall. We arrived there around 7.40 p.m. and now we
had to find the backstage entrance. So we walked around the round building
and who did we see from outside in a small room? Tony! Only from behind but
now we knew we were certainly at the right place at the right time! We then
walked further round the hall until we finally found the right door - it was
open, so we walked in and Tibor exchanged a few words with the guards...
and we were inside!
walking right inside the hall we first were faced with a huge black curtain
hanging from the ceiling of the hall; it separated the rear unused third of
the hall from the front two thirds. Anyway, we walked in front of the
curtain and there it was - the stage, the empty floor, and the mixing and
lightning desk. No journalists, no press, nothing else! So everything was
set up for our 'private' concert!
There wasn't too much activity on the stage, just the occasional technician
checking something. But just a few minutes later Tony Smith came passing by
our group and soon afterwards, Tony stood in the mixing desk area so I went
right up to him and showed him my self-created Genesis t-shirt with the logo
of my website and without me getting a chance to actually ask him to sign it
he had already proceeded to lay it down, took my pen and there was my first
autograph! I got my other four autographs one by one after the show as well
At 20.30 everybody had arrived on the stage and the show started!
The sound was crisp and clear and the bass drums were thumping like hell - I
guess the floor of the hall was vibrating in tune. At times we were sitting
on the floor so the bass drums made my whole body heavily vibrate,
especially during The Last Domino. Sometimes, though, the trebles seemed a
bit too harsh, apparently because they weren't slightly dampened as usual by
thousands of people in the hall.
They went straight through the set, with no pauses and almost no talking
between the songs; there weren't any major technical or artistic problems,
it was obvious that they had done all the necessary rehearsing already.
Obviously the applause after the songs was a bit 'lame', given there were
only nine people that were clapping their hands! Once or twice Ray did show
that he noticed us, especially during I Can't Dance, when he had a good
laugh at the sight of us doing "The Walk"!
The light show was as good as ever, with all sorts of different colors
coming from behind, underneath and the front. The floor of the stage is
actually transparent and does look like you can see it on the video
animation. But in the back there were no screens (they will only be used in
the larger venues) just black as well as white curtains on which some ligth
and color patterns were projected.
During Mama e.g. everything was in intensive red, of course Ray being lit
from below during the laugh, but the background had such an intensive and
clear red projected onto a white curtain that I was reminded of the Selling
England stage set!
My god, what a difference this was compared to me sitting at the very back
of the soccer stadium in Cologne in 1992 for the WCD tour getting crappy
sound from the front!
Now, the main difference to the following night was the audience
interaction - obviously Ray did some chatting and talking between some of
the songs on the 29th, as described by Uli earlier today.
I would say that Ray is indeed finding his own style!
The atmosphere among the audience as well as the relation between audience
and band was quite enthusiastic and intense indeed. During the acoustic set
I came walking from the back as close to the stage as possible (which was
maybe a distance of 5 meters only) and I actually experienced something like
a club atmosphere! Was it like this in the seventies? I guess we were
enjoying the positive consequences of Genesis' now reduced popularity.
After our second concert we returned to the hotel to say goodbye to each
other; on this occasion Tibor passed a letter around he was about to send to
the manager of Multimedia Concerts thanking him to make the rehearsal
possible for us and we all signed it and added our own brief comments.
I wrote: "It was the experience of my lifetime!"