The Trick of the Light tour was simply the weirdest tour that ever happened. We would turn up in a city chosen at random, announce a venue and appear that evening in front of an unbelieving crowd. The entourage then moved on and repeated the process a few days later in another city. The organisation and logistics were challenging to say the least. Sometimes we stayed in fans homes because hotels couldn't be booked in time. Sometimes we slept in the trucks used to transport the equipment. Some nights we even camped out and slept under the stars.
But one thing for sure, it was exciting and a huge amount of fun. When venues couldn't be arranged,we put on free shows in abandoned commercial buildings or on derelict land and parking lots. A couple of times we were actually arrested for trespassing and contravening health and safety regulations. So at times it got a bit scary, but it was fantastic to be part of the experience - reminiscent of the hippie days of the 1960's and a real rock and roll road show.
"We're heading for the stars tonight
We're never coming back"
The Endless City
"The City is endless to the edges of the world. West and east, north and south, unbroken, the City goes on, long arterial highways spreading into streets and boulevards, nourishing the buildings that are born and age and die. It has always been this way; it must always be this way, the City of and for itself, the silent lives of empty rooms." Paul Rodriguez
We were due to appear at the university that night, but the organisers cancelled at the last minute because of some bad publicity in a local newspaper and pressure from governing officials. All lies, of course. It's madness the number of times we've been blacklisted just because we won't conform and toe the line. We still had to travel there anyway since I'd booked hotel rooms for two nights. When we drove by the venue, we saw that people were queuing because they didn't know the gig had been cancelled. So we unloaded our gear on some waste ground a couple of blocks away, fired up the generators and just started playing. It was a lovely warm summer night and hundreds of people gathered around and we were all having a great time until the police and security staff arrived. The crowd had spilled out onto the road and were holding up the city traffic. Of course, I didn't want anyone to get hurt and I certainly didn't want to get arrested again, so I agreed to stop playing and pack up.
Lots of people followed us back to the hotel and joined us in the bar. The place was heaving and we did an impromptu acoustic performance. The manager was delighted to hear the tills continually ringing until the early hours. The hotel had a large function room and he offered to waive our hotel bill if we did a show the following night. Always ready to oblige, we did just that and had another fantastic evening. As a gesture of goodwill for any inconvenience we'd caused, I held a raffle for one of my guitars and donated the money to a local children's hospital.
Unfortunately, we got even more bad publicity from the local press for the previous night. They wrote an article in which they claimed we were 'reckless and irresponsible' to appear in a public place without permission and endanger people's safety. No matter what we do, we can't seem to win with the authorities. Anyone else would have sued the hell out of the university for breach of contract, but that's hardly my style and definitely not in the spirit of the tour.
Living In This City Copyright (c) Steve Nielson All Rights Reserved