August 12, 2011

Liblog: USA Tour 2011 - Part Four

Saturday we spent all day in our Four Seasons amazing hotel/spa place, which was apparently the sixth best resort in the whole of the U.S! Well, it might as well have been first, with all the facilities available: huge tennis courts, about four swimming pools, many squash and racquetball courts, and of course the gym. There were also some saunas and Jacuzzis to look forward to in addition to these delights. So we spent the whole day making what we could of these sporting areas of joy, and we made use of the luxurious, cooling swimming pools – although, the Jacuzzi was WAY too hot, so we almost blistered in it! But at least it made the outside normal temperature seem colder, if that’s even possible (outside was above 110oF). Anyway, after the conventional splash about in the pool, we prepared for dinner at another buffet-ish place, but it had really nice ice cream instead of the usual fake stuff you get in those places. We had to go to bed reasonably early because tomorrow’s start was at some unreasonable, ungodly hour…

Being 6:30am in the summer may be quite bright, however the dark bags under our eyes did not compliment this. The reason we were up so early was because we were due to go and join in two morning services at the Stonebriar Community Church. We had a break between the services for croissants and juice. Between the services we went and handed flyers out to people who were leaving to advertise our concert there in the evening. After the services we went to an old Libera favourite – Barnes and Noble.

However, one curious novelty was that we did not have our blue shirts with us; we had left our hotel wearing our robes, so we went shopping around the bookstore in our robes!
Many a surprised and questioning look was directed at us, and we were asked by loads of people why we were dressed the way we were. Hopefully that attracted some more people to come to the concert that night! Speaking of which, in the afternoon we had a sound check, as per usual, and then the performance an hour or so later.
An interesting feature of this church was that was rather theatre-like in appearance. So there was not a massive acoustic like in the basilica! However, the concert went very well. In fact, it is possible to say it was the best one of the tour so far! We had a signing afterwards, which is always fun – and many of us got to write on people’s phones or bags! That was rather a new thing, however the craze soon caught on!
The next day was a travel day, meaning that quite a lot of it was spent on the coach. Although, in the morning we used the pool and sports facilities again before we left.

Anyway, we arrived in Houston to a pleasant surprise: the Cracker Barrel for dinner. You know, we wish so much that they had that food chain back home. Anyway, as we approached our hotel, we found out Four Seasons also owned this one! What rapture and delight exceeded the boundaries of the coach cannot be described as we pulled up outside.Oh, happy day! Well, night, as by the time we checked in and got to the rooms (which were outstandingly lavish) we just went to sleep. Ah, how comfortable those beds were! As you can see, the stresses of touring are just more than a man can bear.
We had a concert on Tuesday, however in the morning we went to a science museum and saw many fossils and skeletons of prehistoric animals. It was very interesting. We learnt all about the Triassic, Jurassic and Crustaceous periods before mammalian life forms. But anyway, lest you become a fossil from listening to this boring gabble, let me inform you that we also saw a 3-D film about the development of sea creatures, from the early days to the extinction of dinosaurs (that’s 65million years ago, just in case you thought we weren’t paying attention). It was really cool, though whoever wrote the dialogue for the narrator should be locked up. It was drivel. Anywho, later on we went to the Tallowood Baptist Church to sing our final concert of the tour.

But before the performance, we had a look behind the scenes at what goes on. So we had a look at the lighting desk, and we were told all about what buttons do what to create that fantastic light display you see at out concerts. We also got to have a look at the microphone pickup-type thingumajigs, and the different wave frequencies for each separate microphone used on stage.Lastly we got to look at the sound-mixing desk, the biggest of them all, which is where all the sound levels are controlled. After that we prepared for the final concert of our third US tour. A sad and yet glorious moment. We said thanks to all our fans afterwards at the signing, and had to wave goodbye for the last time that tour. A perfect end to an exceedingly successful tour.
Wait, did you think it was over?! Just like that?! NO, we still have one more day to cover; our traveling day, our journey home! It actually started pretty dramatically – two rooms received wake-up calls from reception at absurd hours! They were Sammy and Jakob’s room, and also the room containing Liam, Josh and Sam. What was worse was that, at 6.30am, the latter room got dressed, had showers and everything, and went down to reception and waited for ages for the rest of the group! Then, with a horrible sinking feeling, they realised that they weren’t coming, because they weren’t awake yet! So they complained of this misfortune bitterly at reception, then went up to their floor again to catch some sleep before being woken up at the proper time. However, it was only a short amount of time before this actually happened. So after that bothersome escapade, we packed our suitcases for the last time and left our rooms. Then we boarded the coach and drove to the airport. The notoriety of the amazing security system at American Airports is well known amongst us Brits, however it wasn’t as bad as we expected it to be. We managed to get the whole ordeal over and done with in about a half hour. And so, after a short delay due to circumstances beyond our control (the plane was late) we boarded and began our flight to Dulles Airport, Washington D.C. Going back to the main story, that’s where I started writing this part of the blog. I’ll be adding to it, of course, as the day progresses, and I should finish by the time we get home. But for now I think I’ll go back to my Sherlock Holmes Collection (which I bought in beloved Barnes and Noble!)…