August 3, 2011

Liblog: USA Tour 2011 - Part One

Good morning/afternoon/evening etc., wherever it is you are right now. And welcome to the Libera Summer 2011 US Tour blog! Here, as you know, we give you all the behind-the-scenes details you don’t usually get to hear about. So do tuck in to the glorious feast of words that shall now be laid before you, on this, the sweeping buffet of the Internet.
On Friday 22nd July, at about 10:30 in the morning, the coach left for Heathrow airport, a buzz of growing anticipation aboard it. Two plane journeys later, and we were in Minnesota. It was very late in the evening when we arrived at the hotel and were tucked up in bed soon after. The next day, we had some rehearsals to do.
The tour had begun!

First, we had a trip to the Cathedral in St. Paul (not ‘St. Paul’s Cathedral’, as was the basis of much confusion for us London boys), a beautiful building where we were to sing at morning mass the next day and perform our concert on Friday. This was when we first realised just what a sweltering pit of heat we had walked into, by scheduling a tour in the mid-West during something of a heat wave; the church was like a furnace. Fortunately, some fans were bought, to our great relief.

From there we went to the venue for the Starkey Foundation Gala concert, where we would also be performing on Sunday. While we were there, we were fortunate enough to see Miley Cyrus rehearsing and we got a look at the masses of items up for auction for the charity – some had starting prices in the six-figure region!

That evening, we took a trip to the Science Museum where we watched a film about King Tut. The screen was absolutely ginormous, so that there was nothing that could possibly distract you from the action. On Sunday, the mass at the Cathedral went very well, as did the Starkey event. We saw loads of famous faces; Jon Rich (with whom we performed), Whoopi Goldberg and Bill Clinton were among them. Not to mention Miley Cyrus, who had a photo with us in our dressing room, and took us on in a round of Top Trumps of all the famous people we’d met… (or not. She would have won anyway)

For the next two days, we stayed at Maddens Resort taking a short break… before we’d even done our first concert! It was great fun though. There we played tennis, croquet, basketball, football, badminton, volleyball and darts, essentially burning off all the weight we would put on though eating at the numerous buffets, as is customary on tour. Overnight we happened to be at what seemed like the centre of a thunderstorm, just for added entertainment before we departed.
On the Wednesday we returned to our first hotel, and performed at the Basilica, St. Mary’s. The concert was great, and it was a relief to get the tour off to a good start. The next day we took a trip down the Mississippi and got to have a good rest before the next day’s concert. In the evening we had a swim in the hotel pool, which was very refreshing. One concert, down five more to go. The mid-West (which could easily be titled the mid-East too) would be our home for the next two more weeks!