I’m writing from my favorite place to write … on a flight. I’m on my round-trip/return flight to the US. We’ve been on the road for seven weeks: one week in Japan and South Korea, four weeks on tour with Michael Bublé in Australia, one week in New Zealand touring with MB and by ourselves and then back to Australia by ourselves.
All in all it has been very good with sold out shows everywhere. We added a new country to our list with New Zealand. We spent most of our time in Auckland and will have to visit further south next time when we return. It is a very beautiful country. We had a few days off and some us went sailing, fishing, golfing and exploring.
About two weeks before our solo date, our management and promoter considered canceling our solo show because it wasn’t selling well due to so few people knowing who we are in NZ. Our managers decided to go for it citing that we do not know when we’ll be back to try again. Our two Bublé shows fell on Wednesday and Thursday and it didn’t give people much time to clear their schedules for our show that Saturday night. But we went forward in faith and did quite a lot of promo on radio and TV.
By Friday night the 1000-seater venue was sold out. We assumed that 95% of the audience had seen us either Wednesday or Thursday, but this turned out to be false. One specific radio show on The Breeze and the TV interviews seemed to be responsible for about 50% of the audience. So now New Zealand will also be part of the N7 future when touring on that part of the globe.
Naturally 7 perform for Brian Kelly – Coast TV
One of the bigger challenges on this tour was we did several of our early solo shows in Japan and South Korea without Polo who wasn’t able to make it until we got to Australia. Our former singer Jamal (who was replaced by Polo) came to our aide with less than 24 hours’ notice. We’ll be eternally grateful for that. We hadn’t performed with Jamal in over three years so it was a nice reminder of his contribution to the N7 legacy and we were all blown away AGAIN by vocal range as he soared to heights only he could do! It was just like getting into a time machine and hitting the stage.
Unfortunately, he was only able to stay in South Korea. This left us in Japan with only the six of us. This meant a lot of switching around of parts to be able to do full shows. I will say that this was a disappointment and somewhat of a treat to the audience who got to see some things they may never see again. If you are a person who knows our material well and knows who does what, it might have truly entertained you to see someone else do it.
For example; during “Wall of Sound” Rod is the ring master and turns everyone on and off. This was changed to Warren turning everyone on and off and then asking the audience if he could join us with his drumming. That worked so well, that we almost considered keeping it that way (almost). This type of switcharoo took place in nearly all songs and was quite challenging for our voices to rehearse and then be prepared for two shows per night. But God is good and all went well.
We even had a double visit from David Lee Roth (Van Halen) who lives in Tokyo and told he has all of our material. Had a nice chat with him backstage where he shared quite a few golden nuggets about his experiences in the music business and life in general. He broke into song to our surprise (“Happy”) and we gave him a little impromptu back up (YouTube). Hilarious in every way and truly helped to make the day a lot lighter than it was.
Once we got to Australia, we got back to the business of “7” on a stage … a number we all welcome! Michael told us within a few days that he wanted to add a new song for the B-stage so we added “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by The Temptations, a favorite of his Dad’s who was at every show (along with his mother, wife and son). The song really works well. We figured Michael was replacing “I Want You Back” (The Jackson 5) but now we do one or the other. The funny thing is; we never know which it is until he decides right there on the stage which is the way I think he likes to do it :-).
While in Sydney we hung out with our friends “The Idea of North” who are not just a great a cappella group but are also chefs! We had an extraordinary dinner night out away from our hotel rooms. Just what the doctor ordered to rejuvenate the nine of us (N7, Chris our Road Manager and James our engineer) for the last week on the road!
Every now and then we’ll actually do something for enjoyment with all the N7 band and crew. This time it was going to see Lauryn Hill at the Sydney Opera House. We all enjoyed the show because we are big fans, and we also had a chance to meet her backstage after the show. She was extremely nice to us and we decided to serenade her with a tune (taking advantage that we had all 7…why not?). How did it go? Something tells me we’ll be seeing a little more of Ms. Hill soon :-)
How those tickets came about was…the night before, we all ate (except Dwight) at the Hard Rock Cafe as guests and then a few of us got on the stage because it was open mic night. Later that night, Yvette, an Australian friend of ours (she has a radio show in Sydney) invited us down to a club (can’t remember the name) where they have serious jam sessions on Monday nights.
There we met Lauryn’s band and background singers who absolutely tore the place apart. In fact, every singer and musician who were down there really made the night special. We finally gave into the pressure and joined Polo on stage who had already sung two songs. We sang “Open Your Eyes” by Bobby Caldwell. A song we’ve never performed before, but I think it came off nice as we made it up as we went.
Well as you can see, I could go on and on and on. It’s Naturally 7 and there’s no day without a story in it. That’s the truth! I’ll just have to start writing or doing video RT’s more often so I don’t go so long! Sorry about that, but I always have so much to tell you.
My last thought…
It was certainly nice to see the shows all sold out in each city, ending the tour in Melbourne with two shows in one day with almost 3000 people in attendance.
Now I’m two hours away from Los Angeles and just a little closer to home. It’s almost safe to start thinking about the place I love most and that’s wherever my family is!
I get two weeks with them before embarking on the next adventure which I’ll tell you about in the next episode :-)
For now, keep the glass of life half full and you’ll notice that you can drink from it and still keep it on the full side :-)
Roger, over and out.