Megastar Muso Masterclass– The Gov Thursday 12 July 2018.
Words Geoff Jenke
For four nights, Pink is the centre of attention in Adelaide, but for one night at The Gov it’s the players behind her that get all the accolades. Most of these members of Pink’s band have played with her since 2003, but individually they have also played with the likes of Billy Idol, Stevie Nicks, Simple Minds, Cher, Velvet Revolver and have also been in The Voice (USA) backing band. When the worlds most iconic artist tour the globe, they chose the best musicians to back them.
Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody blared out of the speakers and one by one the band members came out and joined in playing to the song. As they started playing the backing track to the instrument they were playing disappeared until it was just the band playing. A wonderful and innovative opening number. There was some technical issue with the keyboards but Jason Chapman got around it by switching to another keyboard.
An original instrumental came next in Easy Days and it was obvious the players were not just “going through the paces”. Drummer Mark Sculman had played for many years with Billy Idol and he gave us a few Billy Idol stories as well as a short powerful drum solo to a Billy Idol backing track. He then gave us an insight to his career and playing. Mark demonstrated playing the drums with and without passion. He told all the budding drummers in the audience not to “just play” but to “make every single note count”.
Eva Gardner just doesn’t play bass, she is also a good songwriter. Love Coma, written by Eva, was full on and powerful. It was then her turn to tell her story, how she auditioned for The Voice (USA) band but was rejected only to get a call two years later from Pink management asking her to audition. She got that one. Her advice was to always make every gig, every audition count, you never know what will happen in the future.
The guitar instrumental Boldly Going Know Where followed with Justin Derrico showing why he got the gig as Pink’s guitarist. The man is good. He told us behind the scene stories of working with The Voice (USA) and how they have to learn up to 200 songs in two weeks. He jokingly said touring with Pink is like a holiday compared to The Voice. Then we learn he still practices for hours a day, even though he knows the songs, striving for perfection.
The band kicked into what was meant to be a lullaby for children, a song called Zade’s Playground, but turned into a lullaby on acid. It was certainly no sweet lullaby with heavy rock and jazz influences. Keyboardist and Pink’s Musical Director Jason Chapman told us his story of growing up in a house where no music was allowed. One day an old battered piano appeared in their basement and he taught himself to play. He has never had any musical training. Amazing what dedication can do. He also advised “be prepared” for any event that could go wrong, like tonight when his keyboard wasn’t working on the opening number. He could of just gave up but being the professional he is, he moved to the other keyboard and improvised even though it wasn’t the right one.
Another Eva Gardner original, Dirty Bird was played. It was edgy and punchy and it rocked. Backing singer for Pink, Adriana wasn’t on the original bill for this night but she told us when she found out about it, she decided it sounded like fun and “crashed the party”. Adriana is a qualified music teacher and a great singer. She decided when she was younger that music was going to be her life. She chased the dream until it became reality. She then gave everyone a lesson on singing in different keys, using Sia’s Chandelier as the example. She played three different versions (just a verse and chorus) with just keyboard, each in a different key, changing the sound of the song. Then the full band did a full version of the song to show how it can rock.
South Australian singer songwriter, Tony Ward, got the chance to air his new single She Knows Me with the band backing him. That must have been the biggest moment in his musical life. I am not sure how much practice went into the song by the band but it sounded great.
The first part of the evening closed with Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, which basically became a jam, giving each member a chance to strut their stuff.
A Q&A followed with questions from the audience directed at each member. We found out what it was like playing in front of 10,000 people then turning up at a pub gig like this and playing to 150. According to Justin, it can be scary as it is intimate and everyone know if you make a mistake. They can be hidden in a full arena. (I am sure he never makes mistakes!!).
Following the Q&A the band made themselves available for autographs, selfies and just to talk to. At times it was hard to believe that these guys are the ones I will be seeing on stage with Pink when I go see her. I have a feeling I may now be watching them more than Pink. They were so friendly and humble when we thanked them personally for doing this event.
Adelaide is the only place this is happening in Australia so congratulations to Pete Barter and SAMII for organising this event. The juggernaut playing across the road at the Ent Centre maybe all about Pink, but tonight we got to see the “engine room” behind her, which without them, the Pink show would not be the same.
A night of inspiring stories and great music.