Rock shows, which require the most extensive rehearsals.

Blazer

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"Good luck everybody!"
- "Haven't I worked you hard enough already?"
"Uh yeah! You worked us pretty much to death here!"
- "Then you should know that there's no luck involved in pulling off a good show!"

An exchange between Levi Cesar Junior and Prince as they both were about to go on and play the first show of the "Sign O' the times" tour in 1987.

Yeah, Prince was known for being a ruthless control freak and a stickler for detail. He'd watch dress rehearsals for his own shows from a distance to get the audience' point of view and with a live mic would send over directions to the band on stage. Those rehearsals would easily last all day.

This clip at 7:20 showcases what Wendy Melvoin said was the most difficult thing about a Prince show to master. Prince would at random moments hold fingers in the air to signal to the band how many breaks he wanted them to play. It meant that you had to be on the ball all of the time.

And then there's THESE guys.

According to Paul's book, behind the make up, it was stage manager Sean DeLaney who came up with the swing the guitars up simultaneously routine when he noted the guys doing so in one particular rehearsal. Which was nothing more than a spur of the moment. And it was little moments like that that kick-started the production of a Kiss show.

It's also the reason why Kiss is still doing dress rehearsals before each show, timing is everything at those shows and every venue is different. So when one of the guys starts to disregard that tightly rehearsed time slot, it's curtain call for him, as this clip showcases.

Again in his book, Paul recalls that after that show, he nearly came to blows with Vinnie when the latter wasn't too happy with having his solo interrupted.

So which acts do you think need the most rehearsal time?
 
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nojazzhere

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"Good luck everybody!"
- "Haven't I worked you hard enough already?"
"Uh yeah! You worked us pretty much to death here!"
- "Then you should know that there's no luck involved in pulling off a good show!"

An exchange between Levi Cesar Junior and Prince as they both were about to go on and play the first show of the "Sign O' the times" tour in 1987.

Yeah, Prince was known for being a ruthless control freak and a stickler for detail. He'd watch dress rehearsals for his own shows from a distance to get the audience' point of view and with a live mic would send over directions to the band on stage. Those rehearsals would easily last all day.

This clip at 7:20 showcases what Wendy Melvoin said was the most difficult thing about a Prince show to master. Prince would at random moments hold fingers in the air to signal to the band how many breaks he wanted them to play. It meant that you had to be on the ball all of the time.

And then there's THESE guys.

According to Paul's book, behind the make up, it was stage manager Sean DeLaney who came up with the swing the guitars up simultaneously routine when he noted the guys doing so in one particular rehearsal. Which was nothing more than a spur of the moment. And it was little moments like that that kick-started the production of a Kiss show.

It's also the reason why Kiss is still doing dress rehearsals before each show, timing is everything at those shows and every venue is different. So when one of the guys starts to disregard that tightly rehearsed time slot, it's curtain call for him, as this clip showcases.

Again in his book, Paul recalls that after that show, he nearly came to blows with Vinnie when the latter wasn't too happy with having his solo interrupted.

So which acts do you think need the most rehearsal time?

What some even good musicians don't realize, is that being well rehearsed and "flawless" makes little moments of serendipity and improvisation even easier than otherwise. One example.....U2 obviously has to be well prepared, because much of their music is played to pre-recorded backing tracks, so there's little room for deviation.....but I've watched MANY live videos of theirs, and it becomes obvious there's a lot of (mostly) visual communication between them, particularly Bono and Larry Mullen, Jr. I've witnessed a couple of times that Bono decides to hold a sustained note longer than normal, and Larry is watching, and anticipating, when he will want to bring the band back in. On one such occasion, Bono is seen shooting a quick glance of appreciation at Larry, almost like he's saying, "Thanks......you saved our butts back there."
It's been said MANY times before (and I adhere to this principle) "You don't practice something until you get it right.....you practice it until you CAN'T get it wrong." :)
 

buster poser

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Said it before but KISS is far and away the worst live band I have ever seen. They sounded like they practiced their sophomoric stage banter and not much more.

Prince's studio output was some Steely Dan-level complicated, he improvised a lot live, needed a band to keep up. Ditto Bruce as above, Bob Wills, any number of other great bandleaders who expected pros to be on their game. Making complicated music sound unforced and natural takes practice.

Playing "Heaven's On Fire" while making sure you're in the right spot for the pyro or stopping your 5 minute meedlymeedlywank in time for the next number is something different. Probably they just fired Vinnie owing to that nonsense of a "solo." What is even happening there.
 

Blazer

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Said it before but KISS is far and away the worst live band I have ever seen. They sounded like they practiced their sophomoric stage banter and not much more.

Take it from somebody who played that kind of songs, there's more to it than people gave them credit for. Try writing a simple Rock N Roll song which doesn't sound contrived, it's actually more difficult than you'd think.

As for the shows themselves. Look at the logistics which come with doing a tour:
- You have to hire truckers to move the entire thing from city to city during the tour
- You have to hire a crew to build the stage
- You have to hire sound crew to make sure the shows sound good every night
- You have to hire special effects people to make sure the pyrotechnics of a show will work as they should every single night. (Certainly for a band like Kiss, that's their bread and butter right there.)
- You have to hire promoters to make sure the venues can be booked.
AND
- You have to make sure that every single one of those people hired is insured, because should a calamity happen to that said person, medical bills would be taken care off by the insurance company.

So every single member of the tour crew (Which includes the band members themselves) has to sign a contract which in return means:
- That they will be insured during that said tour.
- Will receive proper payment for their services for the full duration of that tour.
- Will be properly taken care of, have a bed to sleep in and enough to eat during the tour.

Playing "Heaven's On Fire" while making sure you're in the right spot for the pyro or stopping your 5 minute meedlymeedlywank in time for the next number is something different. Probably they just fired Vinnie owing to that nonsense of a "solo." What is even happening there.


Go back to that list I just posted, as Paul says here, Vinnie refused to renew his contract so all those rules the management imposed wouldn't apply to him. BUT that also meant that the band was basically touring with an uninsured employee and basically had to pay for hotel stays out of their own pocket.

AND as Vinnie found out later, it also meant that he got no royalties from the songs he co-wrote for the "Creatures of the night" and "Lick it up" albums. He sued the band twice, but the management always showed the judge the paperwork.

Prince's studio output was some Steely Dan-level complicated, he improvised a lot live, needed a band to keep up. Ditto Bruce as above, Bob Wills, any number of other great bandleaders who expected pros to be on their game. Making complicated music sound unforced and natural takes practice.


Another guy who only wanted the most technically gifted musicians he could hire was Frank Zappa. And here's Steve Vai recounting how even sickness couldn't keep him from having to play a Zappa show.

Perhaps because the music was as technical as it was, Vai pulled it off.
 

buster poser

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Yeah, I'm not saying rehearsal or technical chops makes something bad at all, just didn't seem like KISS practiced much but preening and "comedy" bits, e.g., the Love Gun intro (ugh) and an extended monologue about Michael Jackson's "Beat It" (in January '85, hilarious and timely!).

I'm obviously in the minority here, Paul and Gene have been doing it in front of gazillions of adoring fans since I was in kindergarten, but I spent a long time waiting to see them only to see a very new Queensryche (also extremely practiced) blow them off stage. I was 14, didn't take much to impress me back then, we had front row besides. Not great.
 

Blazer

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Yeah, I'm not saying rehearsal or technical chops makes something bad at all, just didn't seem like KISS practiced much but preening and "comedy" bits, e.g., the Love Gun intro (ugh) and an extended monologue about Michael Jackson's "Beat It" (in January '85, hilarious and timely!).

I'm obviously in the minority here, Paul and Gene have been doing it in front of gazillions of adoring fans since I was in kindergarten, but I spent a long time waiting to see them only to see a very new Queensryche (also extremely practiced) blow them off stage. I was 14, didn't take much to impress me back then, we had front row besides. Not great.
And Kiss back then wasn't at their best either. They devolved into a run-of-the-mill hair metal band.


Gene Simmons now says about that period that he "Wasn't home."
 

TheFuzzDog

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Again in his book, Paul recalls that after that show, he nearly came to blows with Vinnie when the latter wasn't too happy with having his solo interrupted.

So which acts do you think need the most rehearsal time?

Thank the lord below that he interrupted that several minutes of VV imitating a bunch of broken industrial equipment. Of course, what followed was hardly better.
 

Blazer

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Thank the lord below that he interrupted that several minutes of VV imitating a bunch of broken industrial equipment. Of course, what followed was hardly better.
"I went to a performance of Chick Corea's acoustic band and John Pattitucci was playing those blisteringly fast runs on his upright bass. Afterwards he came up to me and said, "Sting, you've been such a major influence on my playing with all the space you leave." at which I told him that I didn't really notice."
- Sting.

I never liked those players who pump out notes for the sake of pumping out notes. It's for that same reason why players such as Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai and Randy Rhoads were so much more interesting to listen to than for example Michael Angelo Batio or Vinnie Vincent.

One of the guys whose music I discovered thanks to the advent of Youtube was Frank Gambale and what he's doing still blows my mind.
 

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In this performance with Ceelo, I've watched with amazement the nods and signals that Prince gives the band during his performance.
He owns the stage without overshadowing the song.
 

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When the Gilmour-led version of Pink Floyd set out for their lengthy tour starting in 1987, there were some initial rehearsal problems, as Mark Blake describes in his 2007 book, Pigs Might Fly:

The band had hired a hangar at [Toronto's] Lester B. Pearson airport in which to rehearse, but there was a noticeable lack of discipline. ‘The Pink Floyd bass gig is not the most difficult one in the world,’ says Guy [Pratt], ‘but Nick hadn’t played the drums for years, Rick hadn’t done anything for years, and David didn’t seem to really like being in charge that much.’

‘It was a disaster,’ admits [second guitarist] Tim Renwick. ‘Nobody could remember how to play anything. It was all so disparate.’

But Gilmour knew whom to call.

‘David rang me in August, and they were due to open in October,’ remembers Bob Ezrin. ‘He said, “Bob, in my usual inimitable style, I never fail to try and do these things on my own and, as always, I realise I need help. Can you come and help me?”’ he laughs. ‘I found the show to be in some disarray. The problem was there was no producer or director on stage, and David was busy working out which guitar to play. He couldn’t do all this other stuff. There was no sense of flow to the show, the setlist needed rearranging …’

Ezrin took charge, viewing proceedings from in front of the stage and communicating with the motley crew via a megaphone.

‘Bob really started knocking us into shape,’ says Renwick. ‘Jack-booting around this aircraft hangar, shouting orders, being very loud and demonstrative. One of the first things he did was make sure that if you weren’t playing, you couldn’t be seen loitering on stage; you were blacked out, or offstage.’ Ezrin would remain with the tour until ‘the baby was walking and I could go back to making some money in my own career’.
It clearly worked -- they were extremely tight when I saw them twice on that tour, and all of their lasers, films, and props (such as pigs and spitfires on guy-wires running the length of the stadium) were perfectly synchronized.
 

Blazer

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When the Gilmour-led version of Pink Floyd set out for their lengthy tour starting in 1987, there were some initial rehearsal problems, as Mark Blake describes in his 2007 book, Pigs Might Fly:


It clearly worked -- they were extremely tight when I saw them twice on that tour, and all of their lasers, films, and props (such as pigs and spitfires on guy-wires running the length of the stadium) were perfectly synchronized.
Paul Stanley of Kiss also has that vision of Ezrin being a drill sergeant, whipping the band into shape when they recorded “Destroyer”


It sure paid off though.
 

Matt Sarad

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I believe in woodshedding.
Our singer had to memorize 3 45 minute sets of lyrics.
My brother was writing songs for the blues band.
I composed 30 minutes of songs for a NYE Eve opening gig and wrote out charts for the sax player.
After a few rehearsals that were not good I asked the bassist if he was practicing at home.
"A little bit"

He was told to leave in not so polite terms and I
Dissolved the band.
 

Marc Morfei

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I was just listening to a podcast about James Brown, and what a brutally strict band leader he was. They rehearsed to death, he would fine everyone for the slightest mistake, and they had tons of stage cues (hand gestures, code words, etc.) to signal all kinds of musical directions. As someone posted above, it made "spontaneous" moments come off perfectly.
 
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Blazer

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I was just listening to a podcast about James Brown, and what a brutally strict band leader he was. They rehearsed to death, he would fine everyone for the slightest mistake, and they had tons of stage cues (hand gestures, code words, etc.) to signal all kinds of musical directions. As someone posted above, it made "spontaneous" moments come of perfectly.
George Clinton said that when Bootsy Collins joined Parliament/ Funkadelic, he also brought in the discipline that having played with James Brown had taught him. Clinton's sound because a hell of a lot tighter with Bootsy in the ranks.


Yeah, this sounds like they were jamming away, but pay closer attention, and you'll find that that is NOT the case, they rehearsed this to death.
 




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