Michael Fuller writes: Today is the final day of our German tour...over the weekend we've been crisscrossing up and down the country, going from Stuttgart to Bremen to Mannheim and finally to Essen. Those who have a knowledge of German geography will realize that these cities are all in very different parts of the country! Planning tours like this is extremely complicated logistically, and trying to coordinate the schedules of orchestra, conductor, soloists and venues is a tricky business. In a relatively small country like Germany, all these places are only a few hours apart, so they can easily be reached in a day's travel.
I've discovered that every tour has a certain arc to it, and it does seem like people are starting to feel a little burnt out. The succession of trains, coaches, hotels and concert halls begins to become a blur. Each day has its ups and downs as well, more than when you're at home. I have to say, at the concert in Bremen I hit a low point. I was feeling energetic before the show, but as we took the stage for Mahler 1 and I realized just how cramped the stage was going to be, my mood started to drop. I knew that I was going to be in for a loud evening. It was also very hot onstage, as it has been for many of these concerts. I tried putting up an acoustic screen, but Simon and Matt pointed out to me that it would be too low to offer any aural protection anyways! That combined with my general tired state and a backstage area that was difficult to manoeuvre in got me in a properly foul mood.
The funny thing is, that performance went really well! When the audience rose to give a standing ovation I realized that I had just been sulking in my own little world and it really didn't have any relation to what was going on around me. It's probably good to be reminded that the success of a performance doesn't have all that much to do with how I'm personally feeling. The important thing is to play the music as well as you possibly can, after that it's for the audience to experience. After the concert I joined my buddies in the bass section for a beer in the town square by the concert hall. It was a beautiful spring evening and there was no better therapy than to sit outside with good friends and have a laugh about all that had transpired during the day. Their positive energy and sense of humour always makes the tough parts of this gig so much easier...cheers to you, bass guys!