Eventually the sound guys got both stages set up and ready to go. It was quite a cool system they had rigged up.
The stages were split into 2 halves. Both halves were on runners (or some other kind of remote control system) and it meant that when one band was playing on Stage A the next band could get ready on Stage B and they weren’t in the way.
I don’t remember the name of the first band who were to play, but they did seem to get a bit of a rough ride from the judges. It took them 3 or 4 takes just to get started (sound issues) then when they were finished we saw what kind of reaction we could expect from the judges.
A few of them went straight for the jugular. Nothing constructive, no complimentary comments, just ripped them apart. ” The guitar’s were too loud.” “Why did you need a second guitar player when he added nothing to the band/song?” “The vocalist looked as though he was thinking about something/anything else…” You get the drift?
To be honest, the first band gave it their best, but were maybe missing that wee spark, that bit of charisma that’ll set bands/artists apart, and that’s really what the judges were looking for. They left the stage looking a bit dejected, were interviewed a couple of times and all this was relayed back to the rock’n’roll shack on the TV’s there.
To be fair, the bands in the shack did shout, cheer and support the other bands which added to the bonhomie and good vibe of the day as a whole. We hung around, caught a few of the other acts, trying to gauge (or in my case understand) what the judges were saying to them when they were giving their critiques. We still had a bit to wait but at least the train was moving.
By this time, we were slowly but surely moving through the acts and we could see who we were up against and what styles they were playing. It really was a mixed bag. Thrash, Rock, Indie, New-Funk-Power-Pop-Fusion-With-No-Singer-But-Hey-That’s-OK to name just a few. However, what we did notice was that we didn’t really have any ‘rock’ judges in the panel. I don’t think it made a huge difference but it would have been nice having a ‘rocker’ in there somewhere.
What came as no real surprise was the quality of the musicianship we were seeing. There really was lot of talent out there, in all shapes, sizes, ages, and styles of playing. It was great to be a part of that and I really enjoyed seeing who we’d be competing against. In fact, Sam was being mobbed at one stage by quite a few students who he’d taught at one time or another. They were paying homage to the master before proceeding to kick his ass. Youngsters today…
So, we made our way to the stage. The wait was almost over, the rain was about to start , the sun had gone down and the band before us were just about to do their thing. We watched on from the sidelines.
What added to the surreality of the event was that when the band’s had finished their routine there was no applause, no cheers, nothing at all from the stage area. You could have heard a mouse fart when the band’s had finsihed. That was kinda weird.
They were then asked to make their way to the front of the stage where they’d be given the judge’s opinions and what they’d scored. We were up next.
We’d rehearsed the song, gotten it down to what we thought was a good time (about 3:30), and we gave it our best. There were one or two ‘dodgy’ bits that the judges may or may not have picked up on, but it wasn’t the worst take we’d ever done of the song. Maybe an 8/10?
See for yourself
We also got some nice pics from the TV footage. It’s true what they say, the camera does add 10lbs.
What you didn’t see was the 3rd judge give us 55/100. Go figure. He mumbled a few words (literally 2 or 3) then entered his score. Maybe he didn’t like the eye make-up?
So, we took a fairly healthy score of 292 home with us and waited to see what would happen next.
We pondered the possible outcomes over dinner. Would it be enough to make it to the Final 24? Why can one judge give you a score of 88 and another on the same panel give you 55? Would the judges have to bring the scores down for the remaining 2 days as they’d already set quite a high benchmark score on the first day?
We found out soon enough. 3 or 4 days after our audition we were informed that we’d missed the cut by about 30 points or so. It wasn’t quite enough to get us into the Final 24, but we’d come a long way in a short space of time.
Being the modest type, I didn’t really tell a lot of folks that I was participating in the show. But, quite a few times I’ve had folks come up to me and say they saw me on TV and that it was great. The best one being the receptionist at the doctor’s clinic a couple of weeks ago. Take it all in your stride…