4-3-09 Delta Flight 125
I am heading out to California for the first gig of our new tour season. Our new record has had its first week of the world and everything feels in order. IG’s are playing at the Dinah Shore Golf Tournament, a first for us. We’re taking advantage of an early arrival and hunkering down in a dressing room for the day to practice our new material with Julie Wolf. Julie will be on board for the majority of our tour season on keys and accordion. This is especially exciting since out new record has so many important keyboard parts.
Emily and I have just finished a crazy run of promo shows and a trip out to Singapore to play The Mosaic Music festival. Singapore was a totally new experience, our very first Indigo Girls’ gig in Asia. I started the trip in grand fashion. As luck would have it, I ended up on a luxury airliner with all business class seats. Actually they were more like cubicles. I could have been happy flying twice as long as the 18-hour journey just to take advantage of the quiet time and space. hmmmm ahhhhh…and the service. I think I am officially spoiled by Singapore Airlines.
Me on the flight to Singapore
I tried my best to avoid the insane jet lag and made plans to do something as soon as I arrived. Our sound engineer-Brian, guitar tech-Sullie, and I traveled out to the Singapore Zoo. Animals seemed like a good destination for my tired brain. I used to hate zoos, but it seems like my obsession with seeing certain animals outweighed the nagging sadness of seeing them in lock up. This was one of the new “natural environment humane zoos.” I figure no matter how natural the environment, it’s still a cage; the animals are martyring themselves for the cause of educating humans to be more in tune with species endangerment and extinction. It turned out to be a really fun day with some amazing animals. I really liked seeing different monkeys just hanging out in the trees.
While winding up our zoo visit, we got hit by an afternoon, monsoon-like rainstorm, but Sullie worked a little magic and got us a taxi back to our hotel. These afternoon showers became a staple of our very tropical stay in Singapore.
Our trip to the Singapore Zoo
Amy and Brian at the Singapore Zoo
Sullie at the Singapore Zoo
Our hotel was located in the middle of the hugest shopping malls I ever seen. Singapore is famous for being a trade center and they really don’t mess around. I think from the earliest of times (like the 1500’s), its location in the midst of the trade winds created a situation where ships had no choice but to stay a while and it became global trade center. The 100’s of shopping malls, and I am not exaggerating here, seem to be an extension of that. The population is hugely diverse and you can hear a good many languages on any walk through town. We had a great time doing press because all the interviewers were clever and had a good sense of humor. It was strange but very pleasing how consistent that was.
We played a live radio show hosted by an acoustic duo called Jack and Rae.
Jack and Rae Radio Show
We got to be on National Singapore TV
I could write a book (well, I actually couldn’t or I would) about the complexities of culture and politics in Singapore. We ran through all the jokes about getting arrested for everything from chewing gum to being queer, but the reality is that the people were incredibly gracious and open. Even though homophobia is pretty much a legislated situation, we did play a music festival, as openly queer musicians, which I can only imagine is partially funded by the government. The gay press is very underground, and restricted to podcast and web sites, which isn’t so bad considering that’s where most of us get our news these days. We were interviewed by a fascinating, openly gay poet and play write, Ng Yi-Sheng. I wish I had a good movie of that one, but it didn’t turn out. It was a fun interview, mainly because we asked a lot of questions and learned a whole lot about Singapore. I got a laugh out of one of our hostesses as she swooned over “The L Word,” which apparently is pirated off the web. Even though she wasn’t gay herself, she said it brought out her lesbian tendencies…hmmm…very sweet. She turned three shades of red and giggled a lot when talking about Shane. We also got a lot of lessons about the political and economic structure as well. How lucky we are to get to go places like this and ask so many questions.
We had no concept of how many people would come to the show or if we had any fans in the area. We were actually blown away by the number of people that showed up. The promoter for the festival did a really amazing job of getting the word out and arranging TV, press, and radio. The icing on the cake was that the audience totally sang along to at least half of the songs. It felt crazy and surprising. We did an autograph session after the show and discovered that a whole contingent of folks had flown over from Manila to see the show. That made my night. Of course, now Asia does not seem so out of reach and we are excited to try more cities. I can only be thankful that our career still holds so many surprises.
We had a whole day to hang out before our flight left back to the US. I trekked over to Little India where I was in food heaven. It
was the coolest part of town, a world unto itself. I gorged myself on lunch at an Indian restaurant where the whole menu was vegetarian – wow was it good, totally satisfying.
Little India, Singapore
We weren’t back in the states for a day before we left for Austin, TX to play at the South By Southwest Music festival. I was completely spacey from the travel. The first of three shows we played, I made a ton of mistakes-all apologies to whoever was there. I just couldn’t remember chords and words for the life of me. It got better with each show. We had a surprise invite to do the Perez Hilton show. He was super nice to us. Our last show was at Stubb’s-our normal haunt in Austin. I haven’t been to SXSW in ages and I used to go every year and hear a bunch of bands and discover new music. This year, even though I felt pretty delirious, I went out for shows on both nights we were there. My favorite two shows were Daniel Johnston and a band from Tokyo called Detroit7. This trio of two women and a guy played a bad-ass garage rock set as part of Japan Night- a night that I always try to catch because it never fails to blow me away. I danced like crazy and sweated, and had what I can only describe as a religious experience. Not unusual for me, where music is concerned. I bought the T-shirt and the CD!
The IG’s meet Perez Hilton
Indigo Girls on Perez
This is what my brain felt like
See ya out there on the road. I know times are tough, so we appreciate you buying the tickets and showing your support for live music 🙂