JAKARTA AND JAPAN TOUR, WINTER 2006 (Nov 19-Dec 14) -- Part 2
2/24/2017 5:47:57 AM - (cont'd)

Another thing I found interesting was that I didn't know what to expect in terms of how strict of a Muslim area it was, and decided to not bring shorts or any short skirts as a respect to the culture...just in case. But within minutes of arrival and while waiting in line to get Nikita his tourist visa, I saw on a TV screen what appeared to be the Indonesian Jessica Simpson incredibly scantily dressed in what can only be described as lingerie, and realized that it was pretty loose. Most of the women and girls I saw were dressed like westerners, and rarely did I see the hardcore head to toe coverage.

I spent the first couple days mostly doing radio promotions and was given a glimpse of the unexpectedly positive response to my music from over the years. I'd known through several hits on myspace.com that I had some fans, but the smiles and positive comments that greeted me from the DJs and other music industry Indonesians was really amazing! It didn't feel like total foreign territory.

On our second day, I'd asked to have just an hour at a rehearsal space with a piano to warm up my voice, and the Demajors team brought me to their friends' studio. It turned out to belong to a young talented cat, Luna, who I'd "met" on myspace (his band, Park Avenue, is VERY cool). With George, Sasha and myself coming from New York and Masa from Japan, we needed to rehearse before our performances. They had arranged for us to rehearse at the venue stage, which I was a little wary about -- it was supposed to be the main stage of the whole festival, HUGE with a capacity of something crazy like 5,000 or so, which meant it was going to be hard to hear each other. We just really needed a rehearsal studio that had a simple set up so we could hear each other, not a massive stage with a complicated set up. Luna's studio was perfect, and when I asked if it would be possible to rehearse there, Luna was more than accommodating. It turned out that he knew the set up that we were using with the Ableton program, so it made things that much easier and perfect. REALLY nice guy.

The studio was in his house with a courtyard in the middle, and he lived with his parents, as well as his sister and her kids, 2 boys close to Nikita's age; of course, the boys bonded immediately and played tirelessly during my practice session as well as the band rehearsal. Sasha couldn't get over the space and "bling of their house, and we quickly got a sense of the unfortunately reality of the economics of the country, with the wealthy and extreme poor living side by side. My big surprise was in how there was no public transportation to speak of and the resulting constant gridlock where ever we went. Sadder yet was realizing that the constant "haze" and inability to see any blue in the sky was in fact from the smog and pollution.

Rehearsal was great. George Colligan, who I was touring and playing with for the first time, came totally prepared and had even memorized the charts entirely, and Masa had no problems picking up the new songs and meshing with George and Sasha musically, while adding a nice jolt of rhythmic youth and freshness to everything. Sasha was running the Ableton program and considering we'd had to take lessons from Henry Hey twice and didn't have a clue about things, somehow we managed without anything crashing and everything worked smoothly. After the rehearsal, we'd been invited to a dinner reception for the foreign performers of the festival by the Governor of Jakarta, but we were all too tired and decided instead to lay low and have dinner together at the hotel. It was during dinner that I saw my old and dear friend, Sagon, who had flown in from his home in Bali! I hadn't seen Sagon since I was last visiting there in '98 so this was such a great surprise and treat for me!

(cont'd in part 3)
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