Northern Ireland hard rock band The Answer don’t hit the States all that often, but when they do, it’s in style. Six years ago, the band were the opening act for AC/DC. They’re back again in support of their fifth album, Raise a Little Hell, and this time, the’re opening up for Whitesnake. The band have agreed to share their tour diary with us. This is what happened the 4th and 5th day:
Day 4: Colorado Springs, Colorado
So here’s the thing… If you’re not fuckin’ Aerosmith or U2, a day off in the states has the potential to be a bit of a non event spent parked up in a Walmart lot drinking whatever’s left of the previous weeks rider. Not so today!!!
After a great night in El Paso which included a visit to the studio where we recorded our 2011 “Revival” record (Sonic Ranch Studios) and a trip to the infamous El Paso Old County Jail; the one Billy The Kid busted his mate out of on his way to Mexico, we made the 700 mile journey to Colorado Springs.
On approaching the downtown area of this picturesque town I noticed there were even more souped up sports cars and monster trucks on the side of the road than usual. There also seemed to be a distinct carnival atmosphere in the air, complete with street food stalls and beer promotions outside every bar; all of which were doing a particularly good trade for 5pm on a Friday evening. It was when I reached the giant Red Bull motorbike ramp that had been erected right smack bang in the middle of the town centre I finally asked the question; “excuse me mate, could you please tell what in the name all things hydraulic is going on?” To which I was kindly informed with a look that said “you’re not local sure you’re not?!” that today was the beginning of the build up to Sundays’s high speed hill climb and that teams had travelled from all over the world to compete in this racing event in the Colorado Rockies. It was right around this moment of epiphany that the 160 horse power moto-cross bikes started launching themselves through the air as if being shot out of a big assed canon. The thousands of people that had gradually emerged from the shadows went crazy. This exhibition of sporting prowess and simple balls out courage blew my mind, as well as the minds of the other three wide eyed Irishmen who had by now joined me with pints of locally brewed IPA in hand to calm our nerves.
After the moto-cross show we did what all self respecting Irish musicians on tour should do in the midst of this awe inspiring representation of American popular culture; we found ourselves an Irish Pub. Jack Quinns Irish pub to be precise. Our experience was further enhanced by the free vodka shots that a couple of aesthetically pleasing local gals seemed intent on feeding us for the next hour and a half. As it turned out, a blue grass band (the aptly named “Out Of Nowhere) were just about ready to kick off at this stage and launched into a ferocious, knee slapping, shit kicking set that gave me the jump start I needed to move onwards into the Colorado night in search of more free vodka and further opportunities to fraternise with the locals. Suffice to say we all had ourselves a night to remember; the only problem is we can’t remember that much of it.
I’m right now nursing a hangover and trying to get my head around the Greeley Independence Stampede our bandwagon has just rolled into. So far I’ve surmised that its a Summer festival in rural Colorado that blends rock n roll with rodeo intermittently. There’s a funfair in full swing and the smell of good barbecue in the air. What more could a man possibly need on a beautiful Saturday June evening in middle America. Now if you’ll excuse me…it’s my turn on the bucking bronco.
Day 5: Omaha, Nebraska
Our show was delayed last night due to a herd of Longhorns parading through the festival grounds. Very impressive animals but apparently not rock fans as they didn’t buy a t shirt between them. That little interlude kind of set the tone for the barnstorming night of tequila, cow girls and eighties revivalist rock that was to follow.
The Greeley Independance Stampede saw Whitesnake headline what was another powerful gig on their behalf within the confines of a rodeo arena, complete with sawdust and real life Cowboys (and cowgirls) at every turn. Sandwiched between Night Ranger on the main stage and Skidrow on the second stage, if I closed my eyes I was instantly transported to another age when I was busy being born and “Here I go Again” ruled the airwaves. When I opened my eyes, the scene before me resembled a Dolly Parton back catalogue. It was most definitely one the more surreal experiences I’ve had on the road in America. Throw into the bargain the fact that there are certain legal activities in the great state of Colorado that may well remind a passer by of a smoky Amsterdam club rather than the Grand Ole Opry. I love every minute of course. I even befriended the house band who were playing when we arrived at midday and still playing when we rolled out of there at 2am the next morning. Impressive!
And on we roll to the Reverb Lounge Omaha where we are currently getting ready to play our first headline gig of the US tour. We arrived to the news that the support band have cancelled which means we’re gonna have to throw in a few extra songs to fill out the time. Having just played four 40 minute shows in a row, the chance to stretch our wings a little is a very attractive prospect. America is such a big sprawling country it’s hard to know whether we’ll be playing to a packed sweaty club or to the barman and his goldfish. Either way we’re gonna get up there and give it everything we’ve got!!
Next stop…actually I’ve honestly no idea.