When we arrived in Aspen, the head cold hit me with its full force. I felt like I was carrying around a ton of bricks. At soundcheck I opened my mouth to sing and nothing came out. I laced my throat with hot tea and honey, and by the time the show started I was just about able to utter some croaky low notes. So I sang my lowest songs in sequence–Budapest, Leipzig, the verses of Suitcase and Flat Earth without the choruses–but I had no idea how I was going to make it to the more uptempo numbers. Briefly considered faking a collapse on stage… (‘Nervous exhaustion puts paid to Dolby/BT tour!) …but decided I would get through it somehow. And the Saturday night apres-ski crowd, strangely enough, just wanted to dance. How often do I say that? I was able to spin out extended versions of Airhead, Hot Sauce, May The Cube Be With You and YKHMD, and managed to get the dance floor rocking. But overall, it was a humiliating experience.
I managed to get some good rest overnight in Aspen and today on the bus to Denver. Today I felt 50% better. And whereas last night it took me by surprise that I was not able to reach the high parts, today I was able to give it some thought and figure out alternative melodies. I basically had 3 options—and I shared them with the audience up front: (a) play the section instrumentally (b) sing the vocal an octave down (c) make up a new melody altogether. I turned it into a game, and the audience was with me. The Gothic is a lovely old Deco/Nouveau theater, and it was packed tonight. I guess there were quite a few fans there who saw me in the Spring, plus a lot of BT fans who were quite pleased to discover new music that sounded ok. I transposed a few songs on the fly–’Science’ became quite sexy with a whole new melody down low, and ‘Hot Sauce’ sounded more like George Clinton than George himself. Now I’m sitting on the bus and actually quite charged up. However I am going to skip the meet’n'greet again, so apologies to those people who were hoping to get stuff signed.
Now we have two days off, which will be much appreciated. Everybody on the bus seems to be on the mend. In Austin we should be right as rain. We’d better be, because the next stretch is 12 gigs in 12 nights.