We did a morning drive from Northampton to Norfolk: a beautiful drive past many beckoning streams. Unfortunately, by the time we pulled up to the Infinity Hall in Norfolk it had started pouring and it didn’t let up all day. I didn’t get a chance to do any exploring, because of the rain, but it seemed like Norfolk was made up of the theater and a couple of other small stores and that’s about it. It’s amazing to me that one can be in an area of the country that is so densely populated and a sixty mile drive will put you in what feels like the middle of nowhere. It’s a beautiful part of the country. The Infinity Theater is a spectacularly restored vaudeville theater that once saw Mark Twain walk its boards. They don’t make buildings like this anymore and it’s always a treat when we get to play one, they inevitably sound great, it’s all that wood and history. The dressing room area is also comfortably set up with an old screened-in porch on which to eat and relax before and after the show. This had all the makings of a perfect gig…the one drawback was that there was also a television crew present throughout the day and film crews usually have a way of setting everything on edge. The show was being filmed for the second season of a new PBS TV show called Live at Infinity Hall. Don’t get me wrong…we were extremely grateful to be asked to participate in the program; there is a real dearth of TV shows dedicated to live music. But it’s kind of funny how TV/film crews in these situation, no matter how well intentioned, usually end up making the day all about them and not about the subject that they are there to capture. In this case, the show is called Live From Infinity Hall so one assumes that the intention of the show is to capture the energy of the bands live show and the flow between band and audience. The only way to do that is for the TV production to be as inconspicuous as possible so that the band and audience can relax and do their thing. The last thing that you would want to do is to flood the stage in white light and keep the audience lights on for the entire show, which is exactly what they did, destroying the vibe of this 150 year old theater and creating a situation for the band and audience that is completely unnatural and uncomfortable: which is a good description of our performance, unnatural and uncomfortable. I’m sure that it will sound and look better than it felt, these things often do. But it was frustrating to be in such a special venue, with a very enthusiastic audience and not be able to enjoy it. We hope to get back here soon, without the cameras.
This entry was posted on Monday, August 13th, 2012 at 11:00 am and is filed under Tour Diary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
From where we sat in the front row this was one of the best Cowboy Junkies concerts we may have ever seen. And we have seen a few, (close to fifty I believe). This was the second night in a row and third of this tour for us. We were truly impressed by the bands professionalism and Margo’s patience through out the evening especially after the show with the “Bar Interview”. Come back soon and rock the house with no cameras next time!
Been to a lot of shows at Infinity but never one with the lights and cameras dominating the show. Still, even though I was in standing room, or in this case “standing squeeze”, the music was great but the intimacy that this venue always offers to both performers and the audience seemed to be lost. Please come back when cptv is off filming a whale watch. Thank your sister for coming to our table after the show asking for a hug which was gladly given.
I don’t know. I work in a building with a lot of those TV people (although I am not one of them). I thought, as these things go, they were pretty unobtrusive. What was disruptive, what called attention to them, was the stream of mopey comments from the stage. It seems to me that, once you agree to do a TV show, you have you accept that (a) there might just possibly be some cameras around (b) the lighting needs might be a little different from what you’re used to. Those people from CPTV were just trying to do their jobs. If they wound up with crappy, unusable footage, their heads would have been on the block. Under those circumstance, all the fussing by Ms. Timmins seemed like a performer trying to turn the audience against a bunch of people who, as I say, were just there doing their jobs.
Cameras or not,this was my favorite show of the tour so far. I thought the band played with a lot of fire (perhaps venting their frustrations?)and 3rd Crusade and Continental Drift just rocked! Blue Guitar can do no wrong in my book,and I thought the interplay between Mike & Jeff in the jam was very thoughtful and it sounded like each was intently listening to the other,commenting on each others’ phrases. Margo seemed intent on providing a solid version of Don’t Let it Bring You Down,paying attention to her lyric book prior to singing the verses to prevent missed lines. I loved the show, and I’m certain the tv folks will be able to get a very flattering 55 minutes worth of footage for their show. I want one!
That said, I did feel sorry for Margo especially,as the cameras didn’t give her a moment’s peace from the beginning of soundcheck until the very end of the meet ‘n greet after the show. At one point during soundcheck there was a camera literally 2 inches away from her face,and a boom microphone about the same distance overhead. I thought she handled the daylong stalking with grace; far more than I could have summoned under similar circumstances.
I was happy that Joe,Sandy, Ed & I were able to provide the “light at the end of the tunnel” after the meet ‘n’ greet was over and the cameras were finally put away. Margo sat down at our table to chat for awhile,and the look of relief that came over her face was a joy to see.
I thought the show despite the harsh lighting was beautiful, and I thought the Nomad Series set was moving. Any show that includes a performance of Powder Finger is truly amazing. I have been seeing your shows for over 20 years, this was the first time I have heard that song live. I purchased the Nomad Series at the show and am amazed by the quality and quantity of the material. Tom
Absolutely terrific show…thank you! I go to the Infinity regularly but was not familiar with your music (sorry!). Left the venue a new fan with CDs and vinyl to bring home and enjoy. Truthfully? We weren’t bothered at all by the cameras or lights and thought you all handled the inevitable intrusiveness with grace and humor. Hope you all play the Infinity again… We will be there if you do!
Sorry to hear your experience with another television crew was not ideal. I hope this will not sour you enough (or any other potential bands) to consider performing for the cameras again sometime so audiences of all kinds can enjoy the great music. I know we loved hosting you for our show and hope you had a good time also. The show is coming together very nicely. Take care.