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2010 Mission From Gadd Europe - The Sequel, Tour Blog

The MFG crew's on-tour Blog

Zildjian's "Mission From Gadd Europe - The Sequel" is well underway trecking across Europe and bringing the legendary Steve Gadd to you! Here, Zildjian's John DeChristopher, Tina Clarke and Bob Wiczling keeps a daily log of tour. Keep checking back for more to come! For a full list of dates and more info, go here.

Mission From Gadd Europe - The Sequel - The Final Chapter
This was the fifth "Mission From Gadd" tour Steve and I have done together since 2005, and I can honestly say they get better every time. Although his clinics don't vary too much from night to night, being around Steve Gadd never gets old!

"Mission From Gadd Europe 2010 - The Sequel" originally began as a short week-long tour to reschedule the four dates we had to postpone last April due to the volcanic cloud over Europe and our inability to get there in time for the three dates in the UK and one date in Paris. When we wrapped up "Mission From Gadd Europe 2010" in May of this year, we immediately began working on the make-up dates and four clinics quickly turned into eleven, plus an autograph appearance at the London Drum Show.

This time, all the clinics were "fly dates" due to the logistics of bringing a tour bus through Europe, as well as long hauls from Zurich to Istanbul and Istanbul to Lisbon. This meant many early mornings to arrive at the airport after getting to bed after midnight the night before. We were traveling with several cases, including Steve's personal cymbals, so each airport presented its own challenges with regard to weight and size limitations. Not to mention our requiring a large van to accommodate all the equipment cases and our personal suitcases. The nearly three-week itinerary was a grind: most days we would arrive at our hotel with a couple of hours free before we had to go to the store, only to find our rooms were not yet ready. In many cities, Steve would have a full afternoon of interviews before heading to the store for the "meet & greet" from 4:00-5:30PM, followed by sound check at the venue at 6:00PM, usually followed by another interview, a light dinner, then the clinic at 8:00PM. Through it all, Steve was a team player and was right there schlepping bags and cases with the rest of us! And it seemed every day he'd have a new joke to tell us as we sat at the airport gate, bleary-eyed from little sleep, on our way to the next city to do it all over again.

Steve's presence and positive energy can truly light up a room. The only other people I've known that have had the same affect (on me, anyway), were Jeff Porcaro and my good friend Armand Zildjian. It's an amazing thing to see the looks on people's faces when we'd arrive at the "meet & greet." Steve would greet everyone with a warm smile and the feeling that there's no place he'd rather be than with his fans.

Traveling in the "Mission From Gadd Europe 2010" entourage besides Steve and myself were Bob Wiczling and Tina Clarke from Zildjian's London office and Yard Gavrilovic, one of the best and most respected drum techs in the business, and Steve's drum tech when he works with Eric Clapton. Yard is a longtime friend of Zildjian and has worked for many of our artists over the years. We were lucky to have him out with us!

There are endless fond memories from the tour, but some of my personal favorites were spending time with my first boss in the drum industry at Simmons Electronic Drums, Glyn Thomas, who attended the Reading, UK clinic. Glyn gave me my start in the business 25 years ago (1985) and I owe him a lot. 1,200 plus people in Paris with the electricity of a "Beatles" concert! Seeing Charlie Watts with "The A B C & D of Boogie Woogie" at a small club in Paris on our night off was also a highlight. It's always a treat to hang with Charlie and watching Steve tap his foot with a big smile as we watched Charlie was priceless. Visiting Istanbul and taking a tour of Topkapi Palace, where it all began for Zildjian was incredible too.

A big thanks to all the Zildjian distributors for their hospitality, professionalism and dedication to making Mission From Gadd Europe the great success that it was. Also to Steve's legion of fans who not only made Steve feel welcome, but also the Zildjian team. And most of all, thanks to Steve Gadd for his willingness to share his talent and enthusiasm with the world!

Until the next time,

John DeChristopher - Vice President, Artist Relations & Event Marketing Worldwide

Saturday, 18th September - Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa - Lisbon, Portugal
Last stop, Lisbon, Portugal...and the afternoon off, which is very much appreciated due to the early morning wake-up for the 4 1/2 hour flight from Istanbul. We find the hotel roof top terrace and enjoy the late afternoon sunshine taking in the beautiful view of Lisbon with the clay roof tops and the Tagus River.

Saturday's Meet & Greet is at the Hard Rock Cafe, Lisboa. We are welcomed by a long line of Steve Gadd fans eager to meet their idol. Steve happily obliges, with photos taken against a beautiful display of Zildjian cymbals. Thank you to the Hard Rock Cafe for their great hospitality, we hope you enjoy the cymbal which Steve signed for you.

The Clinic venue today is Lisbon Superior Music School. It's a new facility and the stage and auditorium look great! Sound-check takes a few minutes and we're ready to go.

Prior to showtime, Steve does a few interviews, one for Producao Audio magazine and another for Arte Sonora magazine, who are linked with the web site, Tu Guitarras.

Then it's time to take to the stage for the final Clinic of Mission From Gadd Europe 2010 and what a fitting end as the beginning starts with Steve being warmly welcomed to the stage by a standing ovation of 400 fans.

Steve is on top form tonight!

We've been carrying Steve cymbals with us for the duration of the tour and they're sounding as sweet as ever, the full set-up includes (left to right, from behind the kit):

- 15" A Custom with six rivets & two rivet holes
- HiHats are comprised of a 14" vintage K (from late 1960's) top with a 14" A Custom Crash (with four rivets and four rivet holes) bottom
- 18" K Dark Crash Thin
- 20" Classic Orchestral Selection Medium Light
- 20" K Constantinople Medium Thin Low

The shows ends with the final bow from the Zildjian Touring Team including Steve. What a great night!

Many thanks to Rui Salguiero, Rui Meneses and Paolo Diogo of Road Crew Portugal for their great hospitality and event organization with the assistance of Jose Moreia.

What a great end to the MFG Europe 2010 tour, it's been a lot of fun...I would like to thank all the people we have met on our travels, our Distributors and their respective assistants, our Artists who have welcomed us to their home towns, Yard Gavrilovic (the super drumtech) whose humour kept us all sane and of course to everyone who attended the shows and made them such a success...see you next time!

Next stop...Home!

- Tina Clarke

Thursday, 16th September - BRONX Pi Sahne - Istanbul, Turkey
It's an extra special day as Mission From Gadd Europe lands in Istanbul, Turkey.

387 years ago, Avedis made his first cymbals here and the Zildjian Family name came into being.

Before the show we are lucky enough to visit the Topkapi Palace where Avedis the First made his cymbals for the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and was given the name Zildjian. We even experienced a Janissary band in full historic uniforms march into the palace, cymbals blazing. It's an amazing sight and sound. Could Avedis even have imagined his cymbals would one day be used by drummers all over the world?

We head to DoRe drum shop for today's"Meet & Greet" and an excited crowd queue outside to meet their drum hero. As always, Steve is more than happy to talk, sign autographs, have a photo taken and chat with each and every one of them.

The night offers us another great Gadd clinic. One of Turkey's busiest and most well known drummers, Volkan Oktem, introduces Steve. Other Zildjian Artists at the show include Emre Kartari and Aykan Ilkan.

Many thanks to Ahmet Pesen and all at DoRe Musik for their tremendous hospitality.

Next and final stop... Lisbon, Portugal.

- Bob Wiczling

Tuesday, 14th September - Moonwalker Music Club - Aarburg, Switzerland
Tuesday...A short 35 minute flight takes us to the beautiful country of Switzerland - the land of chocolate and cheese.

After a quick lunch, we head over to the meet & greet which is taking place today at Schlagzeug Shop Glanzmann, Altishofen. This shop is well known in Switzerland for its classical percussion department, serving the Swiss Military Bands and the KKL.

Arriving at the shop, the smell of freshly cut hay greets us and you can hear the cow bells ringing from the cattle grazing on the mountain side. It truly is idyllic.

It's lovely to meet Zildjian Artist Simon Britschgi, who had come to see Steve and we take a moment to sign some autographs and take photos before heading over to the venue for Soundcheck. The venue today is the renowned Moonwalker Music Club, Altishofen a famous jazz club in Switzerland.

The "kit du jour" is a Yamaha silver sparkle, with birch toms and a black maple bass drum. A ten minute sound check and we're ready to go.

The venue is packed tonight, with a 250+ crowd eager to meet Steve, including Zildjian Artist Andy Leumann.

Steve's Clinics are certainly not of the "look how fast and loud I can play" kind. Steve likes to keep the atmosphere one of intimacy, it's a two-way process where the audience is encouraged to ask questions and generally share ideas. Techniques are broken down, taken back to basics, so that everyone can take something away that is possible to practice - be it shuffles, pre-gig rudiments for warming the hands, the cross-stick technique or of course the grooves behind "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover."

Steve also shares his experiences concerning the differences between playing live and in the studio, including recording tips and how to come up with grooves for new songs.

The audience love every minute and give Steve a standing ovation, clapping so loudly and refusing to leave the building until Steve returns for an encore, to which he happily obliges.

Many thanks to Serge Olar and all at Music Olar AG, including Serge's father and step-son who are in the audience tonight, for their wonderful support and hospitality, together with everyone who made today possible.

Next's back to Zildjian's roots...Turkey.

- Tina

Monday, 13th September - Musikhaus Thomann - Treppendorf, Germany
A 40 minute flight and we are onto our next destination, the City of Nurenberg, Germany.

A short stop at the hotel to prepare and it's an hours drive deep into the German country side to the town of Treppendorf and the biggest music retailer in Europe, Musikhouse Thomann. Again a great meet and greet, quick sound check and a chance to refuel on pizza and salad before the show.

The clinic is within the store itself and the facilities are pefect. The audience fill out the in-store auditorium that offers an intimate atmosphere with great views from all sides.

As always, Steve recieves an overwhelmingly warm welcome before settling into the kit. The second track, "Crazy Army," features the military snare and bass drum pattern that develop into a solo full of musicality and dynamics and of course the infamous "Gadd feel."

Soloing, independance, the stickings for "Late in the Evening," "Mozambique," turning rudiments into grooves and of course how did "50 Ways" develop are amongst the myriad of questions from the audience. Steve answered, as always, in a way that gives everyone the confidence to go away and try for themselves.

Of course playing with the musicality and feel that Steve does, well, that may just take a few years of experience!!

- Bob Wiczling

Saturday, 11th September - Paris, France / Sunday, 12th September - Adams Drumworld Festival - Ittervoort, Netherlands

Saturday...the sun is shining, it's a pleasant 25c and everyone manages to enjoy their well-derserved day off by taking in some of the beautiful sights of Paris.

Tonight we (Steve, John, Bob, Yard and myself) are in for an extra special treat as we head over to the Duc des Lombards, Paris, an intimate 85 seater club, where the ABC & D of Boogie Woogie are playing. The band comprises of Axel Zwingenberger, Ben Waters, David Green...and Charlie Watts (of the Rolling Stones)! The atmosphere is electric and one of immense musicality mixed with a wonderous sense of humour. After the gig we get to chat with Charlie, what a drummer's dream hearing Steve and Charlie exchange tales!!'s an early morning departure for Dusseldorf. We arrive shortly after mid-day, to a grey and rainy Germany. Check into the hotel and then head straight over the border into the Netherlands where today's MFG Clinic is part of the Adams Drumworld Festival.

Adams, the manufacturer of musical instruments including timpini and brass, is the venue today. We are actually at the factory, so Yard gets to setting up Steve's kit de jour on the brass factory floor.

In the main arena the Slagwerkkrant Readers Poll Awards 2010 are being given out. Zildjian are delighted to win the Award for Best Cymbal for the Z3 range with a 3rd place for the A Custom and K Efxs.

We bump into Zildjian Artist, Hans Eijkennaar, who has just received his Award for Best Drummer from the Benelux - congratulations Hans!

Steve takes to the stage, the 700+ crowd including Zildjian Artists Hans and Cyril Directie, have been here enjoying a day of drums since 10:00am (it's now 5:00pm) are all enthralled by the change of pace, as Steve lowers the tempo, caresses the snare with his brushes and hums "Bye Bye Blackbird." You can hear a pin drop! By the end of the set, the crowd is hanging on his every word, the intensity of which is broken by the rapturous appaulse as Steve completes his final solo.

Many thanks to Jeroen, Ton and all the guys at Hoshino and Adams for a great day.

Tomorrow...Thomann, we come!

- Tina Clarke

Friday, 10th September - La Cigale - Paris, France
La Baguetterie, one of the finest drum stores in Europe, plays host to today's Mission From Gadd date in the wonderful city of Paris.

It's a full on day for Steve with a batch of interviews that included Batteur, Batterie and Jazz Magazines, le Boite Noir web TV and a Paris based TV channel. The afternoon is spent in La Baguetterie itself with scores of fans squeezing in to get Steve's autograph and a chance to speak to him one on one. Meet and greet complete it's onto the venue.

Tonight's show is in the legendary La Cigale theatre in the very heart of Paris. This famous old building is literally crammed to the rafters with over 1200 Gadd fans. A mass chant of "Steve Gadd! Steve Gadd!" starts up and Steve is drawn out onto the stage. It's an absolutely electric atmosphere!!

Steve, of course, more than lives up to all their expectations. You could hear a pin drop throughout his opening brush work to "Bye Bye Blackbird," followed by an invitation from Steve to the crowd to accompany him with a 1200 strong clapped clave rhythm that pushed Steve on to a steaming solo.

Zildjian artists catching up with Steve in Paris included Roger Biwandu, Yann Coste and Sebastien Rambaud. A huge thanks to Philippe Lalite and the La Baguetterie team, as well as all at French Zildjian distributors, Gaffarel.

Great production, great Venue, an even greater crowd and the one and only Steve Gadd. What more could you ask for!

- Bob Wiczling

Wednesday, 8th September - Edinburgh Corn Exchange - Edinburgh, Scotland
After our early flight from Manchester, we arrived in Edinburgh tired, but glad to get in early enough to see some of this beautiful city. There was no "meet & greet" today, so we went straight to the venue for sound check and although tonight's clinic started at 8:30 PM, there was a big crowd lining up outside at 6:30 PM. Always a good indicator that we're in for a good night! Tonight's clinic was sold-out, with over 500 people in attendance and a very lively and energetic audience. In addition to demonstrating the usual requests: "50 Ways", "Late In The Evening" etc, Steve took some great questions on playing shuffles, the evolution of his drum part for Steely Dan's legendary recording "Aja" and how he prepares for sessions and tours. Steve answered all the questions with his trademark warmth and down-to-earth style and judging by the rousing applause, there's no doubt his hundreds of fans enjoyed every second of it.Zildjian artist Jim McDermott was in attendance.

Tomorrow we travel to Paris and have a much needed (and well-deserved if I do say so) day off... after several late nights and early morning flights, it couldn't come at a better time! Tomorrow night Steve, Yard (Gavrilovic, our drum tech) and I are going to see our good friend Charlie Watts, who happens to be performing in Paris this week with his band... Steve is having a great time on the tour and appreciates everyone coming out to see him... Next stop on "Mission From Gadd Europe - The Sequel" will be Friday, 10th September at La Cigale in Paris - we hope to see you there!

Stay tuned,

Tuesday, 6th September - Royal Northern College of Music - Manchester, England
An early morning lobby call for Steve and the MFG Tour crew at our hotel in Dublin, but we arrived in sunny Manchester with a little time at the hotel before heading to Drum Centre for the meet & greet. Another great turnout, with many fans bringing CD and album jackets of their favorite Steve Gadd recordings from Stuff to Chick Corea to Paul Simon and on and on...The staff at Drum Centre was fantastic and really made us feel welcome, as well as laugh! Onto Royal Northern College of Music, a beautiful venue and great sounding room and another packed house. Steve demonstrated the grooves to many of his classic recordings including "50 Ways" and "Late In The Evening" - always audience favorites. In attendance were John Thompson, Max Beesley Sr., Mike Richardson, and Lee Mullin. Another late night and 6:00 AM lobby call, and even with 4 hours sleep, Steve and the MFG Europe crew are having a great time and many laughs! Off to Edinburgh, Scotland on Wednesday...

More to come,

Monday, 5th September - The Helix - Dublin, Ireland
After a long delay at London Heathrow, we finally arrived in rainy, but beautiful, Dublin in time to drop our bags at the hotel and rush off to the meet & greet at X Music in Dublin. The rainy weather didn't deter Steve's fans - another great turnout for the meet & greet, and afterward, Steve cut the ribbon for their new teaching facility run by Conor Guilfoyle. Off to the Helix for tonight's clinic and another sold-out crowd of almost 500. It was great to see so many young drummers in the audience, as well as longtime fans of Steve's enduring career. Among the attendees were Liam Bradley, Noel Eccles, Desi Reynolds, and Fergal Lawler.

Saturday, 4th September - London Drum Show
Although Steve was scheduled to "open" the London Drum Show, he actually did a meet & greet from 12:00-1:30 PM with a huge crowd of fans who came out to see him, many of whom had been at the clinic the night before in Reading. It was great to see such a big turnout for the show and for Steve's meet & greet. Also appearing at the London Drum Show were Zildjian artists Ian Matthews, Mike Mangini, Paul Clarvis, Andy Fisenden, Nisan Stewart, Emily Dolan Davis, Cherisse Osei, Ben Calvert, Bob Henrit, Pete Cater, Jackson Ellis-Bextor, Lea Mullin, Lisa Gordon, Steve White, Donovan Hepburn and Pete Lockett.

Friday, 3rd September - The Hexagon - Reading, England
Today was the official kick-off of "Mission From Gadd Europe - The Sequel," beginning at 3:00 PM with a jam-packed "meet & greet" at DrumWright where hundreds of fans came out to meet Steve and get his autograph and a photo with the drumming legend, followed by a private gathering where local UK artists had an opportunity to hang with Steve and the Zildjian Mission From Gadd Europe crew: John DeChristopher, Bob Wiczling and Tina Clarke, before the clinic at the Hexagon. Tonight's clinic was rescheduled from last April and by the time Steve took the stage at 8:30 PM, you could feel the excitement of the nearly 900 fans in the audience. Steve was obviously playing off the energy in the room and came out blazing! The Hexagon is a great sounding room and our front of house engineer Arthur, really had it dialed in. It was great to see so many Zildjian artists were in the audience and in the dressing room afterward, including Gavin Harrison, Ian Thomas, Andy Gangadeen, Mark Pusey, Mark Mondesir, Paul Francis, Gary Marshall, Cherisse Osei, Emily Dolan Davis, Colin Woolway, Ian Palmer, and Nettie Baker (daughter or legendary Zildjian artist Ginger Baker).

Thursday, 2nd September - Royal Academy of Music - London, UK
Zildjian "unofficially" kicked off "Mission From Gadd Europe - The Sequel" at Royal Academy of Music on Thursday, 2nd September with a master class for students and invited guests. Neil Percy, Head of the Percussion Department, was an extremely gracious host and Steve enjoyed the intimate setting and spending time at the prestigious school with Neil and the faculty. Both students and faculty asked some excellent questions ranging from technique, to developing ideas for songs, to the business of being a professional musician. Zildjian artists Ian Matthews, Paul Clarvis, and Martin France were in attendance. A perfect way to warm-up for what is sure to be an amazing tour. We're based in London for a few days and the weather couldn't be better - perfect weather for running in Hyde Park!

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