18 flights, 15 shows, 6 countries, 1 earthquake: Chronicle from Blaze Bayley
18 flights, 15 shows, 6 countries, 1 earthquake.
That was January. The start of my year and the final part of my ‘Redemption of William Black’ tour. A three-part concept; one sci-fi story across three albums, in three years with three tours. South America in January was supposed to be the final part of that but people responded to the story of William Black, the central character in my story, and things got bigger. I liked the set list so much from the Redemption tour that I recorded it for a live album/DVD titled ‘Live in France’.
In January 2019 I finished the Redemption world tour. There was an earthquake while we were on stage at a very special gig organised by fans in Coquimbo, Chile called Blaze Fest. It’s a small beach town and the venue was about 30 metres from the sea. We were on stage in the middle of our sixth song ‘Escape Velocity’ and saw people running out of the building. Then all the power went out and we knew something was up. The stage manager shouted to us “EARTHQUAKE!” and we started making our way off the stage in the dark. Martin Mcnee, our drummer, was still playing the song! I went back on stage and shouted “Martin! Stop! It’s an earthquake!” Then all of our phones pinged with the same message… ‘Tsunami warning. Evacuate immediately to higher ground’…
That was when it felt a bit scary. After seeing the terrible damage a tsunami can do on the news in recent years, we all started to worry. Fortunately Coquimbo is a very mountainous place, and right behind the venue there was a big hill where people had homes and it only took a few minutes to be about 100 metres above sea level. We waited there, watching the water and the cars on the far side of the town making their way to safety too. It was about an hour later that the second message came on our phones… ‘All clear. Tsunami evacuation Ended’…
The power was still out everywhere in town but we made our way back to the venue. There was some debris on the pavement where things had fallen from roofs and the tops of walls. We were lucky that none of that landed on fans leaving the building and no fans were hurt or injured during the earthquake that registered 7.2 on the Richter scale. There was a free meet and greet before the show so I had signed and had photos with a lot of fans then. As we were waiting outside the venue for it to be declared safe to enter, a few fans came to see if the gig would continue and have photos with me and the band. They said “This is Chile, we are used to earthquakes.” It was disappointing for both the band and the fans that we couldn’t do our full set. We promised to return to Coquimbo to do a full set…unless the quakes come during the first part of our set again!The very last show was Tampico, Mexico, at a venue called Corona Bar. A really big club and near the beach. A great night with wonderful fans and no earthquake.
In February 2019 the rehearsals for the European part of my new ‘Tour of the Eagle Spirit’ started, so one tour ended and the next one began in the space of just a couple of weeks! It’s a really cool feeling, but there’s a lot of pressure too. The latest tour features songs from all three parts of the Infinite Entanglement trilogy that we haven’t played on any of the previous tours, and some more songs from my Silicon Messiah album. It’s feeling really different from the last three full-metal tours and that’s a good feeling. We started the Tour of the Eagle Spirit on March 1st. My fans seem be enjoying such a big change in the set, at least that’s what they say at the free meet and greet after every show on the tour so far. The Tour of the Eagle Spirit should finish October 5th 2019, but it’s feeling really great, so we already decided to record this set list in Brno, Czech Republic on September 29th. It is such an exciting time in my career, even with the earthquake!