Hurry up and Kuwait.

Well, we are on the road! I'm coming to you from a suburb of Kuwait City proper, at the Embassy of the United States.  A nice change of scenery from our usual "military accomodations" in Qatar.  Our travels began on a U.S. Air Force C-130H cargo plane, a 90 minute flight.  I wanted to give some insight on how we take an 8 piece rock band with all of our backline to another country! Obviously, since this was the first time we were heading out, a little more work had to be done, but now that alot of things are in place, it will be that much easier everytime we go out of the country.  All of the gear gets shipped on a large pallet which then gets put on the plane with us to our destination.  But, all of the gear and road cases have to be labeled and marked, along with a master inventory list that we give to the customs people on our way in and out of both countries  No easy task everytime...I had heard the last band had to open up a cable trunk and count how many cables there were for the Qatari customs agents. So now, we have gaff tape with something like "Case #15-30 audio cables," on everything.

 

We arrived to our plane to see that the pallet had made it on. We were ready to go! The way the C130 was laid out, had about 15 passengers seated on the sides of the plane towards the front, and a few pallets of cargo in the back.  Officially, the coolest travel to a gig that I've ever been a part of.  I won't go into to details as to how I went to the bathroom on the flight...

The cozy C130 was very loud...ear plugs are a must!

The cozy C130 was very loud...ear plugs are a must!

 

We arrived at an Air Base about 40 minutes outside of Kuwait City (20 minutes from the Iraq border, yikes!) and picked up our box truck and a passenger van.  The entire pallet was dropped off to where our vehicles were and we loaded everything on the truck. It all fit! About 50 anvil style cases of gear.  Now you could imagine that sometimes, we arrive to a vehicle that is smaller than we expect. We have about 8 items on a list, in the order at which we could do with out.  Lose a subwoofer, take mic stands out of a larger case to make room...etc.  Luckily we didn't have to do that!  


For the duration of our stay in Kuwait, we stayed at the U.S. Embassy compound. I won't share the details of our accomodations, but let me tell you, they were not your average "military style" living quarters! Some very powerful people live and work on the embassy, so you that tells you that the living situation is nowhere near unacceptable. When we weren't at the embassy, we were very busy playing a big role in the week long celebration of the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait.  These events were varied, from school performances to jazz combo on a Navy warship!  My head is still spinning as I try to take it all in!  (I'm typing this from the terminal in Kuwait, waiting for our flight back to Qatar.)

A private tour onboard the USS Arlington warship in Kuwait. We played a gig during a ceremony/reception for the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait.   

A private tour onboard the USS Arlington warship in Kuwait. We played a gig during a ceremony/reception for the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait.   

On board the Arlington, the flag that was flown over operation "Neptune Spear," the raid by US forces and the mission that took out Osama. Chilling... 

On board the Arlington, the flag that was flown over operation "Neptune Spear," the raid by US forces and the mission that took out Osama. Chilling... 

 

As it stands now, this was probably the most "cultural" experience of my life so far. Taking in the history of a beautiful far away country, meeting and playing music for the people, enjoying the food, and as the U.S ambassador put it to us, "continuing our bonds with the people of Kuwait through the universal language of music." I'd like to highlight a particular performance that struck a huge emotional chord with me, and that was getting to play some music for Access program students, as they arrived to the embassy. These were middle school aged students who were chosen to study in Kuwaiti schools for 2 years, based on their acedemic excellence.  They came from Egypt, Syria, and many other middle-eastern countries.   They had also never heard live music before, so you can imagine the joy and effect we had on them.  To be a partof something greater than you could ever imagine, is really something. This performance along with all of the gigs on this tour so far, have been exactly that.  Many people in the Air Force bands and even in the professional music world fail to wrap their head around just how powerful music is.  We tend to get caught up in alot of the negatives.  "We have to play THIS tune again? Man, the monitor mix isn't right tonight.  You mean we have TWO gigs today???"  I could go on and on...

 

I'll leave you this time with some pictures from the week! 

An amazing Taboulah salad, and hummus with meat. Spread it all out on some fresh bread...boom. 

An amazing Taboulah salad, and hummus with meat. Spread it all out on some fresh bread...boom. 

Getting set up for a radio show on 88.8 FM in Kuwait.  This is the most listened to show in Kuwait, and we had the honor of being on with the current U.S. ambassador to Kuwait and the ambassador who was in office during the liberation/Gulf War.  They were interviewed over a two hour time, and we played throughout.  We ended up doing out "footprint" set up, which is acoustic instruments/cajon! 

Getting set up for a radio show on 88.8 FM in Kuwait.  This is the most listened to show in Kuwait, and we had the honor of being on with the current U.S. ambassador to Kuwait and the ambassador who was in office during the liberation/Gulf War.  They were interviewed over a two hour time, and we played throughout.  We ended up doing out "footprint" set up, which is acoustic instruments/cajon! 

One of the many little shops of the city...knick knacks and treasures galore! 

One of the many little shops of the city...knick knacks and treasures galore! 

The Liberation tower, one of the many landmarks of the Kuwait city skyline.

The Liberation tower, one of the many landmarks of the Kuwait city skyline.

Tetris anyone? 

Tetris anyone? 

   All strapped down and ready for the flight!

  

All strapped down and ready for the flight!