In 2022 I had 4 opportunities to perform with the Queen Tribute band Celebrating Queen, one of the best Queen Tribute bands in the USA. In this final look back at 2022 I look at the 2 festivals we played at in Dallas, Texas, and Miami, Florida. Two wonderful festival locations with 2 very different festivals.
Gig 3 – Festival #1 – Dallas Texas
On September 24th we were delighted to perform at the Murphy Maize Days Festival just outside of Dallas Texas. Having arrived in Dallas with American Airlines, I looked out at the baggage handlers and one was wearing a stetson, I knew I was in Texas at that point.
The Murphy Maize Days Festival 2022
The venue is a large green area in an area called Murphy just outside Dallas TX. The Venue was located about 2km from the location of the 1980s US TV Show Dallas. We were hoping to get a band photo outside the Southfork Ranch but it just didn’t work out. The festival is mainly a food festival and it was a joy to try some new foods. Our attendance at the show provided us with a meal in advance of the show and I chose Catfish. I had never tried it before but it came as a catfish po-boy. It was delicious – such a white flaky fish and it was a taste sensation – like tasting fish all over again. We did our sound check and as usual, I had my trusty Kronos on my Tech Rider. Our backline was all ready when we got there. I had to install some custom sounds to it, normally straightforward, but in 34C heat baking down it was an exercise in getting it done quickly. I had a walk around the venue with our drummer and bassist just to get a feel for the festival. It was 34C as I walked around but it was a different 34C than you would experience in UK and Ireland – perhaps the Atlantic airflow changes the way temperature is felt at home. We did our soundcheck which was completed around 3:30 pm and with 3 hours to kill before showtime we took our transport back to the hotel for a freshen-up and a quick afternoon nap to recharge the batteries.
Around 7 pm we set off again for the festival venue and around 8 pm we took to the stage performing our festival version of our set list (basically we took out the Live Aid Set and did some of those songs separately). It was a great show but we did have a few sound problems with the switchover from our support band to our settings. For the first 6 songs, I had no monitors and only for my IEMs (In-Ears) I would have had huge issues. Not ideal but when you are on stage you just have to keep going – we eyeballed each other and stayed on track using the acoustic amps which were on stage for Bass and Guitar and also we had drums to keep time with. All in all a good show and we ended with a firework display as we ended our set.
Dallas was an unusual one and perhaps the sound issues clouded the enjoyment of the show in some respects but I still had a festival coming up in Florida in under 3 weeks’ time …
Gig 4 – Festival #2, Miami, Florida
The Greynolds Park LoveIn Festival 2022
The other festival was the Greynolds Park LoveIn which took place in Miami Florida on 16th October 2022. Miami is a city that I visited with my family back in 1996. On that occasion, we felt the area was a little unsafe and didn’t explore much. Now in 2022, it has totally been redeveloped with trendy restaurants, ice cream parlors, and really stylish fashion shops. We had a band day off on the Saturday so we decided to have a visit to south Miami Beach. We got a pizza at Tapelia which was at 551 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach – very tasty pizza but it’s about $50 per person when you have a drink, starter, and pizza. I suppose you have to expect that in Miami.
On the day of the show, we had a hearty breakfast at the hotel and then set off for Greynolds Park. The weather was a balmy 31C, something I would not be use to in October. Our dressing room, with it being a festival, was a big American RV with everything you could need. We got our lanyards and passes for access through the areas and we set up our stage area. For this show, I did not get my requested Korg Kronos, as it was unavailable in this area of the US, instead, I had a Nord Stage 2 (More about that later). We did our soundcheck and during the break in proceedings I had a look around the festival area, which was quite compact but there was a great atmosphere. The Grateful Dead performed here back in the early 70s.
The gig went off very well but getting back to my Nord synth, it is impossible to find the patches you need quickly. On my Kronos, you have a thing called ‘Setlist Mode’; so I can programme the full set all the patches, etc, and even sub-patches within a song and quickly switch back and forth between them using a foot pedal. Also, the Kronos patches are stored logically, so all the piano patches, organ patches, and synth patches are together so you can find them easily. On the Nord, patch 001 was piano, 002 was an organ, 003 was a different piano, 004 was some weird synth-lead … it made no sense. So as and from then I have on my tech rider “NO NORD STAGE KEYS” … life is too short to be making things hard on yourself.
After the gig we returned to the hotel and I had a very enjoyable post-gig swim in the hotel pool, and in the Miami heat, this swim was very welcome indeed.
This was the last gig of 2022 for me and it was a year which I will never forget. Amazing highs, wonderful sights, performing with amazing musicians and trying foods and experiences within the locality where we are performing.
Photo Gallery of the Dallas and Miami Festivals
You Know you’re in Texas when your Airport Baggage Handler has a Stetson
Amazing Green Beetle I spotted on the ground
All Access band Lanyard for Murphy Maize Days Festival
The temperature of 35C at Murphy Maize Days Festival
All Access band Lanyard for Murphy Maize Days Festival
The stage at the Maize Days Festival
My Korg Kronos on the stage for Murphy Maize Days Festival
Fireworks at Murphy Maize Days Festival
Leaving Dallas, last shot outside the Airport Hotel
You Know you’re in Texas when you see that Magazine at the Dallas Airport Newsagents
Miami Festival – Photos
Racing another Jot at 36,000ft
Beautiful views while Landing at night in Miami
Massive Cruise Ship in Miami
Walking on Miami Beach
Access All Areas for the Festival
Our Festival Stage as seen during soundcheck – 6 hours before we go on
The Nord Stage 2 which I had replacing my Korg Kronos
Back at the Hotel for a Post Gig Swim
I hope you have enjoyed Part 3 which covered Celebrating Queen Tribute Band performing at the 2 music festivals in Dallas and Miami. Next up I will do a small piece on the launch of Freddie: Songs of a Legend in Florida and Utah which took place in January and March respectively.
There are still some adventures to come through my involvement with Celebrating Queen and the charity the “Everybody Sings Project” and hopefully we will have some chances to perform and engage in this charitable work during 2023 and 2024.