A Detailed Recount of Playing at Ford Field
By: Tanya Dmuchowski
It all began with our arrival at Ford Field in Detroit around 1:00 on the day of the show. Fully dressed and ready for action, we waited there in the car for the epic thunderstorm to pass before we unloaded our gear. Finally we got the okay to drive down this long tunnel that led us directly backstage. Our enthusiasm grew as we passed an area that was labeled with a giant, “Welcome to Detroit Bon Jovi!” sign on our way down. It was all becoming so real! Our stomachs dropped as we looked at the immenseness of the stage and the rows upon rows of currently empty seats. Right away we were given, “Bon Jovi Working,” passes for backstage access so we instantly felt important. We barely had to lift a finger as we unloaded our cars and the trailer with the help of tons of stagehands! Our rock and roll outfits and fantastic hair was getting a lot of attention from everyone. They were all excited about our band and couldn’t wait to hear us! Backstage was filled with equipment, instruments, soundboards, huge black boxes labeled “Bon Jovi” or “J. Geils,” and it was swarming with crew members. We took a look at the stage from the front as the workers were buzzing around like bees preparing the stage and blasting loud music as they set up. The stage was enormous and setup just like the front of a classic car with a huge Bon Jovi license plate!! It was seriously cool and quite fitting for the Detroit scene. We headed back behind the stage again and spent our down time laughing with and charming the crew and security. We even ran into a woman in the bathroom who asked us if we were dancers for Bon Jovi! We told her we were actually in the opening band, though we did entertain the idea of pretending we were dancers for Bon Jovi….haha! At one point, Tia was asked by a group of men in hard hats to sign various items of theirs including a towel, a glove, and even someone’s arm – all signed with a ball point pen! After meeting a lot of great people and networking like crazy, the stagehands cued us to come up on stage and show them where we wanted our equipment.
We climbed up the long ramps and dodged the stagehands busily moving equipment back and forth. The stage was really long from side to side, but surprisingly not as deep as we were expecting, mainly because Bon Jovi and the J. Geils Band’s gear was already up there taking up space. We were left with a thin strip up front. We were a little bummed because we had practiced a lot of cool choreography in the boiling hot sun with our standard stage set up (drums back and center, vox front and center, bass stage left, guitar stage right), but because of how thin the remaining stage space was, we had to dump it and make up some cool stuff on the spot. Being up there on that huge stage felt so unbelievable yet so right, aside from the slight fear of heights my sister and I were experiencing haha. All the stagehands and sound people were so incredibly nice to us!! They were all really excited to hear us play and they wanted to know more and more about the band and our history. We were so grateful for their help; they literally would ask where we wanted something to be, and they would just go and put it there on command! I officially felt like a serious pro! Once we had our gear set up where we wanted it, we got off stage so they could test the sound for the J. Geils Band. That’s when we went to go do our make-up in a part of the Lions locker room.
We hadn’t eaten much that day because we were in such a rush to get ready and go in the morning so we were all getting quite hungry. We heard someone say there was catering for the crew but we were waiting around for our sound check first. The members of the J. Geils Band walked right by us and went up on stage for their sound check first. It was so exciting!!! They ran through a few of their songs and played through some solos on each of the instruments to make sure they were getting the right sound. It was extremely loud! That’s when it dawned on us that, we too, were going to be THAT loud!! We walked all the way around the floor seating area to hear how the sound was traveling to every corner of the stadium. There was a pretty intense echo, especially when we were standing towards the back of the floor seats and we could feel the bass of the bass drum beat strongly through our bodies. Talk about HUGE sound to fill up the HUGE stadium! Finally, we were called up for our sound check! We passed the guys from the J. Geils band as we headed up to the stage and they all politely smiled and said hi to us as we passed by, with the exception of Peter Wolf, the front man, who basically isolated himself. We plugged in our instruments and started playing. I was sound checking my guitar when suddenly they put it through the PA’s and my mouth dropped! I’ve never heard such a huge sound come out of my guitar!! The same thing happened with everyone else! The sound guys were very friendly and made sure we were absolutely happy with our sound. They kept asking us how much of each instrument we wanted in our monitors and we even ran through a piece of a song to make sure we were all hearing each other well enough. They told us that the J. Geils Band took up a lot of sound checking time but honestly I think we were lucky to get any sort of sound check. They got us off the stage around 5:30 because they wanted to start letting people into the stadium.
We were told earlier in the day that Fox 2 Detroit wanted to do a pre-show interview with us as well as a post-show reaction interview. We kept trying to reach them but none of our phones were working in the stadium. Since we were starving, we decided to go look for this “catering” we kept hearing about. We went on a journey out of the backstage area and onto the 7th floor where we saw a sign saying, “Bon Jovi Crew Catering.” This room was filled with crewmembers and some rock-star looking guys that worked on the tour. We went in expecting turkey wraps or something similar to that but what we got was so much better! There was a salad bar, and main dishes including lemon chicken, mostaccoli, and shrimp laid over small open fires to keep them warm. There was even someone cutting fresh slices of roast beef and also… a dessert table! We filled up on food but didn’t have too much time because we had to get back to the stage by 6:30 to prepare to start our set at 6:45. We chowed down what we could and made our way back to the backstage area.
Our hearts and stomachs began to flutter as the time to go on stage was nearing! People were filing into their seats and the background music was going strong. As the clock ticked, the band gathered for a pep talk and we put in our hands for our usual Flight of Fire cheer. We got all pumped up and prepared for the experience we’d all been dreaming about for so long!! We hugged our family and excitedly trotted up the ramp behind the stage. We waited back stage as the crew finished up some last remaining things they needed to do before we got on. At 6:45, we finally got the go ahead!
The four of us proudly strutted up on stage and looked out at the scattered groups of people seated all around us! The stadium wasn’t nearly full yet, but since the place was so huge and spread out, there were probably at least 5-10,000 people out there in their seats, not to mention all the people still roaming around at concessions. Standing up there in front of all those people on a huge, tall stage, was I nervous? I really wasn’t. It felt completely natural and totally right to be up there in front of all those people. My heart however, was pounding with adrenaline and elation! We looked around at each other to make sure everyone was ready and we struck our first chord, kick starting our reign on stage!! We proceeded to ROCK Ford Field for the greatest 15 minutes of our lives!! With my wireless set up, I strutted from side to side of the stage and commanded the attention of the people with my solos. I saw tons of flashes in the crowd of people taking phone pictures and we got lots of applause after every song! It felt INCREDIBLE!! I even whipped out a violin bow and threw in some Jimmy Page-style guitar bowing which really got the crowd’s attention. We had so much energy on that stage and we performed at an all-time high; we gave it our all!! Before we knew it, a week of long hours of practicing with blood, sweat, and tears, ended in the blink of an eye with this brief but eternally unforgettable experience. Once we blasted the crowd with our last hit, we all lined up, took a bow, grabbed our instruments and headed off stage. The stagehands took care of all the rest. It was surreal. Suddenly, nothing seemed impossible, and even bigger dreams felt within reach.
We got off stage and were met with compliments and cheers from everyone! All the crewmembers back stage raved about us and said we sounded amazing!! They piled up all our stuff onto a golf cart and drove it all the way out to our cars with the rest of the band while I stayed behind. Next up was the J. Geils Band. As they rocked the stage, I confidently marched around back stage and on the floor level wherever I pleased with my Bon Jovi working pass. As I walked around through the audience, there were lots of people who pulled me aside and told me how much they loved our music and our performance!! Complete strangers! It made me so incredibly happy! I couldn’t help but glow with happiness. I even caught someone taking a picture of me as I was standing off to the side watching the J. Geils band! I felt like a true rock star!
Finally, I went up into the crowd to find the rest of my family and friends who were seated there. The whole way up from the floor and down the aisle, all the ushers stopped me and praised our performance. It felt so cool to be recognized and appreciated by so many people! When I found where my friends and family were seated, they immediately congratulated me and told me that we sounded INCREDIBLE, the best they’ve ever heard us sound. Our music filled up the entire stadium, our hot outfits lit up the stage, and our performance moves reflected our confidence and prowess.
As the J. Geils Band closed up their set, I made sure to get my butt back down and back stage with the hopes of running into Bon Jovi as he came up on stage! I made my way back down to the floor and charmed all the ushers on my way down and made my way backstage again. We heard from someone that if he wasn’t playing until 9, then he probably wouldn’t get there until about 8 so we gave up hope in seeing him or his band backstage any time before that. We knew they had to come through that tunnel though to get up on stage. I met up with the rest of my band backstage and we waited anxiously for Bon Jovi’s arrival. When we were back together, a bunch of people wanted photos with us! We felt so special and we were becoming such good friends with all the people backstage. One of the sound guys who was unloading the J. Geils Band’s gear even handed us one of the set lists they left on stage! Suddenly everything got a lot stricter as Bon Jovi neared. A lot more security came in. They pushed us all to the side and said, “Bon Jovi requests that no pictures be taken.” We heard because of the stormy weather that his plane was circling for a while before we could land and so arrived there later than he planned.
My Aunt saw the band coming down the tunnel in one of the golf carts and they quickly zoomed right past us and headed up on stage! She was about ready to have a heart attack because he is her favorite artist and we were all excited that we were in his presence but really bummed we didn’t end up getting to meet him. Although, as we watched the band perform, I realized that I had seen and smiled at the current guitarist previously backstage and Tia realized that she had seen and smiled at the keyboardist! I knew they looked like rock stars! We watched a few of his songs from up close on the floor and then joined our friends in the crowd. Bon Jovi seriously knows how to perform and put on an unforgettable show. Not to mention his ability to crank out hit after hit! Anyway, s ecurity on the floor had tightened up significantly and they didn’t want people lingering around anymore. On our way out of backstage, a guy pulled us aside and asked if we were Bon Jovi groupies, we laughed and said, nope, we were the opening band. We handed him a card and headed out to the crowd. As we continued our way across the floor, we were stopped by a vendor who was bowing to us and claiming that we were just as good, if not better than Bon Jovi! What a compliment!! We were so proud of ourselves as we headed back up to the crowd to sit with our friends. Bon Jovi put on an astounding show and an unforgettable performance! We sang and jammed out the whole rest of the night to the sweet and inspiring sounds of Bon Jovi but still, it felt so much different than any other concert we’ve ever been to. We were a part of this show; we were a part of the most successful tour EVER. We were dressed like rock stars and treated like queens. As we left, we blasted, “Livin’ On A Prayer,” with the windows down and listened to Bon Jovi all the way to an iHop where we celebrated a successful night.
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BACK HOME TO MICHIGAN!!
May 2013 – Now that school is out, we’re headed back home to Michigan to prepare for a summer full of gigs in the Detroit area! We’ve gotten in touch with a local drummer that we are going to meet with and rehearse a ton of our favorite classic rock covers with. It’s going to be a lot of fun and we have a lot to do! As for our originals, we’ve been working on getting merch together for the upcoming album and for our kickstarter backers including t-shirts, posters, stickers and more! We’ve been working with a very talented artist from San Francisco named Lucas Sevan, and we are very excited to release his work on the album design! Since we were so busy at school working heavily on getting our film scoring degrees, we ran out of time to mix the album. Therefore we will be spending our off time, when we’re not rehearsing or gigging, mixing the new album and getting it mastered at Detroits very own, The Disc Limited, which we have recorded at in the past. We’ll be posting all our shows on the website so keep an eye out for them and we hope to see you there! It’s going to be a great summer to be home!!
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FLIGHT OF FIRE RETURNS TO LOST SOULS STUDIOS IN MARTHA’S VINEYARD TO RECORD SECOND ALBUM
We extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who has supported us and donated to our KICKSTARTER! Thanks to all of your help, we have reached and even gone beyond our goal!!
8/17/12 – (Day 0) Today we jam packed the car with equipment and began our journey to the beautiful island of Martha’s Vineyard! It’s been a little over a year since we were last in the studio recording our first album, “Ascended from Ashes,” and now we’re back and ready to take our music to the next level with an explosive new album! After a long day of packing and driving, we settled in and began our recording preparations by putting all new drum heads on Sheik’s beastly drum set. We started off the night with a bang by going to see the greatest fireworks display any of us have every seen and continued with a bang when we were awoken in the middle of the night by enormous cracks of thunder! Tomorrow we plan to finish setting up all the technical stuff, tune the drum heads, unload all the gear, set up the drum mics, and begin recording some scratch tracks!
8/18/12 – (Day 1) The day started off well with everyone waking up on time, eating breakfast, and getting pumped to record! Little did we know the troubles that awaited us down the road… Once we tuned up the drum set and put it all back together, we were ready to get the new recording software going. After running into every problem imaginable, we spent the whole day troubleshooting our way to the top – with the help of some delicious brownies! It’s been a stressful day, but the hardest part is over. We start recording scratch tracks and drums first thing tomorrow morning and we are all super stoked to get the fun part going!
8/19/12 – (Day 2) We started off the day with a delightful breakfast outside and then we headed down to the studio to start recording some scratch tracks. Thankfully, we’ve had a lot of practice in technical trouble shooting so we were able to calmly work through some new issues that were hindering us. Finally once we got everything running in top notch shape, and after laying down some solid scratch tracks, we were able to begin recording the drums. With the new mics we picked up, the set is sounding better than ever!! We were laying down solid drum tracks until we ran out of sticks from rocking too hard, but that didn’t stop us! We began recording some bass tracks. First thing tomorrow morning we’re going to go pick up some new sticks and work on a whole lot more drum tracks with bass on deck!
8/20/12 – (Day 3) Today we spent the whole day working on drum and bass tracks. In the afternoon, we took a nice little break at a local sandwich shop on the island for a refreshing lunch! At this point, we seem to finally be done taking care of all the technical issues and trouble shooting so from now on we should be able to focus solely on recording, woot! We were excited to see a substantial increase in donations on our kickstarter! Thank you to all who have been donating, please tell your friends! Well I guess that pretty much sums up the day. Tomorrow we’re going to be in the studio “at the crack of 11,” ready to record as many more drum tracks as we can, followed by more bass!
8/21/12 – (Day 4) After making a huge checklist of all the instruments we want to record on each track of our masterpiece, we jump started into action! We spent all morning and afternoon blasting on the drums and then finished off the evening with some groovy bass lines. Today we took appreciation in nature and when any of us weren’t occupied in the studio, we were outside taking in the fresh air and beautiful scenery. Sometimes while one of us is recording and one of us is engineering, the other two band members will get other business done such as practicing or sequencing string parts and today we did those things in the comfort of the secluded beauty of the great outdoors. Once we were done recording for the day, we felt like we deserved a night on the town! We hit up a couple bars and a quaint donut place called “Back Door Donuts.” YUM!! Tomorrow….more bass and drums!!
8/22/12 – (Day 5) With the risk of sounding repetitive, we spent the day recording more bass and drums! Our goal is to finish up all the bass and drum tracks by Friday night so we can get started on guitars and other instruments by Saturday morning. Once we were done recording for the evening, we spent the night setting up sessions for some of our more progressive songs so we can get started on recording right away!
8/25/12 – ( Day 8 ) Remember how we said we were making a 15 track album? Well…turns out we spent the afternoon writing an exciting, new, top secret bonus track! That’s right…our upcoming masterpiece is now going to have 16 tracks!! Are we crazy? Maybe we are…but trust me, you are going to love this album! We recorded the drums for the new piece and then proceeded to listen to through all of the songs to see if there were any more parts to re-record. By the evening we had finally completed all the drum recordings and started to record some rhythm and lead guitar tracks! Things are going very well, and tomorrow we have a whole day of piano planned.
8/26/12 – (Day 9) As we planned before, today was our piano day where we spent all day recording on Sheiks beautiful grand piano. The piano is so reverberant and is sounding absolutely gorgeous!! Things are coming together very nicely! We’ve also been brainstorming a lot about the album title, photo shoot and music video ideas as well as a bunch of other exciting things related to the upcoming album. We’ve got high hopes for this one…it’s going be so much bigger and better than the last! Later that night, we went out on the town and went to see a show at, “Dreamland,” Martha’s Vineyard’s biggest venue! It was a great experience and we’re all very much enjoying getting out a lot more than the last time we were here.
8/27/12 – (Day 10) Today we spent the majority of the day recording all the remaining piano tracks! The piano sounds amazing and it feels as though it could reverberate for years! Once we were done with that, we took a dinner break and spent the rest of the evening recording some more rhythm guitar tracks. Now that we’re done with piano and drum tracks, we will finally start recording vocals tomorrow afternoon! Things are going well and now we are going to celebrate our job well done, with the Lord of the Rings and some dessert.
8/28/12 – (Day 11) We got the ball rolling this morning by recording a ton of clean electric guitar tracks. Later in the evening we finished up a few more tracks on bass. We didn’t end up recording vocals today because most of the band got a late start after our little party last night but we’ll be starting them for sure tomorrow afternoon after we finish up all the clean electric guitar tracks. Once we were done recording for the day, we discussed details about our upcoming photo shoot as well as some very exciting concept ideas for the new album!! Let the hype begin!
8/29/12 – (Day 12) Today we officially finished ALL the clean electric guitar tracks including the delay guitar which caused us to use a different laptop for podfarm. But we made it work! Then after much anticipation, Maverick began hammering out a couple hard rockin’, sexy, and funkin’ vocal tracks. She is sounding spectacularly stellar and we are all very thrilled. Once the light from the beautiful full moon began shinning through the windows of the house, we knew it was time to watch part two of the extended edition of THE LORD OF THE RINGS – The Fellowship of the Ring! It was epic and got us in the mood for the acoustic guitars we will be recording tomorrow!
8/30/12 – (Day 13) We spent most the day today recording as many acoustic instrument tracks as we could! This included 6 and 12 string acoustic guitars, a nylon string guitar, and a mandolin! The unique variety of acoustic instruments all playing in harmony has created an absolutely beautiful and open sound to the tracks they have been recorded on. As usual, we finished off the night recording a couple more vocal tracks and topped it off with the original batman movie!
8/31/12 – (Day 14) Today we started off by laying down a bunch of overdriven rhythm guitar tracks and proceeded to finish recording all the acoustic guitar tracks including 12 and 6 string acoustics, nylon string, and a mandolin! We are cruising along nicely! From now on, we are going to continue with a similar trend of recording electric guitars in the morning, vocals at night, and finish off the bass somewhere in between. Today marks the last day of August which means we’re about 2/3rds of the way done with our time in Martha’s Vineyard. It’s a little scary, but we have faith in ourselves and the confidence that we will finish recording our masterpiece!
9/3/12 – (Day 17) Today was one of the days we’ve been really looking forward to since we got here: photo shoot day!! We spent the morning glamming ourselves up with make-up, sexy clothes, and rock n roll attitude! We took some photos around Sheik’s classy house and then headed outside; a place we have not been too familiar with the past few weeks . We took some epic photos in the wind on a rocky overlook of the ocean as well as a beautiful green landscape to signify the new world in which we’ve emerged after the great apocalyptic battles we’ve described in our music. Like our music, our hair and our look has gotten darker and so much more rock! After the photo shoot, we all went out and had a nice lunch outside and then we headed back to our cave to finish off the night with some rhythm guitar and vocal tracks.
9/06/12 – (Day 20) We’ve been getting seriously down to business these past few days as our remaining time here grows thin! We finished recording all the rhythm guitar tracks a couple days ago and today, after putting it off for a while, we finally finished the bass!! We’ve been spending the days recording lead guitar tracks in the morning and then vocals for the rest of the day. All we have left now is 3 guitar solos, 2 songs on vocals plus a few backup tracks, and auxiliary instruments such as violin, bass clarinet and flute. Tomorrow is our last full day in the studio so we’re going to try to get as much of those done as possible so we can finish it all up Saturday morning. We’re almost there!! The light at the end of the tunnel is now in our grasp!
9/07/12 – (Day 21) Today was our last full day in the studio! We had big goals and we accomplished all of them! We spent the morning finishing up all the lead guitar tracks, then moved on to completing all the vocal tracks, and then finished up a few bass leads that we added in! It is official now: all the drums, bass, guitar, and vocals are completely done! We have had an incredible time here and it’s been a huge experience for all of us. With all the work we are putting into this album, it is guaranteed to please!! Tomorrow we’ve got a good chunk of the day that we’ll be using to record some exciting auxiliary instruments before we board the ferry back to Boston!
9/08/12 – (Day 22) Just as we planned, we recorded all the parts for flute, bass clarinet, and violin today which officially concludes all the recording for the new album!! Once we were done recording, we frantically gathered all our things and packed up for the 7:15pm ferry back to Boston! We had big goals for this album and we really made it happen! Now it’s time to get back to school and get back to work! This is Flight of Fire signing off!
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