Saturday, July 31, 2010

Playing Soldier Field - Richie's Perspective

Tonight was a very surreal moment for me. To perform before Bon Jovi & Kid Rock at Solder Field was amazing. So many nice comments from so many good friends (old and new).. so Thank You for taking the time out of your day to even acknowledge this accomplishment. So many people asked my if I was nervous and honestly, I was not at all. In fact not only was I very comfortable on that stage, I didn't want to get off... I was having too much fun.

Growing up I was always amazed by the power of the arena rock bands. The fact that for one moment the crowd and the band connected and peak energy together. I notice everyone was in the moment, not worrying about hardships, relationships, jobs or health, but truly sharing a positive energy. It's this energy that I personally strive for every single show we play. Tonight I felt that energy to the highest degree one can feel that. I had goosebumps for hours and I still have not come down from that natural high.

A re-cap of our day.
11am we all met up at John Barleycorn to take the limo downtown. On the way down, Lenny (from NTD Records) calls Cara at the mix and asks her to mention the show.. Cara does, we all high-five each other. We arrive at Soldier Field about 12:20pm and the band got to see the stadium and stage and were blown away. ( I had seen it a day earlier with the crew after we shot the ABC segment ). The stage was about 120 feet wide and 60 feet deep and 12 feet high. It was MASSIVE.

Once we arrived, we met up with a bunch of cool people that were all very kind to all of us. Some of the security guys recognized us from our shows and even said "it's the band with picks".. LOL... We met up with Obie, who has been with Bon Jovi since the 80's. He was really cool to us and we rapped with him for about a hour. We went to our dressing room, which was the referees dressing room for the Chicago Bears Game. The room was far from the action and lame so none of us hung out there. Dino (our sound tech) comes up to me and says "If you can get the video guy a graphic of our logo in 5 mins., he'll put it on the big video screens for us". I think, where am I gonna find a logo right now.. and I realized, I put them on our "press" section of the website. So I go to grab the logo and I'm like wait a min. . I have the logo with out website address under it.. so I grab that one and they end up using it. We did a really fast sound check. Bon Jovi's crew is VERY efficient.. but then again the 7th heaven crew is great as well. In fact our crew really makes a major impact on the success of the band. To see these guys passion for that they do is incredible. We met up with John's brother Tony who said he could provide a 7 camera video of the whole show if we wanted if we took care of his guys for the effort. I made the choice to say yes and now we have a live video of the concert (yes I think we are gonna release this on DVD for you to see and experience).. I just watched it and it's amazing.

About a hour before the shows the 5 of us sat in the van (mainly because it had air conditioning) and discussed what we were about to do. I said to the four of them, just think about 80,000 people are at Soldier Field because of 15 guys.
15 mins. before show we all stood behind the stage and held our hands up and said "let's do this" and up we went.

We started playing and I felt at home. We are used to large crowds from the festivals, but when you look up and there's people all around you and above you, it's amazing. You feel a energy to a level that so high that it's hard to describe. We played an original set of songs off our "U.S.A.-U.K." CD and saw many of the fans who came out to support us. While I was playing I saw my mom and dad there. I wondered what they must be thinking as I made them loose hours of sleep as I practiced my guitar on school nights at 3am and kept them up and told them "one day I will play in a band". I saw my wife and thought "man I love that girl". I saw my best friend Matt and thought about the times I told him "I will not give up on 7th heaven", I have faith. I wondered what Tony Kees was thinking while we watched, he was our original band manager when we were 15. He used to tell us to perform to the crowd and not look at our instruments. Or Tony Labarbera who gave 7th heaven our first club show at the Thirsty Whale in 1985. It was cool to see Tony DiGiulio there (7th heaven's original singer), there was a moment where I had a flashback to all the years we went thru with the band and how it has peaked to this level. It was awesome to have Tony there, as he is like family to the band... I wrote more songs with him than any human being. We saw the "We love 7th heaven" sign and all the people who wore our shirts. So Thank You for that as well. It was cool to see how we would play a song and we could spot fans that knew our songs would be dancing and singing along with us and then by the end of that song, it was hard to tell as more and more people starting singing and getting into it. That is very gratifying.

We played Gravity, While You Dream, This Summers Gonna Last Forever, Cellophane, Better This Way, Save Your Life and Kill The Cycle. We were suppose to end with Undone, but the stage manager said we didn't have enough time. Bummer, because we had A LOT more in us.. we were just getting warmed up... (remember most of our shows are 90 mins to 3 hours). The band played like true professionals. The hundreds of shows we have done up to this point prepared us better that anything else could.. and under pressure, these guys shined. I never doubted them anyways, this is what we do.

We all hung out and watched Kid Rock and Bon Jovi, which were both really good. I am 100% convinced record labels and radio stations are WAY out of touch with the consumer, as they think rock is dead. I strongly disagree.. and about 150,000 people in Chicago agree as the shows is filled for 2 nights.

At 11pm we all loaded back into the limo and headed back to John Barleycorn to so show #2. HiFi Superstar were kind enough to entertain the crowd before us. We arrived and the room was ready to rock. We played for a little over a hour.

I had a great night and I am so appreciative to all the people who support this band. It motivates me to work harder and harder to make 7th heaven an experience we can all share.

Thanks for helping me live my dream
Richie Hofherr - 7th heaven