When the soundcheck and VIP Meet and Greet is done, Steven Page and Team have a couple of hours before stage time to get ready for the show. Here’s a PG look at some of the backstage activity happening while you’re grabbing a drink and taking your seat:
Food – We gotta eat! We’ll either dine in-house at the venue or at a recommended restaurant. Kevin will say “I think I’ll have a Coke” at some point. I will mispronounce something from the menu – and by ‘mispronounce’, I mean speak in my normal, kinda-Bristolian voice and find that it’s somehow funny to everyone else (the latest is “risotto”).
You might’ve noticed how dapper the Steven Page Trio are when they grace the stage. This is no accident.
Hours upon hours of extensive hair and make-up routines are factored into the pre-show schedule. Need something steamed? Craig’s your guy. Need someone to walk into the dressing room as you’re bollock-naked? Every single venue will oblige.
Laundry is also important. My attitude for too long on this tour has been “I’ll be fine for a while yet”. This is what happens when you’re that blasé. Cool sink though.
Get to know the venue – We’ve been lucky to play some fantastic rooms on this tour; the last couple of nights have been spent in Calgary at the National Music Centre, where we were lucky enough to get a full tour of the amazing facilities (and a sneak peek at the new Geddy Lee exhibit!)
I’m always intrigued by other acts who are postered over the walls having played the venue – lots of bands who are huge in Britain come over and play these more intimate shows. In Calgary I saw that Frank Turner had scribbled on the wall for a gig he did with Arkells – now there’s a great line-up.
Craig tagged the Highgate dressing room. We should put this on a t-shirt.
We’ll also scope out the corridors and stage doors of the venue to figure out where’s best to enter and exit the stage. Sometimes it’s walking through the crowd or via a bar, which can make for an entertainingly awkward encore.
Setlist – the setlist is collaboratively written and printed. It’s an interesting process to see this put together – usually the previous night’s set is a good template to work from, but the following factors can influence decisions on songs:
What worked really well in the last few nights?
Have we had shows for a few nights in a row, and therefore do we need to consider changing some of the more vocally demanding songs?
Are we going to reintroduce a song back into the set that hasn’t been played for a while?
The pre-show house music playlist spins as people take their seats. This is one of Steven’s Spotify playlists and you can catch a glimpse of it on Steven’s Instagram Q&A.
Port Cities take the stage and fill the room with their soaring harmonies. Seriously, have you heard them? So good. Get in early to catch their set – you won’t regret it. We all sing along backstage as they play.
Port Cities – bringing the glamour to the Steven Page tour…
They usually come say hi at the merch table during the intermission too, if being sociable is your thing.
In the last 20 mins before showtime:
The stage is changed over between Port Cities and Steven’s set. Our set-up is pretty simple and Kevin and Craig will come out to tune their instruments. I’ll lay out waters, beers, setlists and hand towels. Sometimes the hand towels are scented – this is highly likely to be discussed during the show. Particularly if the scent is ‘musk’.
Craig and I will very carefully choose which IPA from the rider we would like for the stage. This is an important decision. Nothing too malty. Many taste tests are required. Kevin will say he doesn’t want a tequila for the stage, but will inevitably drink the tequila I put on stage for him.
Our in-ear packs, lovingly prepared by Paul Forgues
Paul will say “Alright Gents, see you on the beach!” and take up his place at the sound desk. He will ask me to flash him when Steven, Craig and Kevin are ready. I will make the same joke about ‘flashing’ as the previous 19 nights.
Someone will fart
This sets off a chain-reaction of farts
Steven, Kevin and Craig take the stage leaving me in a dressing room hotboxed with farts. Keep this in mind as you’re enjoying the first few songs, I’m really happy for you and your neutral air.
The show begins.