James Burton Club tour 2012 recap

Hi all!

Wow...it took me a while to be able and sit down and write this, but here's (a part of) my recollection of Mufkin Tass' short club tour with the legendary (and I'm glad we can call him our friend) James Burton.

We picked up JB at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on Monday, November 19th at 1PM. James was in good spirits when he arrived and some hugs and kisses later, we got to the car to take him to the hotel. We had some drinks and a quick lunch in the hotel restaurant, I had to head back to Goirle to pick up Ralph, Kimmie & Tommy Z and JB's guitar and amp and JB needed to get some sleep before going on national television with our good friend Danny Vera (who is a part of the cast of the TV show "Voetbal International") to promote the club tour.

We were a bit late (traffic was a b*tch) for rehearsal, but the members of Danny's band are real pro's so it didn't take them long to get their bit to sound right. The broadcast, including JB's performance of Susie Q, got into the top 20 of best-watched programmes that day:

When James' bit was done, he needed to head back to the hotel. We stayed behind as "shot fillers" for the remainder of the show.

The next day, I met up with James for breakfast at his hotel before driving him to Jachtslot De Mookerheide, where he needed to do some charity work for the James Burton Foundation. You can read the full story with accompanying pictures here. It's in Dutch, but I'm sure you guys'll find a Google Translate-tool to figure our what it says.

Anyhew, after a lovely lunch with "Tante Lenie" at Jachtslot De Mookerheide, I drove back to my hometown to pick up my daughter at ballet class. We had a surprise for James in store at 5.30pm, because the head chef of my favourite restaurant De Eetkamer (www.eetkamergoirle.nl) had prepared a special Thanksgiving (okay, two days too early, but hey...we had a show on the 22nd!) dinner. A big part of our family, the band and the crew was there, so it definitely was a FAMILY dinner. James and my dad carved the TWO turkeys and everyone enjoyed the feast thoroughly. Dessert, the crème brûlée, was according to James "the best I ever had". Here's a picture of JB and myself with head chef Tonny van Burk

JB, the chef and Mark

Wednesday was a busy day for James. It started off with a studio session for Danny Vera. It's a new songs that Danny wrote, that'll be on his new album. To keep track of that recording, check out Danny's website: www.dannyvera.com. Hearing Danny talk about it the next day, it sounded like a very successful session!

In the evening it was time to rehearse with Mufkin Tass. All of us still having had to do our day job (and some even battling the flu) and James a session, we burned out pretty fast. To be frank, the rehearsal was rusty at best. Not exactly the preparation I had in mind...

The next day, we met up with James at De Bosuil for the first gig. We were all pretty tense (or was it shaken up?) because of the rehearsal the day before. But we sounded good during the sound check. We were on a double bill with Danny Vera and his band Ordinary Men and they opened the show. Writing down a set list with James, we came up with the following:
1. Susie Q
2. Roll Over Beethoven
3. Great Balls Of Fire
4. Hello, Mary Lou
5. That'll Be The Day
6. A Little Less Conversation
7. Mama Tried
8. Gentle On My Mind
9. Only The Lonely
10. Ooh, Las Vegas
11. I'm A Believer
12. Blue Suede Shoes
13. Crying (unplugged, just James, Ralph, Kimmie and myself)
14. Something (unplugged, just James, Ralph, Kimmie and myself)
15. Only The Young (unplugged, instrumental just James and Ralph)
16. Take Me Home, Country Roads
17. Johnny B. Goode
Encore/finale: Oh, Pretty Woman (with Danny Vera)

The "unplugged" segment was an informal section of the show, where we basically played to songs that came to mind at the moment. James was really excited about that section and with every show it expanded. The show as a whole went over really well. We drew a good crowd and people really enjoyed both acts. Of course JB was the star of the evening and everyone got in line for an autograph. When the singing-session was over we kicked back and had a few beers and toasted to a job well done. There are some cool pictures on the website of De Bosuil, which can be found over here.

The next day we headed for The Hague. The sound check was short and sweet (because the van with all the gear got stuck in traffic) and James and I headed for the foyer for the Meet & Greet. James was courteous and kind to his fans and talked to everyone. To my surprise people also wanted to talk to me as well, so I chatted with some people too. JB actually left sooner than I did.

There was no other act on the bill that evening, so we decided Mufkin Tass would open the show with three songs. Those songs were "Goin' Back" (a new song that we wrote in Los Angeles this summer; it'll be on a live-in-the-USA-DVD soon!), "California Sunshine" and "Extraordinary" (which features James on dobro on our album). For the set list with JB that evening, we switched some songs around and added, "God Is With Us", "Suspicious Minds" and "In My Hour Of Darkness" to the regular set. We dropped "Crying" from the unplugged segment in favour of "In The Ghetto", "If You Love Me Let Me Know" & "Lawdy Miss Clawdy and kept "Something" (I can't believe people started booing, because I announced that we were gonna do a Beatles-song!) and "Only The Young" in. The crowd was really loud, especially during "Take Me Home, Country Roads" which is always a good thing! THANK YOU THE HAGUE!

After the show I met up with buddies Lex Raaphorst and Tex the Travelin' Man and actually missed saying goodbye to James. The next day we all had a day off and I enjoyed the day with my family. Tex went to see James and I heard there were good times had.

The final show came around all too soon. All of us, including James, Danny Vera (once again opening the show) and his friend & bass player Almer Kaasschieter, arrived early. The vibe was good. During the week prior to the show, the venue had SOLD OUT, so all of us were really excited to do a good show. For the acoustic segment, we quickly rehearsed "Early Morning Rain" and an instrumental version of "Over The Rainbow" (with Almer playing stand-up bass!) during the sound check.

Backstage we all shared the same dressing room (though more were available), sang some songs and shared a few laughs. This is what being a musician is all about!

Showtime: I told the audience we had waaaaay too many songs, but we would do them all none the less. This was greeted with great cheers. And if my memory serves me well, we DID play all the songs we rehearsed (except for the impromptu "Early Morning Rain"). During the acoustic segment we did "Something", "In The Ghetto", the Flying Burrito Brothers' classic "Sin City", a cool version of the country classic "She Thinks I Still Care" the instrumental "Over The Rainbow", Danny joined us for rocking versions of "Folsom Prison Blues" & "Mystery Train" and closed the jam session with a fiery version of Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman". Part of the jam session actually got televised on the local TV network, Omroep Zeeland.

Signing autographs with James after the show is always hectic but FUN! You won't believe how many items people bring to these sessions. Entire record collections! After the signing, it was group photo time:

The band and crew

Then it was time to say our goodbyes, but not after a group hug. The reward for a job well-done!

Group hug!

Of course as we speak...ehhhrrr...WRITE, the YouTubes are being filled with all the footage shot by fans in the audience. There's a playlist on my channel with all 14 (thus far) clips here.

Thank you all that took the time to come and see us and talk to us after the show. We hope to see you all again real soon. Somewhere. Over the rainbow.

God bless you,