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© Riccardo Arena/Demotix/Corbis
Is planning something so extensive as much work as booking a whole tour?
“I think even more so. On a tour, you basically put together your bill and it stays consistent for four to six weeks or whatever. With this, it’s a very concentrated thing with over two dozen bands. For me, the scheduling has been a nightmare – I’m the one working out who’s gonna play when and on what stage. And because of the cross-pollination, I have to be careful that nobody’s getting double-booked. Then I had to try to accommodate every band so that fans can have a chance to see them all. It’s a lot to work out; I feel like I’m trying to figure out the ultimate Sudoku. [Laughs] But I’m like a kid in a candy store. I’m putting together my ultimate prog event.”
There’s so much attention to detail – you’re going to need a cruise to recuperate from the cruise!
“Actually, I joked about that to my wife. I said, ‘This is gonna be a vacation for you and everybody else on board, but this isn’t a vacation for me. It’s like I’m running Woodstock on a boat.”
I’m curious – did you approach any bands who wanted to do it, but one of the members said, “Hey, man, I’m not good on boats.” Anybody afraid of seasickness?
“Nobody admitted it, no, but I do have a feeling about that. Out of my wish list of about 30 bands, I was able to get most of them – 23 or so. Of the handful that had to decline, some of them had legitimate scheduling conflicts. There were a couple that didn’t, so I started to wonder, ‘Hmm… maybe they’re just scared.’ [Laughs] You never know.”
Well, as you said, it sounds like the ultimate prog experience.
“It’s going to be amazing. Even if these bands were just playing normal sets, it would be incredible. But we have a lot of special things planned – lots of special guests. I know that Spock’s Beard and Neal Morse have talked about maybe reuniting for a song or two – we’ll see what happens. It’s really going to be a historic prog event. Let’s just hope there’s no icebergs in the middle of the sea – we’ll blow the entire genre in one shot!” [Laughs]
For more information on Progressive Nation At Sea, visit the event's official website.