The Dreamer's Hotel (Live at Alexandra Palace, London UK).
Exactly one year ago today, we played the first night of the Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible UK tour. Postponed a couple of times due to Covid lockdown guidelines, the necessary rerouting of the tour around venue availability meant that, after two years enforced rest from live shows (not counting the Download Pilot of summer 2021 and a couple of rescheduled shows hanging over from early 2020), our first show back on tour proper ended up being a sold out 10,000 capacity Alexandra Palace. No pressure, then.
Luckily, we managed to add some small warm-up shows a week before. Turns out they were going to become even more important than just reminding us what it was like to be back on stage.
24 hours before the tour was due to start, Chris tested positive for Covid.
Suddenly, not just the Ally Pally, but potentially the whole first week or more of the tour was thrown into jeopardy. We couldn’t risk exposing our crew, the support bands or the audience to potential infection, but we also didn’t consider it possible to play one of the biggest headline shows of our lives without our brother Batty C.
As luck would have it, we had always planned to be in Ally Pally for the whole of the Friday ahead of the Saturday’s show. So, with the entirety of the tour personnel all in one place already, emergency meetings were called, hair was pulled out, nerves were frayed, but an eventual plan was hatched.
Rory C stayed up the entire night, painstakingly editing a multitrack recording we had fortunately made of the Bexhill-On-Sea warm-up show a few days earlier. Chris’s bass, vocal and keyboard parts were inserted into the timecode of the electronics, and his essence (ie: a load of samples of his between-song pronouncements) living strong within his keyboard. A 25% “robot Shikari” was born.
The show itself started out nerve-wracking, but the warmth and generosity of the crowd soon elevated us, and a video call-in from Chris during the encore put a smile on everyone’s face. It goes without saying we have our crew and every single person in that room on the night to thank for their assistance in snatching a “victory” from the jaws of what certainly looked like defeat less than a day earlier.
Would we have filmed the show if we’d known sooner that it wasn’t going to be a “proper” version of the band? Probably not. But, given that everyone was already there, and the money already spent, we felt it made sense to record this strange situation for prosperity.
“A document from unprecedented times”, if we may be so bold.
To add a further twist to the story of this footage; Early in 2022, we sent the files to our friend and colleague Oleg Rooz in Kiev, Ukraine to bring his editing skill to the project. A couple of weeks later, the Russian military invaded his country. Though power shortages / blackouts and the constant fear of shelling, Oleg worked to edit the show footage into what you see now. We’re grateful for his dedication, and send love and strength to him and his family.
Our long-time friend and crew member Joe Crouch mixed the audio recording. Which, apart from having to deal with us, makes his job the easiest one of the whole affair :)
To answer the obvious question; Yes. You’ll see the whole show eventually. Let’s not concern ourselves with that right now.
Thank you to everyone who made this show work, and everyone that came along and made it what it was. AND thank you to everyone that came to any of the shows, no matter how many of us there was or wasn’t onstage. You made it wonderful to be back.
Welcome to The Dreamer’s Hotel. We hope you enjoy your stay.
Enter Shikari - Dec 4th 2022.