H.O.R.D.E. Stories: Oteil Burbridge
John Popper, Oteil Burbridge and Trey Anastasio backstage at H.O.R.D.E. Photo by Steve Eichner
The current issue of Relix looks back 20 years to the very inaugural H.O.R.D.E tour, which debuted in July 1992 following a meeting between members of Blues Traveler, Phish, Widespread Panic, Spin Doctors, and Col. Bruce Hampton and Aquarium Rescue Unit (Bela Fleck & The Flecktones swapped in for Phish on the final four dates). Here, ARU bassist Oteil Burbridge shares his memories of the tour. To view all of our special H.O.R.D.E. content, which we will post over the coming weeks, visit www.relix.com/HORDE .
To read our cover story in its entirety, pick up a copy of the issue from newsstands or purchase one online directly from us. You can also purchase a digital copy of the issue or download the issue on your iPhone and iPad via our new iTunes app.
Can you recall your thoughts when you were told that ARU had been invited to be part of this new tour?
Not really unfortunately. That whole time was so surreal because the ARU was the first time that we purposefully started a band with no hope, and therefore no intention of doing anything but scaring normal people away. We certainly never expected in our wildest dreams to get a record deal or be invited to be on a big tour! I had never played on stages that big so I couldn’t even conceive of what it would be like. To me it was like some kind of dream that couldn’t really be happening. Honestly I wish I was older, or at least a lot more mature as a person because I would have savored it and appreciated it a great deal more than I did.
You guys were friendly with Widespread Panic. How familiar were you with the other bands (Blues Traveler, Spin Doctors, Phish, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones)?
I was more familiar with the Flecktones because I knew Vic and Roy since I was nineteen. I knew the guys from Phish and Blues Traveler some but not nearly as well as after that tour. Everyone was so great to work with. It’s funny ‘cause I remember predicting at the time that the Spin Doctors would be the first of that group to actually get on the radio.
What was it like moving from clubs into amphitheatres? What were the challenges?
I still hate it honestly. The sound sucks if there’s any kind of shed or tent top. At least from the stage. My favorite (of outdoor places) are the state fairs or any other places like Sarasota Bluesfest that have no tops. The sound gets eaten up immediately by the air instead of reverberating around endlessly and feeding back. Of course if it’s really windy the wind can carry the sound off which isn’t so great for the soundman, or the audience I would imagine. My favorite place is like a 1,000 seat theater. Actually the Fox Theater in Boulder is still my favorite. But people are not just coming for music, they’re coming for lights, a big crowd…..... an EVENT. I get it. So we all sacrifice for the bigger picture. But I would much rather see Herbie Hancock at the Fox than at Lakewood Amphitheater!
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