March 4th-8th 2003
Baja Prog, Mexicali, Mexico

By Ricocher


It doesn't often happen that a more or less unknown band is asked to play at a festival on another continent.
A dream came true for Ricocher when they went off to Mexicali, Mexico, to one of the world's greatest progfestivals: BajaProg.

Below you'll find an impression of that trip of Ricocher.

In advance

We did all contacts with organisation Cast in Mechico by e-mail and in good trust; to get things clear a contract was made.
We also contacted other bands who have been to Mexicali in previous years to inform about their experiences so we had full confidence that all would we well organised.

Tuesday, March 4th 2003

6.30 AM we went off for Schiphol-Amsterdam (together with our crew-members Luciën and Werner) to catch our plane to Chicago and further on to San Diego.
Already at Schiphol our suitcases were checked; the tensed situation because of Iraq, the fear for terrorism etc, made that the Americans would take no risks.
After a flight of 8 hours it was clear that in Chicago this fear was captured in several checkpoints: "seven guys from Amsterdam" with flight cases are very suspicious of course...
The Americans surely wanted to impress us...

We only did take our keyboards with us: the organisation of Baja-Prog had enough instruments that we could use.
All the CD's in our suitcases were attended but with some explanation all was accepted.

After a flight (including stops) of 20 hours we arrived in San Diego where we were picked up by the Baja-Progbus together with Magenta (UK), Amarok (Spain) and Pär Lindh (Sweden) and Focus (Holland).
Driving to the hotel would take another 4 hours. We got a shower and together we went to the welcome party at the house of Alfonso Vidales, keyboard player of Cast (Mexico) and organisator of Baja-Prog. After having been awake for 30 hours and drinking some booze we got to bed...

Wednesday, March 5th 2003

In the afternoon the festival is opened at the hotel. About 200 fans and participating bands are there to see a Mexican band playing some "prog-folk", it's not our style of prog, but it seems to be that on Baja-prog all kinds of prog will be heard. The audience appreciates it all !!

In the evening the festival is opened (again) at the Teatro Del Estado; is feels like the festival is now really opened. The first impressions of the Teatro are overwhelming.

The festival kicks off with Ars Nova: tree ladies from Japan, playing on the drums and various keyboards. It sounds very bombastic, carried by the drummer who has a feeling for show. We're not listening to the whole set, but we notice that a lot of festival-fans don't listen to the whole set of all bands: listening to more than 15 bands in about 3,5 days seems a lot...

Especially the performance of Cast, the second band of the evening, impresses us: Cast is playing some sort of heavy prog-rock, which style is about near ours.

Thursday, March 6th 2003

"As usual" we're lying around the swimming pool after our huge breakfast (our fans Leon and Marcel have arrived last night) watching all progfans that are around: they don't know us yet, but maybe that will change after this evening.

Early in the afternoon we'll leave to Teatro del Estado: the theatre with about 1.200 seats, to go for a sound check. The day before we already got an impression of it, but now it's up to us.
A lot of Mexicans are doing everything to please us regarding the sound check: it's all written down: from the equaliser till the guitar holder. It's all arranged very well.
We'll get enough time for our sound check: the empty theatre is very impressive...

At the hotel we'll get our evening meal and after that the evening is nearby; tension is going high. Our interim-keyboard player and also Bart are very nervous during the experimental rock session of the Mexican band (great musicians by the way) that's playing first that evening.

Than the curtain closes and we're on !
Out of the speakers we'll hear our biography in Spanish and English and we'll just go for it. About 700 progfans enjoy our progrock: all songs from our debut-album "Quest for the Heartland" and our album "Cathedral of Emotions" are being played.
We hide some little mistakes and it seems that we made a great impression because at the end we'll get a warm ovation.

Now all tension is gone: this is why we are here !!
We get a lot of compliments and 'of course' we need to put our autographs on posters etc and fans wants us on a picture (especially Erwin (with young female fans...)

We only see half of the Polish band Ankh because of all things we need to discuss with fans and with ourselves.
Afterwards some of us got to a salsa-bar together with our friends from Cast and others got directly to bed. It was quite an evening !!

Friday, March 7th 2003

This is our relaxing-day: just sitting around the pool with some beers etc and in the evening going to listen to Ange (France) and Focus.
Especially Ange is nice toe hear/see in this theatre with their prog-stories. Father and son (behind the keyboards) are impressive, also when the son plays and sings a song on his own. We had contact with Ange at the hotel and talked about a future corporation.

Then Focus was ahead: they're still immense popular on this continent.
Thijs van Leer wasn't capable to play the flute because of a virus/infection, but everything Focus played made the fans enthusiastic: of course they played Hocus Pocus at the end of their show.
All members of Focus were very interested during these days and Thijs had a lot of stories and gave us information for us a band regarding a tour.
The salsa-bar (and the dancing ladies) afterwards was unique...

Saturday, March 8th 2003

Saturday afternoon Pär Lindh and the Italian PFM-band are playing for a full house in Teatro. All progfans get crazy: we surely want to play on Friday or Saturday next time !!

Saturdaynight we have to say goodbye to Mexico: the bus brings us around 2.00 AM in the night to San Diego.
The Japanese manager of Ars Nova is interested in us and we promise to keep contact. Of course we are being picked out at the border: a club of Spanish, Dutch and Japanese people with a Mexican driver who doesn't speak English is asking just for it...
The Americans try to impress, but that's it.

Monday morning March 10th, 2003, 7.30 AM

we're back at Schiphol.
All suitcases and also the keyboards are back: the transport had been perfect.
Now we conclude that we better had taken our own instruments because you play better on your own instruments, but we didn't know that it all would work out so well.

Now we have an idea to have fans all over the world: we can't imagine what our future will bring because of this trip and the contacts with other bands, but Ricocher did take a step into the right direction!! It was a great and educative trip !!


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