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Chad Amborn of The Alrights and former Twin Ports biggie Crazy Betty was called at the last minute to fill in for the drummer of a major band leaving in a few days for a show in Lagos, Nigeria.
“Evidently the main drummer for Alexander O'Neal had issues with his passport or getting a Visa or something like that,” Amborn said. “I was hired at the last minute to play with him for a show in Lagos, Nigeria. O'Neal is an R&B singer best known in the 1980's and early 90's. He was originally with The Time before Morris Day replaced him. Along with Wyclef Jean, they were headlining a really cool fundraising event for the Lagos Preparatory School there. To my understanding, the music director went through the usual names in the Minneapolis scene, but the other drummers couldn't do it for one reason or another. My buddy Erick Ballard, who is with Bernard Allison, called me up and asked if I wanted to do it.
Luckily for Amborn, he had recently updated his passport.
“I had just gotten my passport a month or two earlier for a trip to Ireland and Scotland and so there was no red tape there. I was free to do it and said yes,” Amborn said.
With everything happening so fast Amborn had very little time to prepare for the shows, but he was able to meet quickly and get the tunes down.
“I was asked on a Thursday and then drove down to the cities to practice the following Tuesday and Wednesday.” Amborn said. “Then I had to fly out that Thursday. We flew back from Lagos that Sunday, so I was only there for a few days.”
Last weekend The Alrights had a show at Norm’s in Superior, which is a far cry from the audiences he saw in Nigeria. I asked what his thoughts were of the people he met on his trip and how it compared to a typical Twin Ports show.
“I love The Alrights’ fans and local shows in general because it's so personal and I've gotten to know a lot of our followers personally,” Amborn said. “I love that they come to see the band and us individually. With O'Neal, the fans are there for him, not the band itself. So naturally that plays a factor in the atmosphere of the gig in general. The audience in Nigeria was certainly fired up because there was an American R&B legend playing for them. I didn't have any time to mingle with the audience and fans with the exception of the backstage and hotel people. They were all very kind and extremely grateful though.”