That's right. Gonzo is going to do something really crazy. From his Guardian blog:
Months ago, when I decided to play the longest ever solo concert in the world, I had big ideas about how I'd get in shape. I booked the venue, contacted the people at the Guinness Book of Records, and planned a gruelling training regime to prepare me for the fateful night in May when I'd sit down to 27 solid hours at the piano.
The motivation? I believe that music is part art and part athleticism, so being on stage is a physical challenge even for an hour, much less 27. I'm a naturally competitive person, but being a Canadian living in Paris, I have found that most French singers whom I've challenged do not respond out of French "false modesty". So I've been forced to turn my aggression inward and compete with myself.
Now that the extravaganza is mere days away, I find myself putting off any hard physical labour. Won't the adrenaline be enough? I am, after all, accorded five minute breaks each hour by the Guinness adjudicator who will sit vigilant throughout my show. Won't that be time enough to splash some cold water on my face, down a miso soup and smoke a well-earned cigarette?
I have consulted a sleep specialist about how to be best awake for a midnight kickoff, when midnight is usually my time for kicking off to bed. Plus, I will consult a finger acupuncturist – with his help this marathon will truly be a joint effort. Yes, I'm making bad puns to compensate for my dread.
The concert begins at midnight on Saturday and I'm still finalising a list of 300 songs, for the first audience to choose from. A diligent assistant will cross out songs as I play them, and an updated list of remaining tunes will be distributed to the next audience. Foolproof? We'll see.
When I saw the nutritionist, he was cracking jokes about me fainting on stage. Ha ha Frenchy – but apparently it's not about protein; it's all about sugar. There's good sugar and bad sugar. Sort of like that old famous aphorism: "There are only two kinds of music, good and bad." Blueberries are good sugar.
Which brings me to my real terror in dealing with a 27-hour concert: how to guarantee a minimum of quality, given such an extreme quantity. Guinness has confirmed that the previous record for the longest concert by an individual is 26 hours and 13 minutes, held by Prasanna Gudi from India. Now without offending Mr Gudi, I dare say that Indian music has some natural advantages in the longevity department. Next to marathon-length ragas, my little itsy-bitsy solo piano miniatures and wry rearranged 1980s covers seem to come up short.
So how to keep the quality control in place when I may not WANT to play Michael Sembello's Maniac for 12 minutes? What if my demi-semi hit Working Together falls flat after a radio-ready three mins and 30 seconds? What if the overnight afterparty audience only picks "ironic" songs from the list, leaving me with the "serious" music for the last few hours? These are the questions on my mind today as I make a mental list of good and bad sugars, and good and bad music.
The real preparation is psychological: there is a Gonzo media blitz in Paris at the moment, and when certain journalists ask me point-blank if I've entertained the possibility of failing, I take the time to entertain it. I am, after all, an entertainer.