On the Road

Standing on stage as the performer.
Managing all points of stage as the production & stage manager.
Standing under the drum riser as the drum technician.
Standing stage left in guitar world as the guitar tech.
Standing stage right as a light tech, awaiting lighting cues.
Standing in the quick change as the wardrobe assistant.
Standing at the front of house, executing the show.
Standing in the audience; being the audience.

One show, hundreds of perspectives, yet only one objective: To be apart of a big rock show. Those who work on the tour will only see it from their position. Some get to roam freely & see it every way possible. So many shows in one, it’s rather incredible.

I roam freely and it’s amazing to stand with the crew guys in each department as the show takes place. To witness it thru their eyes, it certainly lends to the bigger picture. Because without each crew member, an aspect of the show might not exist; a show cue may never get executed. No role is insignificant.

Without a band, there is no crew. Without the crew, there is no show. And without either, this web site wouldn’t exist.

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Flash back....

I find myself in New Orleans, at our end of tour party. I’m sad the tour is over, yet, so bloody anxious to sleep in my own bed. Temporarily putting an end to the days of applying mascara in the tour bus, as its flies down the freeway en route to the next gig. And before the last show of the tour, I somehow end up with yet another responsibility, a new skill to add to my resume; midget wrangling…… allow me to elaborate.

Our singer found it most amusing to have some hired help to keep the party rolling well into the night, so enter stage left – Minikiss. Yes, I know its not politically correct but for those of you unaware, Minikiss are simply midgets dressed as Kiss. When I hired them for the party, they were completely unaware of who they were working for. They thought it to be another dull ass corporate party, with an evening full of rednecks making fun of them. Instead, they found themselves performing for a band they all admired. Naturally, I told them who they were working for only an hour before they were due on stage…. then nervousness ensues and they could only find the means of performing by doing shots of Jagermeister followed by a few swigs of Jack.

The performance was like watching a train wreck….you can’t help but watch. Then, after an hour of annihilation on the ear drums, paired with visual bemusement….. my midgets for hire are merry & completed muddled. My only thought at this point; get them back to the hotel, as I’ve done enough babysitting. And with the helping hands of a few lovely crew guys, we manage to extract Minikiss from the bar and facilitate their wobbling down Bourbon Street, into the car of someone who offers us a ride.

So, there I sat, in Lincoln full of little people, who are pissed drunk. Three in back seat, one mini Peter Chris on my lap in the front and god only knows who’s driving us back to the hotel. Once again, I find myself in yet another situation where I marvel at how I got here. Of course, I am laughing all the way, as I am getting paid to partake in such madness…… where’s a camera when you need one!?

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On the Road

What is the common factor that links an artist, the audience & a crew together?

They all want “that moment” to feel special, validated. They want to be seen & heard, all within the forum of a big rock show. In the chaos of thousands of people, hundreds of lights, stacks of boisterous speakers…. into the madness backstage and moving the circus from city to city in 10 trucks & 7 tour buses – everybody wants “that moment” with the artist.

The artist is guaranteed validation; they have thousands of devoted fans. At this level, as long as each show sells out – they can be secure in the fact that more attention is on its way. Which raises them continually to higher ground. To the place where one becomes untouchably, out of reach. Attaining this stature, all with the help of an arena full of strangers, night after night. The artist lifts the audience thru their music so in turn; the audience elevates the artist with their adoring enthusiasm. They both feed & perpetuate each other.

SO, where does the crew fit in? Well, without the crew, you have no show & without an artist, the crew is out of work. The crew strives to make ease of a creatively challenging show, to keep the artist happy even if their efforts go unnoticed. Although, nothing goes unnoticed but we all want it acknowledged. And, at some point, every crew member gets “that moment” with the artist that makes them feel special and validates years of effort within a simple moment.

From the girl in the front row who whole-heartedly believes the singer sings only to her and is quite certain he winked at her. To the tour manager who manages to find an English speaking doctor in Hiroshima, without the aid of a translator, for her convulsing guitarist who refuses to have an ambulance called to take him to the hospital. To the performers themselves for when the show doesn’t go exactly as planned, their manager & spouses cheer them thru & remind them how amazing the show was…… we all want that moment for someone to tell us we did well, regardless of where we are in the pecking order of life.

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On the Road

In typical fashion, I find myself at Tampa airport for another round the world journey.

Destination du jour: Montreal. Kicking off the New Year in another hotel, another venue, another tour bus and as much as I look forward to the seven week journey, I simply wish I could remain home. I need to mentally digest all of the holiday festivities but mostly, I want to reflect on 2006. So many places traveled, so many countries transcended, so many great memories…… I glance back and know I’ve done a lot but I fear I’ve never really savored what was taking place. Traveling and working at such a break-neck pace, you can lose sight of where you are, where you’ve been and where you are going. When you’re on tour, you count the days until you return home and once home – days are counted until you leave again. This year, I will stop counting days as I want to savor, drink in & digest along the way…

All the very best for us all in 2007!

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