THE DAY BEFORE WE LEAVE THE US:
Informed that hotels for all crew members have been cancelled. We are
expected to live on the bus for the duration of the entire tour. There are
to be 14 on our bus.
FIRST SHOW DAY:
Marbella, Spain. It's a bullring. It's really a bullring. Complete with a box
for "El Presidencio" and lots and lots of incredibly fine clay dust. It's less
than 120 feet in diameter and seats about 5000 in the round for a bullfight.
Distance from FOH to stage: maybe 40 feet. All ground support. ONE way in
for ALL the gear. Completely filled by ramp to stage. Lampies finally get
the trusses high enough in the air to wheel in the PA at around 11am. It
comes back down until about 3:30. Soundcheck is meant to be at 5:30.
Doors are meant to be at 8pm. Soundchek is moved to 7:30. Prince
comes in and proceeds to start doing the soundcheck at FOH. Of all things
to not work...His guitar direct. No PA techs anywhere to be found. I finally
find the mic cords and change the cable myself. It still doesn't work. Of the
200 or so cables, I happen to grab the bad one. The Prince fines me $100.
I invoice my P A Company for $100. The policia order that the doors are
to open. The punters enter. The Artist is still at FOH mixing the band.
The crowd does not take long to figure this out. FOH begins to draw said
crowd. Prince jumps off FOH riser and runs(!) to the stage. Prince,
surprisingly enough, goes easy on our new montor engineer Sean.
Prince informs one of the PA guys that he's not very good and should
really get out of this business. Prince soloes forever. The crowd thinks
this is swell. It is now 10:10 pm. The crew has not eaten all day. I am handed
a CD and told to play a certain track very loudly. I do. I realize the crowd is
beginning to chant "MAYTE!" (his wife). Mayte, and entourage, is being led
by security to FOH. She crams so many people behind my desk(s) that I am
pushed into them. She informs me that she will be giving me cues. She then
proceeds to start pushing faders. On my desk. I don't have to tell you what
one is NOT to do in this situation. Prince begins calling me by name
from the stage, asking me to turn up his guitar, piano, etc. The rest of the
crew congratulates me. If he doesn't call the FOH mixer by name from the
stage, he calls you "Fool." If he calls you fool, you're on your way out. If he
calls you by name, it means he likes you. I am excited. I am excited about
being called by my name. I am excited about a common courtesy. I am
pathetic. The load out, however, goes until about 9am. We are then taken
to an abandoned sports arena elsewhere to shower. The showers are just
pipes sticking out of a wall. Way third world kind of vibe, expected the
Sandinistas to burst in with machine guns at any moment The water however
, is clean hot and plentiful. It could be worse, I guess. We then ride the bus
for 35 hours, headed for Rotterdam. Since we have no hotel rooms in
Rotterdam, we hang out in Amsterdam for the afternoon.
THE SECOND SHOW DAY...
City: Rotterdam. Venue: The Ahoy. Good sized arena, PA takes FOREVER
to go up. Get line check completed in time by the skin of my teeth. The mix
actually sounds pretty good. The cient comes to FOH and fixes said mix.
My ears hurt. Everyone's ears hurt. The Prince heads for the stage and
proceeds to do same to monitor mix. The Prince loses his temper and begins
screaming "GARDENING" at the top of lungs. Prince informs a PA tech
that he should take up gardening as opposed to this. Power fails at FOH
again. We eventually get around to doing the show. The Prince fires the
monitor engineer from the stage halfway through the gig. There is a club
gig elsewhere after this show. I am informed that I have to do this club
show. He spends half the first song chanting my name. Chanting my name
and telling me that this is my last chance. "Your last chance to dance."
The house engineer brings me a six pack of Heineken. It is consumed.
We eventually get on the bus to head for Brussels at about 7am.
We have hotel rooms in Brussels. We are excited about this. We are excited
about hotel rooms. We are excited about a standard tour practice.
Are we pathetic? Or what?
ON TO THE NEXT SHOW!
Uh, Brussels, B. A smaller arena. Very reverberant. The PA goes up quickly,
but of course other things go wrong in the audio department. The Prod Mgr
informs me that he has 2 local engineers coming in to do monitors today.
He is going to hire 2 guys locally in every city. Yeah, I know, this is getting
zanier by the minute. It's about to get zanier. The next gig will feature the
following new monitoring arrangement. The stereo FOH mix will be sent
back to the stage, sans vocals. Then the vocals will be added at the monitor
board(s). I also find out today that a "FOH Assistant" will be arriving in
Stockholm. Prince calls me into the dressing room before the show and
tells me that this guy is coming in to help me because he is familiar with the
music. Yeah, I'm not after nine weeks. Whatever. Prince's guitar tech insists
that for some reason he likes and trusts, me. My still being here after nine
weeks is meant to be proof of that.
So you want to go on the road?
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