THE DAY BEFORE WE
LEAVE THE US:
Informed that hotels for all crew members have been cancelled.
expected to live on the bus for the duration of the entire tour.
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
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
the trusses high enough in the air to wheel in the PA at around
comes back down until about 3:30. Soundcheck is meant to be at
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
to not work...His guitar direct. No PA techs anywhere to be found.
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
I invoice my P A Company for $100. The policia order that the
to open. The punters enter. The Artist is still at FOH mixing
The crowd does not take long to figure this out. FOH begins to
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
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.
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
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
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
being called by my name. I am excited about a common courtesy.
pathetic. The load out, however, goes until about 9am. We are
to an abandoned sports arena elsewhere to shower. The showers
pipes sticking out of a wall. Way third world kind of vibe, expected
Sandinistas to burst in with machine guns at any moment The water
, 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
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.
actually sounds pretty good. The cient comes to FOH and fixes
My ears hurt. Everyone's ears hurt. The Prince heads for the stage
proceeds to do same to monitor mix. The Prince loses his temper
screaming "GARDENING" at the top of lungs. Prince informs
a PA tech
that he should take up gardening as opposed to this. Power fails
again. We eventually get around to doing the show. The Prince
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
show. He spends half the first song chanting my name. Chanting
and telling me that this is my last chance. "Your last chance
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
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
but of course other things go wrong in the audio department. The
informs me that he has 2 local engineers coming in to do monitors
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
following new monitoring arrangement. The stereo FOH mix will
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
tells me that this guy is coming in to help me because he is familiar
music. Yeah, I'm not after nine weeks. Whatever. Prince's guitar
that for some reason he likes and trusts, me. My still being here
weeks is meant to be proof of that.
So you want to go on the road?