Kaotican Alphabet

Roadie #42 – Blog #106

#42 and the superstar rapper

It’s funny. We’re within sight of the finish line, which means we should be coasting to a nice comfortable finish. Things seem to be more hectic than ever though. Today in Glasgow, we have Radio 1 recording the show for a Live Lounge transmission. This means getting in early and soundchecking almost the whole set (albeit only half of every other song).

There’s also talk that Jay-Z will be up to do his bit in Lost tonight, so I’m busy under the stage fiddling about extending Will’s Hip-Hop drum loops in the middle section. Three shows to go and still making changes. I’m sure it’ll all settle down by Sunday…

After soundcheck, there’s a little acoustic session to do in the dressing room to go with the live broadcast of the show. It’s been a while since they’ve done anything like this, so it’s a bit of a roadie scramble to work out what’s going to be required to make it happen.

It ends up being a gloriously lo-fi affair. Mr. Champion notably spends some time modifying his egg shaped shaker as it seems too bright and loud for the song in question. Two paper napkins is deemed to be the correct amount of acoustic damping (along with a towel around the tambourine).

When I slip into the recording, they’re giving Shiver a try, which is a bit of a blast from the past. Chris points out, "We’re on gig one hundred and fifty something and we haven’t played this song at any of them.

It’s a bit of a nervy start. Not only have they not played the song for a long time, but they haven’t done an acoustic thing for a while. Initially, there’s lots of nervous laughter and joking about forgetting how to play it. They make it through one version, fluffing only the ending. They jump back into it playing another ending that can be edited on.

Straight away though, Chris suggests doing it once more. Suddenly things snap into place and it’s clear that this is the one. Every head in the room is nodding and it’s pin-drop quiet besides the band. They finish to a round of applause from the few of us assembled and Phil Harvey immediately jumps up and suggests that it should make a return to the setlist.

There’s a single beat of silence from the band that’s enough to say that it’s very unlikely. Suddenly, we’re back to laughter again and it’s all over.

Cutting to the show now, we’re in front of another huge and roaring crowd. Glasgow has long had a reputation for rowdy crowds and with good reason. They’re in fine voice from the off and there’s people on shoulders and flags a-plenty.

So yes, Lost. It says on the set-list that Jay-Z is coming up. We’re off into the second verse and I still can’t see him. I’m starting to worry that it’s all going to fall on its arse. With mere seconds to spare, he emerges up the backstage ramp and wanders onto stage like he owns the place. Pretty soon, he does.

My other strong recollection is of watching the butterflies. Tonight, the heat of the Glaswegians means that rather than fluttering downwards on the heads of the crowd, a good deal of the butterflies are floating up on the warm air out of the stadium roof. It genuinely looks as though thousands of them have been released and are making a break for it into the night sky.

Pretty soon we’re doing the same.