Kaotican Alphabet

Roadie #42 – Blog #180

#42 recounts his experiences at the New Jersey shows

For touring folks, New York is a great place to spend time. Everything you could possibly want is within walking distance or a short cab ride from the hotel. This, of course, can play havoc with your cashflow, but hey – that’s what per diems are for…

For the band, it’s almost another hometown run. They are all staying away from the hotel with families for the duration. This makes the New York (or more accurately New Jersey) shows also somewhat like hometown gigs. The backstage is buzzing with friends and family and the guestlist meanwhile, is just buzzing.

Not buzzing at the first New Jersey show was my phone. Quite often venues can be in remote enough areas to have patchy reception – or maybe it’s being inside a concrete box? Maybe it’s the huge concentration of folks in one place, who all want to take photos and post them to Facebook as soon as possible?

Whatever the cause, the text message saying that the plan has changed and we’re doing a runner doesn’t reach me during the show. Normally, I’m out the back door before Every Teardrop has finished – in the belief that we’re sticking around, I decide to get out and take some photos during the bits I normally miss.

Suddenly, Production Co-ordinator Nicole is waving frantically at me and miming “runner”. Bollocks. The tune reaches Will’s drum outro and I’m ramming my laptop in the rucksack and heading for the vans. Almost as soon as we emerge from the underground ramp, everyone’s phones start vibrating en masse as the entire evening’s communications hit them all at once.

The runner is headed to the aftershow in the city. I’m undecided. I’m still keeping UK hours, so I’ve been up since 7am. There’s also a soundcheck scheduled that requires me to be able to function as close to professionally as I’m able. I make it three minutes into the party and bail. There’s always tomorrow night.

I wake to find a message sent at gone 4am that soundcheck is off. Clearly it’s been a good one…

Both New Jersey shows are rowdy and celebratory. I have a guest at the second, who informs me that his 16-year-old daughter has accompanied him and has proclaimed it the “best experience of her life”.

You do sometimes forget that that’s what’s going on out there – and it’s always good to be reminded!

The second night’s aftershow is predictably somewhat more subdued and sedate than the first. I stay for a couple glasses of red and as folks start to head off, I jump in a van with the ‘early one’ posse. We have two days off in town coming up. What was I saying about disappearing per diem? Must *not* go looking at camera stuff at B&H – no no no…