Kaotican Alphabet

Roadie #42 – Blog #37

#42 and the jolly green beer man

The "intro tape" on this run has been a double whammy of Jay-Z followed by the Blue Danube. Quite an odd pairing, I’m sure you’ll agree, but it works wonderfully well. Tonight in Rotterdam, keyboard tech Neill Lambert drags me over to stage right as the hip hop track kicks in. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be looking for until I get there. There is a roadie breakdancing face-off as everyone who lives and works on this side of the stage has gathered in a circle with their baseball caps on backwards. There’s some moves being busted here that defy description (certainly in polite company, anyway).

A small slice of the crowd seated up the side have a view and are applauding wildly. Now, given the sheer deliberately dreadful nature of the dancing, I assume that they’re clapping because they appreciate the joke. But, as I wander back to stage left as the Blue Danube begins, it dawns on me that it could be that they’re cheering because they think that they can see the band warming up to go on with some appalling electric boogaloo. I really, really do hope that’s the case – if so, there will forever be a tiny corner of the Netherlands with a permanently twisted image of the band and I like that very much.

Fast forward now to the B-Stage and in his little solo spot Chris goes to start The Hardest Part and decides that he just can’t be bothered with that particular song tonight. He ditched it at the last show, in favour of Don’t Panic and Reign Of Love. Tonight though, he’s taking requests. We get a little of Trouble before he decides he’s bored and asks for another. Quite whether someone actually did ask for Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen I’m not sure, but either way, he declines. What we do get is a little of Amsterdam. Given that we’re in the Netherlands, it’s only right…

The guys have had some pretty amazing guests join them onstage throughout their career. Elton John springs to mind, as do Michael Stipe and Jay-Z. Tonight though, there is a man in a green jumpsuit joining the fellas onstage. He’s not exactly a celeb, but he trumps all of the previously mentioned folks in one simple but important way. He has a barrel of beer strapped to his back.

Instead of going to the bar here at the Ahoy, folks can stay inside the arena and grab a beer from any of the passing bar staff who wander through the crowd carrying beer and plastic cups on their back. Talk about civilised! This poor fella has been collared and sent up on stage (I’m looking in Franksy’s direction). Guy, Will and Jonny all get a drink bought for them by Chris and then the wandering beer seller waves and leaves before Yellow kicks in.

As the audience file out into the night, I can hear a cheer going up amongst the remaining punters. It’s the kind of cheer you hear when the band dive back on for an unexpected encore. It’s been far too long since they went off though, so I poke my head up from the bunker to see what’s going on. At the back of the arena, four rather drunk fellas have climbed onto the platform where the band performed the acoustic section. They’re thirty-three sheets to the wind and staggering about with their arms in the air waving at their adoring fans. This kind of brings us back to where we came in – with part of the crowd cheering for a bunch of people they didn’t pay to see.

With that all nicely tied up, I think I’d better head to the bar. It’s the first night in a very very long time where the band and crew are all staying in the same hotel. This can only end messily and I intend to be there to see it happen…

Roadie #42