Kaotican Alphabet

Roadie #42 – Blog #53

#42 and the exit strategy

I start the day in Minnesota by going to the wrong arena. I’ve left the hotel in search of breakfast and spot the Target Center where we played last time we were here. Although I’m not due in for a good while yet, I know that catering will be up, so I wander over. I spend a good couple of minutes explaining to the folks on the back door at the Target Center that I’ve left my laminate at the hotel before eventually realising I need to back up and ask a fundamental question. "Do Coldplay have a show here today?" "No sir, that is the Xcel Center," comes the reply. I thank them kindly and wander off looking for somewhere to get a coffee.

I turn around the next corner and bump into the first band I ever went on tour with. They have a show at a theatre here and their gear is being rolled off the back of the truck into the loading dock. I wander in to say hello and end up having my breakfast with them instead. Touring is excellent for the fact that not only do things like this happen out of the blue quite regularly but also, they seem completely normal until later. These are people I haven’t worked with for over ten years and here we all are a few thousand miles from home having a catch up over coffee. If I’d have taken a left instead of a right out of the hotel, I’d never have even known they were in town.

It’s another soundcheck party today and there’s a bit of work to be done on the Prospekt’s songs before the band arrive, so myself and soundman Dan Green head in early. When the soundcheck gets going, Chris notes that someone in the gathered crowd has two broken legs. It seems the least they can do to play a song for them, so Chris asks what they’d like to hear. The request comes up that they’d like "Parachutes". There has to be a gag somewhere in someone with two broken legs wanting a parachute, but I might have to get back to you on that. After Life In Technicolour II and Prospekt’s March, Chris gets out the acoustic and gives Parachutes a go. I can’t imagine when the last time he played it would be, but I’ll wager it’s been a few years at least. Wonder if it’ll ever get played again?

The St Paul show is notable particularly for the return of the mobile phone glowsticks during the Viva Remix. Not seen that for ages and it always looks utterly utterly amazing. Lets hope it’s making a comeback…

After the show, I make my way to the van for the runner. The band’s vehicles are inside, close to the stage at the bottom of a ramp in the loading dock. The van I’m in is outside, so I head up the ramp and hear Jackie, (who is in charge of venue security) shouting up at the guy who controls the roller shutter. She’s rather keen that the huge metal shutter go up so that the band’s vehicles can get out. He seems to be cheerfully oblivious. She’s shouting louder and the door is doing a lot of nothing. As I get closer, I begin to realise that it’s not that he can’t hear, rather that his key is having no effect. He’s employing the age old technique of swearing rather colourfully at the key, but to no avail.

It’s all rather excellent. The police car has started up outside, there are fifteen thousand or so folks streaming out of the venue. The band are in their vehicles inside and a man with a bit of a worn out key has ground everything to a halt. I decide that the most useful thing I can do at this point is get my video camera from the van and so head outside. Sadly, before I get back to record the chaos, the shutter groans into life and things continue as planned.

We arrive at our new hotel after a few hours’ travel. We’re staying at a rather posh ‘resort’ which means that it’s not like a normal hotel where you walk in, get given your key and then walk to the lift (elevator). Here, somebody has to "meet us at the gate" and then we are escorted on by golf buggies. Things soon descend into a farce of driving back and forth trying to work out where exactly everyone is staying. The fact that everyone is half asleep means things are surreal enough. The fact that they keep referring to the blocks of accommodation as ‘compounds’ as the golf buggies swarm around like angry bees means that it feels a little as though we’ve landed in the middle of some weird religious cult run by the Banana Splits.

I think I may spend the day off keeping my head down…

Roadie #42