Santiago. Load-in day.
There's only a three-hour time difference between Chile and the UK so I was surprised how laggy I was last night. It's a hell of a journey mind (and I spent the previous night on an aeroplane) so I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised to find myself less than entirely chipper. Any residual doubt at the need for me to have gone on such a Basil Fawlty assault against the hotel management last night was swept away at breakfast, where I met at least two of my colleagues who were still unshaved and unshowered. I did wonder, in the quiet of the night, if I'd overreacted last night, but clearly not.
Team content gathered after breakfast to go over what is new for the show for this leg and beyond. I have high hopes for some exciting new elements and we've still got several months to go, so we may as well make the most of it.
Joe and I went into the venue at 2pm. It was the most gorgeous day and the Claw stood proudly above the edge of the stadium. We had lunch and chatted to many of our team-mates in catering. Everyone seemed to be in extremely good humour, probably aided by the fact of our full catering team being back with us. (We were on short-staff in Australia and even shorter staff in Africa, and it showed). Apparently Barak Obama is staying in the crew hotel. I couldn't help but wonder how his water supply was and if maybe they had any spare rooms there.
Upstairs at the mixer tower on the field, I located my workbox (a veteran road case that has been on tour since 1987 with U2, R.E.M., David Bowie and even Lady Gaga. Honestly, it could have its own documentary series). It's reasonable to say that I'm not an overly possessive chap but I do have certain privacy issues with my workbox being used as general storage. Actually, it's not even privacy, it's just that when the box gets rammed full, things get damaged. For years I've been having words with my colleagues at front of house about this, but (given that I leave first and arrive last) I have long suspected that my poor box has often been used as a 'mule' for god knows what. I've occasionally busted them, having found anything from clothing to hard-drives tucked away in there. Today I opened up the box and found four (count 'em, four) fans jammed in there, used for keeping the gear cool when the sun blazes on the mix position. I realised that, as my voice was clearly going unheard and my dignity being compromised (and, in truth because these were low-rent items) it was time to make an example. I called the crew-member responsible on the radio and let him know that I was about to start tossing the offending items from the top floor of the mix position. The first to go was a plastic fan that completely disintegrated on impact with the steel-deck pitch-covering below. Kaboom! It just exploded in wonderfully satisfying manner. A wail came over the radio, pleading for clemency (deaf ears, mate) but the guilty party just made it in time to catch the second plastic fan as it hurtled groundwards. 'OK,' I announced over the radio, 'here come the metal ones.' These were heavier than they looked but I did managed a successful launch, the first being caught by said crew-member, probably bruising several ribs, and the second clipping the barricade and ricocheting off across the steel-deck like an ice hockey puck.
There was an odd sort of silence following my casual tirade and it was only at this point that I realised the whole of the Chilean media was gathered right outside the mix position. There were a couple of dozen camera crews and countless stills photographers who were in the process of shooting newsreel footage, photographing the stage and interviewing our production manager and Live Nation representative. Their interviews having come to an abrupt halt, all were now standing open mouthed in astonishment at seeing airborne equipment being jettisoned from the top deck of the mix, being caught (or not) by a frantic roadie below. Much of this they were getting on camera, I might add, so tomorrow's press could be worth a look. As for me, I was practically wetting myself upstairs. Hopefully, that's a lesson learned. I'm guessing they won't stash any video monitors in my workbox now, at any rate.