Things look very different from the stage, part 3.5

I’ve decided to number this shit a little differently. This one shall be known as 3.5! My next show will be 4 and we’ll continue like that. Though, frankly, I’m not exactly sure what the whole point of these articles are.

If I had to say I was trying to explain something, I’d end up changing that every time. There doesn’t seem to be any basic message of importance. I guess, in a way, I’m trying to humanize your entertainment.

That’s what I am. I’m your entertainment. You pay me to entertain you. Given my experience in the industry, you now pay me quite well to entertain you.

Today’s gig is going to pay more than Dr. Hook was making.

We sing about beauty and we sing about truth,
At ten-thousand dollars a show.

I costs almost half that just to pay my band and any show expenses. They’ve been good band members, so they’ll be getting a bonus tonight. (They get paid the same amount and I pay them directly, processing the books afterwards. Otherwise, they’d have to wait for the check I just got to be processed.)

Err… Yes, yes some folks still do use checks!

We Too Have A Good Time

We’ll take the stage in not too much time. I was here earlier than I’d expected to be. Why? Because I suck at being retired. Also, I was pretty curious as to what went on at this event. I’d only been here, as a visitor, a few times. Now, I get to see what goes on behind the scenes.

I’m enjoying myself. I was walking around, largely incognito, and watching the people watch the bands. Right now, the high school band is playing on our equipment and they’re doing pretty well – even if they’re hamming it up.

Their lead singer has a good voice and plays a pretty good guitar for his age. I’ve seen the two guitarists switch lead and rhythm twice. I need to head back stage in just a little while and finish prepping the band.

When I say “back stage,” I’m using that term REALLY loosely. There’s no back stage like you’re thinking. There’s a couple of tents and we have two private portable toilets. The tents aren’t even adorned with stars! One is for males and the other is for females. I think…

I haven’t actually been in them yet. I still need to change and I should probably find out where to do that. I’m in jeans and a t-shirt. That’s just not appropriate stage clothing when my job is to make the locals dance and be a higher production level than they’re used to.

This event has no VIP tent. Nobody is paying to get in – though they do ask for donations and the rest is sponsored by local businesses and a goodly amount of income comes from the vendors.

Huh…

It’s occurred to me that y’all may not understand how show-vending works.

Trust me – it can be pretty damned complicated. I’ll give you a strange example.

In order to vend our merch, we’d have had to pay for a space and have x-amount of employees, signed such and such, have been able to be bonded, have met certain standards, occupy a specific space limit, etc… Yes, we’d have had to pay to sell merch at our own show.

No, that’s not a joke.

What we did is we cheated. I know the folks who organize and run this. They have donation space! We gave them a table full of merch and a second cash box, along with the ability to take credit cards, and they’ll keep 10% and that goes into funding for next year – and a couple of other events.

Curiously, we’ve already been asked about coming back next year. We haven’t even played yet. They’re thrilled to have someone fairly local to headline and, frankly, we’re already getting a good reputation. Which means, in theory, they’re collecting 10% of the total sales of our merch to pay us to play for ‘em again next year!

And that’s not even the strangest shit I’ve seen.

There is a beer tent! All alcohol must be consumed inside that tent and inside the roped off area around that tent. So, the drunk people will be able to see us. The rope wasn’t there yesterday.

Alright… I gotta get ready – I’ll type more on the ride home, I will be too tired to drive. (Note: I’ve avoided the beer tent. I think all they are selling is Bud.)

… (Insert time has passed music!)

Oh, wow…

You know how I said those kids were going to feel like rock stars? They did! They got called out for an encore and hadn’t actually scheduled that. So, we’re getting ready to set up and they ask if they can go back out. We didn’t see any problem with that – except we only had 30 minutes to do the change over.

So, they borrowed our keyboard player and one of the ladies went out and played the flute while we set up as much as we could around ‘em playing Stairway to Heaven. It was not very good, honestly. But they were rock stars.

They were, too. Their lead singer has a great voice.

We got ready, did a quick gear check, and went on just about on time. It’s okay – we played late. We were supposed to give ‘em an hour and a half of music, but we gave them like two hours and a little more.

For those that don’t know, we’re not wearing watches. Sound and effects are out there and keeping track of the time. Some will flash you with a light but I use an ear piece and run off that. They tried the ear piece and then they were waving at me and pointing at their wrists – like “check the time.”

It wasn’t dark enough to start the fireworks that they’re having tonight, so I said, “They’re telling me that my time is up, but you’ve been an excellent crowd. You want to hear some more?”

Then I promptly used my foot to adjust my own damned mic volume (I don’t trust sound people) and gave ‘em the best rock scream I possibly could! This, of course, made a few older folks decide it was time to get started in the direction of the fireworks.

Damned old people! (I’m an old person.)

And, you can tell the band’s been rehearsing together. I started GnR’s Civil War and the band immediately backed me and was in damned near perfect unison.

I’ll be home in like a half hour. I’m on the ride home now. Because of the travel distance, the youngest lady band member is going to spend the night at our house again tonight. The rest of them are showing some heart. They’re leaving the drummer to do load out and they’re heading to the bar. Hopefully they all get laid, get in a fight, and I have to bail ’em out on Monday.

Speaking of that drummer… I think I have two roadies now. I’m not really sure. The drummer said he’d pay out of his pocket for a couple of his friends to help us load in and out. (He makes more than the other band members.) They did a pretty good job, were dressed well enough, and were a pretty big help.

I gave ‘em each $100 and told ‘em that I’d like to see them next Friday night. They seemed pretty pleased with that amount and, I assume, are going to meet the rest of the band back down in Farmington, at the bar.

As normal, the crowd was awesome. They sang, they danced, they hooted and hollered. They lost balloons, toddlers danced, and old people meandered slowly around the outside of the crowd. They told me that it was “at least 17,000 people.” But, I’m calling bullshit. I’m pretty used to crowd estimating and I’d say we were lucky to break 10,000 – as there were quite a few who just passed through.

Again, it was a free event. It’s not like there was someone counting ticket stubs.

So, there you have it. There’s a night’s work. The key point is that I had just as much fun as the audience did. We all had fun and that’s the way it should be. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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