I’m convinced my equipment has some form of supernatural skullduggery going on in its inner workings. At practice on Thursday night, everything was working magnificently. The levels were all set, everything was good to go.
Friday, one hour to doors…. nothing.
My dad is here early. He is supposed to play keyboards on Of Bridges Burned. We haven’t practiced it. Ever. That was supposed to happen now. Instead, I am pulling wires out of sound boards. He is instead sent to the car with a CD.
I struggle through an hour of painstaking piece by piece investigation of each component, they work individually, but thrown together in a masterful spiderweb of wires and lights, they simply refuse to cooperate. Someone shows me a CD. The artwork is wrong. The pedals are still not working.
John is calm and helpful, but its too late, doors are open…
John and Aaron both put on great shows. I feel awful… my mind still so frazzled and confounded by my equipment that I mess up my guitar parts playing in his band. I all but turn Aaron’s into a comedy routine, such is my frantic back-and-forth trying to make the right noises come from my now tangled and muddled stack of metal and rubber.
Eventually, once Aaron’s set is over, I’m at the merch booth tearing my entire pedalboard apart and starting from scratch. I’m writing circuit paths with a Sharpie on a torn up Wendy’s to-go bag.
This will be a makeshift board of sorts (it’s still in a pile) I think it may work well enough to do the trick, but it’s all theoretical. I’m taking the stage not even knowing if it will work. Theoretically, it should.
Theoretically, it should have done so 3 hours ago.
There has been a miscommunication. Zen Tree were told they were going on at 10:45pm as main support. I had planned to go on at 10:15pm as headliner. that’s almost 2 hours worth of discrepancy. No one has been on stage now for almost 20 minutes. Aaron is serving as go-between while I engineer pedals. The guys agree to go last, I’ll go as soon as this last cord fits.
My dad’s keyboard part goes off without a hitch, and after that, the night is kind of a blur. I’m wailing through Family Feud, and singing quietly over a guitar/banjo-turned mandolin for You Are Home, and Kansas I Decline is definitely a band song, and I’m getting the speed wrong on Which Drink, and before I know it, I’m making a choir, one-by-one and trying to play drums to a song I haven’t played in years. The monitors are turned completely off, and I’m trying to play drums to sounds coming from the back of the room.
And then it’s over.
One breath. Quick.
The flurry begins again. I’m tearing down gear, I’m moving tables of Rhodes, I’m looking for my picks, I’m moving guitars, and then I’m talking to friends I haven’t seen in years, and new faces and some familiar ones, and eventually everyone filters through, and the next band is playing and I… I’m just trying to slow down a little.
I’m laying on the floor under the merch table. The bass from the Zen Tree is infiltrating my entire body from the floor up. My head hurts. My back hurts. My feet hurt…. this process will be faster if i discuss what does not hurt.
My stomach does not hurt.
I get home at 2:45, and lay in a ball of ache until around 3:30 before the Advil PM starts doing its job.
This is the best job in the world. But tonight I know why jobs like tour manager and Roadie exist. I appreciate my family and friends more than ever.
And I can’t wait til this is an every-night occurence again.