Wow! The fans were crazy loud! So cool and ouch, my ears. Being surrounded by so much energy is an instant thrill that flows excitement through everyone fortunate enough to be immersed. The band can feel it and reacts with their music, the crowd reacts to the band's spinning of the wheel with more energy and round and round it goes into a spiraling frenzy. Meanwhile, I am wedged firmly in the middle amongst and amidst the masses with the auditory blast of the band at my finger tips. Oh my, what is one to do when the audience's exuberance begins to drown out the band? Well, I turn it up of course, and so I did and so it was and so that spinning wheel spun even faster. Fun show!! Loud show! and just as in last blog I laid focus on the grumpy, greeders and other human feeders of Texas, today I would like to highlight the other side of the natural balance shared a glimpse of the amazing and magical energy of experiencing a massive clustering of humans on an adventure of smiles. Which the Texians do quite impressively well. Oh, did I mention that I do love Texas?
**** Dear Ratty ****
Hey Dave, I've finished reading through the log from day one until now and its been both interesting and fun. Thanks for doing something like this.
I have two questions though, and I apologize if you've already answered them already. I hear about rehearsals, and I think you mentioned them at one point. What are rehearsals for a live tour? Is it just the band rehearsing the songs they'll play, or do you set up a PA and get things tweaked?
The second thing I've been wondering about is the opening acts. Do they set their console up behind yours, and are they simply patched into your desk before they hit the PA? Also, do they share the lighting rig and snake?
Ok, rehearsals come in several flavors. With the Peppers, which do not perhaps follow the norm, there are the few month of pre album rehearsals with just the band in a small space where they do song writing and the band writes the music.
Then they record the album. Then they do pre tour rehearsals for a month or so pretty much all by themselves where they get up to speed rocking the tunes to start the tour. Then there are a few weeks of pre-production rehearsals with the monitor rig.
Next and overlapping and separately is a week or so of production rehearsals where the sound lights and video all set up in an arena and make sure all the sound, lights, video and staging gear interfaces and works together.
Finally there is usually a "production day" or two where the band and all the gear rock in unison preceding the first "real" show.
As far as my interaction, I increasingly "visit" as the tour approaches and listen and learn the new songs by hanging out. I spend a good amount of time at pre-production rehearsals and this last time, that is where we got the new Pro Tools recording rig all dialed in. I then move over to the tail end of production rehearsals, mess with the sound system a bit and off to tour, bye bye!
More typically, many large bands where theatrics are integral, will set up for an extended period of time in a large venue to get it all dialed with the band and production, but with the Peppers since it is truly and quite purely music oriented, with the production merely highlighting and drawing focus to the somewhat free form and constantly changing set list, we setup up cool gear, the band comes and rocks and there is not the weeks or more of choreography.
As far as support acts, you you pretty much hit the nail on the head. They either use a board that Rat supplies (Mike Watt) or quite often, as is the case with Gnarls and Mars, they bring in all their own FOH and monitor gear and patch into the the main PA system. Something of note is: Peppers/Myself always give support acts full control without restrictions or limitations over the sound system. It is truly a level playing field plus, support acts are given a sound check every show day and Peppers sound check perhaps once every six to nine months, if that. Though the Peppers backline techs do test the gear and play a song or two.
**** End Dear Ratty ****
For all y'all that are curious about the keyboard setup that Chris Warren, the drum tech, plays behind the guitar rig, here it is:
The controller on the left is hooked up to a Mac laptop and does the sound for snow. The one on the right is for the vocoder sound on Anthony's vocal on By the Way. Anthony sings and while he is singing, Chris plays the vocoder that creates an altered real time effect on his voice that shows up as an extra input to me. I then have to remember to turn it on and follow the level by hand and mute afterwards. Easy stuff, as long as everyone never forgets to do their part.