Mexico City, you can feel the altitude when you breath and welcome to one of the largest cities on the planet earth rating somewhere between 10th and 3rd depending on your definition of city. What do we love about Mexico? Well, the food, the people, the weather, the oceans and the very human feel to everything surrounding. It is ok to be happy here and ok to have fun. So what happens when you mix a bunch of roadies, stir in some tequila and ship them all to Mexico, well....
they take pictures of course!
But all is not perfect and that brings me to
**** Issue of the Day ****
Ok, as y'all are quite aware, I am not renown for being the best keeper of things. Items love to escape me and like the boy who called wolf, when I lose something, I am rarely afforded much more than a smile and when I claim "I swear, it is not my fault, someone has captured it, I did not lose it." Well this was one of those times. I am at the hotel bar chatting with fellow roadies. time to head to the room and look, a roadie Lee has left his bag. I pay the bill, text message Lee about his bag, grab my bag and his and head to the elevator.
I then see an ice tea cart and being thirsty, walk over, grab a tea, toss the cup, press the elevator button, do a quick pocket check and poof, no phone!
Five steps back to the ice tea table, nope, back to the bar, nope, in my bag, nope, in Lee's bag, nope, everywhere, nope! It is crazy, just vanished, so hotel security picks up on my searching distress and offers to review the security camera tapes. In my mind rolls thoughts of how I am going to replace it, how I will deal with the ongoing stream of things while in Mexico phoneless, then only two days off before Japan at home aaargh, bad timing, not good, lack of phone bad, aargh. Nearly 45 mins and several free margaritas later, they return to say they see me put it in my pocket on the security video, would I like to come look. Ok, there is me at the bar, there I am texting Lee, there I am paying the bill, there I am putting something in my pocket, but that is my camera and laminate combo. Look, there is my phone still in my hand and I walk out of view with the two bags. Switching to the next camera, rewind and there I am, I drop the bags head over to the ice tea table out of view and wait, there is my hand setting a black square on the cart, barely in view, that is my phone!
Ok, I walk away from the tea but the black phone square is still there, take four steps, check my pockets, turn around and walk back over to the tea table where there is no little black square anymore. But wait there is..... to be continued.....
**** Pause Issue of the Day ****
So we are staying in the W Hotel in Mexico city and check this out
Yes, that is a hammock hanging over a bowl shaped tub and an overhead rain shower. That is just one aspect of a hotel that has graceful and beautiful design and function intermixed, everywhere you turn. This hotel rules!
**** Dear Ratty ****
I was wondering, how large is the space you use for the Front of house control centre. I remember seeing one pic of it in the blog but that seemed huge to me. Personnaly i prefer i really small position, as it are almost always the best places in the house. I often don't even want to use a barricade or something because i want to feel the atmosphere in the audience if you know what i mean. With a jumping, beer-throwing crowd of course you take your precautions but i often see people having a half football pitch garded with barriers when only two lighting desks and two digico's are placed on a gig that has crowd that you can hardly separate from furniture. ( i refer to North Sea Jazz) Do you have something like a shot from above from the front of house? And what is your opinion on this issue? And i do not (yet) have arena-large gigs but doesn't the management complain about the space you use? (and how is this often discussed on tours this size)?
FOH size is actually something that Scott and I have put much though and effort into optimizing. Typically on a tour this size that has a headline console, support console, main lighting/video console and a secondary lighting/video console, it would be pretty typical to see a 24 feet wide by 16 feet deep sound position and a 24 feet wide by 12 feet deep lighting position directly behind. Typically sound is 18" high and lighting commonly is 24" high or more. So here is what Scott and I came up with:
1) Normally sound boards are in front with lights boards behind on a taller riser but since Scott and communicate during the show and also like to hang out, we moved his lighting board up next to me so we can work side by side. This was one of the best ideas we ever had, so much better to have us in synch.
2) Typically, I like mix sound from the floor with no riser and Scott need to see better than I do and usually uses a 6" riser. We compromised on a 3" high riser. The reason I like to mix from the floor is because I want to hear what the surrounding audience hears. Plus, having a tall riser usually causes obstructed view seating kills behind.
3) We put the secondary lighting console which doubles as a support lighting console behind Scott and the support sound console behind me. So, the support light and sound engineers are side by side as well.
4) We dropped 8 feet off of the width bringing it down to 16 feet wide.
5) Since we combined sound and lights onto a single 3" high riser, we wasted less space and crunched the combined depth down from 28 feet down to 16 feet. In order to make this work, we break down the support audio console after they play which opens up room enough for us to run the Peppers show.
6) Part of what would have been the lighting riser which is about 6" to 8" high is now a VIP riser that holds contest winners and band guests. Our VIP riser dimensions are typically 16 feet wide by 8 feet deep.
7) Scott and I also take VIP guests down in the light and sound area as well.
8) Sound engineers for most tours are usually very adamant about being a consistent distance from stage, usually something like 80 to 100 feet from stage on an arena tour, I used to be that way as well and it does make mixing a bit easier. Instead, I let them slide mix position much farther back, often against the back of the arena floor. This opens more seats and block less views with some shows I am upwards of 150 feet away.
9) All of this was created by Scott and I on our own without pressure from management or the band. It just made sense for the betterment of the overall show.
10) Finally, in order not to be an eyesore of techno-visual-jibberish, Scott and I decorate our FOH area to hopefully add a smile or two and bit more dimension to the gig for those that come to rock out.
As far as barricade, well, we need it for general admission shows but for seated gigs, bike rack is good enough. Plus we get 2 to 4 security guards as well to keep out the riff raff and keep an eye on things. So all in all that means that from the generic FOH riser of 672 square feet, we have dropped to 385 square feet and that includes the VIP riser! Keep in mind that there is a two to three foot buffer area as well that surrounds the area so actually square footage occupied is more like 896 Sq feet on a normal tour down to about 520 sq feet (we use no rear riser buffer area) for us Peppers roadies.
As far as management complaining, far from it, they appreciate the concern and effort for the common goal of optimizing the rock show.
**** End Dear Ratty ****
Ok, off to more bed as I am done computing with one eye closed to stop the computer screen from being double,