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Chapter 4 - RAISING THE BAR

This is the day when reality comes up behind you and kicks you in the butt. You've got one day of production rehearsal to make everything work. After that, you'll have one shot a night to do all of it right! That's definitely raising the bar. Keep in mind this is the first time for the lighting and sound crew to run the set list of the show on stage with Dan and the band. And although these guys have most probably studied the set list and made some pre-production notes, I'm always amazed at how fast and efficient they are at getting everything together when they're under the pressure of a one day rehearsal.

The day started with a call from Bernie, our tour manager. I liked Bernie right away. He had that great British humor and plus he had a history as long as mine. So, after a chance to get acquainted over a quick caffeine based breakfast at Starbucks we headed off to board our land yacht to begin the "Great Whale Expedition" known as the "Hunt For Roadzilla!". The helmsman at the wheel of our beautifully appointed land yacht, otherwise known as a tour bus, was a man I like to call "Jeff the Invincible." I'm tellin' ya'! This guy, given enough strong coffee and a constant supply of "Bulls Eyes" candies (it's one of his favorites) could almost drive forever! There'll be more about him later.

It was only a few minutes later that Dan and the rest of the band were aboard and we departed for the long day of production rehearsal. The ride there also gave me a chance to check out our new mobile facilities. Our tour bus, aside from some small design differences, was like most other tour buses currently in use. It had all the standard amenities commonly found on most motor homes, TV, stereo, microwave, etc. What was interesting to me was that, with a space approximately 40 feet long and 8 feet wide, the ingenious use of space which was required for the bus is the same kind of design approach used for the interior layout of large sailboats. Hence, our own "Land Yacht!"

Well, we finally rolled up to the backstage entrance and piled out to find the stage and take a look at the set. I have to admit, I still get a thrill out of walking on stage and seeing those beautiful drums up on the riser. Rob, our house mixer, was already playing a reference CD and tweaking the sound system for just the right mix. Our lighting designer, Steve, was busy adjusting and focusing lights and programming the board for the first run through of the show. Chris, our monitor mixer, was casually waiting at his post off stage, ready to give us what we each required for our stage mix. And Mason, our production manager, was coordinating every detail of the whole thing like it was a giant well oiled machine. No amateurs here! I could see right away, I was in the care and company of some of the best in the business.




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