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Day 3 - Barcelona - Acclimation

Jet Lag

The bed-glue sensation that comes with jet lag is not like any other form of exhaustion. Heavy bloodless limbs sinking into the bed, head stuffed with molasses drenched cotton balls. Thick dreary mud.

It's puzzling to think about how the body knows, its not dehydration, must of drank 6 bottles of water, no alcohol in weeks. I don't take drugs, rarely even aspirin and no go on the sleep aids. I maintained my eating pattern so the only thing I can think of is the sedentary process of over-sitting or the air pressure changes of flight does something screwy to my body. In any case, going to try and break out of the muck and do some swimming. No desire to play jet lag games.

**** Highlight of the Day - The Beach ****

Back from the beach with Scott and his wife Anna and it was awesome!. Reluctantly agreed to a 5 Euro massage from one of many people offering various things in the sun. Talk about amazing! Who would of knew, it ended up being 45 minutes of bliss for 20 Euro. This rules!

**** Issue of the Day - Ear Molds ****

We have a new monitor engineer on this run (9th in as many years) and with the change came a rush order for In Ear molds to match the band's type. These things are little speakers like the ones that come with an iPod except they are custom fit to each human. It would not be good to start a tour with a mon engineer that has unmatched molds, shipping Fed Ex to Europe risks unacceptable import/customs delays.

The Sound System

The PA for this tour is really cool! And I sure hope it all works as planned. Like the last Peppers tour I will be using a V-Dosc system again but this time it will be quite unique. Last November I was in Mexico on the most dreamy holiday when the email came. There is to be a phone conference ASAP with Peter (Band Management), Bill (Production Manager), Grier (Video and Set Designer) and myself to discuss the plans and concepts for the upcoming tour. It must be special, new and fresh, Peter asked us all "what can be done to push production to the next level and and make this tour extraordinary?".

Like a dream come true, to design a sound system that is new and exciting, I told him I would work on my part of the equation. It needs to be something that sounds great and is not a one-shot-wonder effect. Quadraphonic is too limited and only applies to audience within the quad coverage field plus it pulls focus away from the stage. I want something that benefits all that attend. The band changes their set every night so having a 'song based effect' would not apply either. Furthermore, Peppers' free form spontaneity requires a high level of flexibility.

**** Sound Nerd Speak ****

The idea that evolved was based on knowledge I acquired designing the MicroWedge monitors. I had done quite a bit of research and was able to recreate and prove that speaker have reduced clarity as you increase the complexity of the signal sent to them. It is fairly easy to demonstrate, just listen to a vocal mic through two speakers at a mid to high volume and then add in a 50 hz tone at high volume. It blurs the vocals. Now use two speakers with the vocal in one and the tone in the other and the vocal will stay clear. There are several issues but I believe the main one has to do with the speaker efficiency while the voice coil is centered in the gap. The speaker is less efficient when the voice coil is at its extremes, the 50 hz tone reduces the time that the voice coil is centered. Some monitor engineers run separate instrument and vocal wedges for this reason. What if I applied that setup on a grand scale? Two PA's!

**** End Sound Nerd Speak ****

Here are some pics from our production days at the Forum in LA


We are also doing some cool stuff with the subs and I will cover that on another day.

Also it is very important to notice the blow up doll that they use to focus lights.

Dave Rat

Day 2 1/2 - Barcelona - The Gathering

The Gathering is like animal critters arriving at the watering hole. Waves of familiar and soon to be familiar humans flood the hotel as each arriving flight dumps off new ones. Production is first to arrive. I sat next to Big Daddy, whom I met 20 years ago. We had a blast catching up on old times and Danzig/Soundgarden tour in 1990 we did together and it remains a constant source of funny stories. Who would have known that Danzig's body guard, Jessie James, would end up on TV married to Sandra Bollock!

I find 'our people' just wandering the street, searching for food or beer or just wandering then clustering and wandering some more. It is our new stomping ground. Lighting, riggers, sound and tomorrow we get backline techs. When all is said and done, there will be 50 or so crew from across the globe all here for a common goal. To build us a killer rock show!

Barcelona seems to have an amazingly high quantity of street artists that stand really still and each has some unique presentation, some are better than others.

These guys ride bikes with their skeleton friends

and some cowboys

and my favorite was just too realistic to even describe

  I almost failed the jet lag battle and passed out, fortunately to be saved by a phone call. Never nap on a trans-euro flight landing day. Stay awake till after midnight at least, or you will pay the price for many days.

Let's see, I am 43, we tour this year, we tour next year, if past experience is an indicator, I will be 45 when the tour ends and my daughters will be 12. Hmmm, that is kind of scary. Yikes!

This where I fall into "why am I here mode." Well, it's not out of need, Rat world is doing well and the challenges there keep me happy and financially stable enough. More cities? I have seen enough, I have a back log list of places I want to revisit, when I am not working, too long to ever fulfill. Ultimately the answer of whether the adventure is worth the sacrifice will unravel itself with my personal happiness as the barometer.

I do know that these are 'my people.' I feel a welcome-ness and depth of belonging that I experience in no other group of humans. At home, I enjoy a relatively solitary existence. Family, a few friends I see on occasion, peaceful, focused and wrapped in projects that I seek out to solve. But here I feel like I glow. I know this world. Strangely familiar cities and wires and knobs and endless streams of puzzles that appear in the form of broken things need fixing. The creation of sonic landscapes. This is the forest I know like the back of my hand and these are my people.

Dave Rat