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Day 400- June 27th - Udine

**** The Background of a Ponder ****

So a few days back or three, I was sitting with some friends and wine and as the night progressed I found that every word I spoke was met with disagreement from a long time friend. Everything I said was wrong, regardless of what it was. I even tried agreeing with him and that was wrong as well. Unfinished statements were wrong. I found that I was inherently wrong by default. To argue my position was uselessness as the other party had a predetermined and an unalterable perspective that I was incorrect, regardless of any facts, feelings or indications otherwise. Then the parallel's drifted in. Religious conversations where the other person bases their stance on purely believing without the need for a connection to an experienced or repeatable event. Political debates where underlying biases hinged on unalterable past experiences determine the stance taken. Nationality pride where staunch boldness and slogans of greatness are firmly planted in the fact that a person just happened to pop out of mom on one side of an imaginary border line or another. Racial variations where we are what we are so since change is not an option, we hunker down in our defensive or offensive positions. To discuss whether a religion, political party, country of race is more right or wrong than another with a passionate participant, which we all are on some level, is a precarious adventure indeed, so...

Rather than get wrapped up in the senselessness adversary, I listened and watched and thought. Then it dawned on me that perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps he is right and everything I say or am about to say is wrong, at least on some level or perspective. In that moment, right then, there was not a single thing I could say that was correct. That thought then spread like light to encompass all thoughts everywhere and always and illuminated a perspective that perhaps no one has ever been truly right nor ever will be, as someone will always have the ability to disagree.

And at that point the feeling of friction stopped and puzzlement turned to smile as I wandered of to my hotel room in all my wrongness and feeling great.

**** End - The Background of a Ponder ****

Italy feel refreshing. Mouthwatering. How can a whole country so perfectly and completely master the art of making delicious food? So off the roadies head for a stroll and a meal.

Ooooooh, looks like he got an "owie"

Everyone one was drinking these crazy looking orange drinks, so we curiosity inspired us to follow suit.

That is me on the left, you can always tell cause I am the one with the big nose. Next over is Roadie Tracy, beloved roadette, Lyssa B and Lampi Scott who's new nick name is "Dark Overlord." Our newest bus #2 roadette is Michelle who came out to play the roadie games with us again and finally Lampi Chad who seems to have acquired the nick name "Weak Underling." Am not quite sure who came up with the names but it makes for awesome radio chatter.

Over the walkee talkee's at the gig:

"Dark Overlord for Weak Underling"

"Go for Weak Underling,"

"Yes, we have a situation out here, need you immediately, copy?"

"Copy Dark Overlord, Weak Underling on the way"

Signing off for today, I leave you with a bit of graffiti I found on a wall.

Dave Rat

Day 399 - June 26th - Serbia Show Day

Day 399 - June 26th - Serbia Show Day

So off to the gig we drove, out of the city and into the fields, miles and miles of corn fields down the road and far away

till a town we reached, near sprawling metropolis minus the sprawls and minus the metropolis

And ladies in shadows

To reach a desolate landscape in 100 degree weather.

**** Roadie Research Segment ****

And after a long bus ride

of well over an hour, roadies get hungry. Upon arrival at the musical water hole the competition is fierce between roadies foraging for food. Unfortunately the fruits of the land were neither plentiful and nor diverse as 60 roadies will need to consume massive amounts of food. While Roadie Daniel is challenged by attempting to decide between soup scrapings and bread enhanced by flying insects.

I set off searching for food in other places. Knowing where to look is an asset inherent to the wise roadie indeed as nutrition is key to the survival of the roadie herd. Often many animals forage to find tasty delights under stones and rocks, the roadie is no exception.

**** End Roadie Research Segment ****

So here we sit in a 100 degree hot far away field in the middle of what appears to be nowhere after driving miles and miles through interesting places and we have it good. Out "there" are 100 thousand or so hot, thirsty fans that have traveled miles or hundreds in over-crowded, under-conditioned busses just to wait in infinite waterless lines. The words inhospitable gruel comes to mind, I feel bad for the fans as the gig feels more like prison than paradise.

A bit reminiscent of Woodstock 99' s trapped far away misery factor it was the polar opposite of the feel of Coachella.

It was not people, it was the event. Perhaps learning curve, in-experience, greed, or just plain lack of the infrastructure to support an event of this scale, the brunt of it all was laid upon the fans.

I have seen it before. You could feel the tension of expectations pushed higher and higher with each hoop jumped through. And when the band left the stage, the audience was motionless. For all they had been through, they were far from ready for the show to be over and that's when some of the audience decided it was "clean up time."

"Hey, wow, it is messy around here, perhaps we should clean up?"

"Good idea, maybe there are waste bins on stage, I don't see any over here."

"I bet there is, well, it is far but I think I can make it!"

The mood of mob began to set in. Doing sound all these years, I have been amidst many riots and riot like situations and the I can equate it is to parallel with the feeling of an incoming tornado or being near where lighting is about to strike, and I have experienced both several times. There is a tension, an goose bump energy building and perhaps it snaps or maybe dissipates. On a certain level, I agreed. Crap food, long day, hot, poor facilities and gig in the middle of nowhere. Why? Shit happens I guess, I don't think anyone on the Peppers' end truly knew what we were getting into, misrepresented perhaps, I just don't know but I do know that I was surrounded by a 100,000 humans and radio calls of bottles turning to rocks so I did what any soundman would do, I cranked up the music. Louder and louder, and the outro music went on and on with happy songs as slowly the big beast calms while still focused on the stage where the music originates. Never take music away from an angry audience as the System of the Down riot that claimed the lives of some of our gear and many were hurt. All the while, mentally I was preparing for plan "B" in the event that FOH became the target, which is to dash out of the mix area and start shouting gibberish while throwing bottles at the sound board.

We travel around the world and many people work together to make these shows happen and no matter what, some people are always going to be unhappy and no matter what some people will look at the bright side and still be happy. And between those two extremes lays the mass of general opinion. If this exact performance had occurred by a lake, 10 minutes from town, with facilities and a general environment of life compatibility, the show would have awesome, smooth and all good. And if it had occurred another 60 miles out of town and 10 degrees hotter, we may have had a big mess of broken sound gear and humans to clean up afterwards. It is not the people, it is how we were treated that created the reaction.

Dave Rat

P. S. I have been getting some requests for a higher resolution jpeg of the amsterdam flower so...

And coming soon will be some JF guitar head pics.