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.
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.
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.