Sorry for the wait! It was a busy week.
Since I’m packing four shows and four days off in to one little report I’ll try and just give you a good recap, otherwise it will be 25 pages long…
Our two days off in West Palm Beach were great. There was a pool, it was sunny most of the time, although it rained both nights, the days brought good weather for the most part. It was disgustingly humid, but at this point I’ll settle for humid as long as it’s not raining. For a while it seemed like we were destined to have a rain cloud follow us this whole tour…
The really nice part about our stay in Florida is that we were staying literally right next door to the band and staff. It isn’t often that the crew is even in the same state, so it was tons of fun to have everyone in the same place for a few days. It was like a high school mixer. Good times.
The West Palm show went well. However, I got a call early in the day to inform me that Stevie’s vocal chords were swollen and that we may be dropping Silver Springs from the set that night. The range that Silver Springs requires can be hard on her vocal chords and she didn’t want to push it too much, especially since Silver Springs is right before Standback, both of which are songs that she really steps it up for. Originally, she was going to tell us after Rhiannon whether or not she was up for Silver Springs, but then after sound check, she and her vocal coach decided to play it safe. I realize that it must have been a total bummer for you guys in West Palm, but just know that if she doesn’t take precautionary measures like that and ends up blowing her voice out, then we’re canceling shows…and nobody wants that. Our production assistant and I suggested that she and I get up there and perform Silver Springs instead, but oddly enough, no one liked that idea. And have no fear, Mama Nicks can still sing her booty off, and she still puts on a show worth watching, she’s just being careful not to stress her pipes too much. Silver Springs will be back as soon as Stevie is 100% again, there is no need to panic.
Lindsey left the stage for Mick’s vest solo, he usually just sits on the side of the stage, but it was really hot, and he decided to go soak up some air conditioning and rehydrate a little. The change in routine threw him off and he ended up hurrying to get his guitar back on, and whacked himself in the head with it. He took a nice chunk out of his eyebrow and from what it looked like, he may have been seeing stars. He seemed a little out of it for the encore songs. He is alive and well, so again, no need to panic. The doctor used a little medical grade super glue to seal it up and he’s as good as new.
We had a nice long drive that night to Charlotte. Long drives are much better than short ones when you live on a bus. You know how babies always fall asleep in cars? It’s the same thing on the bus, as soon as the engine fires up and you climb in your bunk, you’re out like a light. As soon as the bus stops, you wake up, it’s really odd. If the drive to the next city is only two or three hours, you wake up at 4AM and can’t fall back asleep so you end up dragging your bags up to your hotel room in your pj’s at an ungodly hour of the morning. So, the ten or so hour drive to Charlotte left plenty of time to have an pre-bed cocktail and still get a good 8 hours sleep. Then you wake up and you’re at the hotel, ready for your day off. There’s today’s lesson in bus life for you. Class dismissed.
We had half a day off in Charlotte, there was a big mall that everyone went to (at this point I feel like I have been to every friggin’ mall in the country.) I ate way too much Chinese food and tried to get to bed at a reasonable hour since my alarm clock would be waking me at 5AM. The next morning it was apparent that we were in for a hot day, since at 6AM it was already about 85 degrees outside.
Stevie has a big comfy chair that she sits in to have her make-up done. If you guys watched the Destiny Rules documentary, it’s the same one she’s sitting in all through rehearsals. Anyway, it’s totally beat up, it doesn’t have a road case, so it basically just gets thrown on the back of the truck every night, and after 100 something shows, the chair has seen it’s better day. We’ve replaced the fabric about ten times and the paint is all worn away and chipped, so I decided that I would repaint it. I’m pretty sure I got more paint in my hair and on my clothes than I did on the chair. People kept asking me if I painted the chair or if the chair painted me. Only slightly embarrassing.
One of the local crew guys in Charlotte told me he was the “biggest Lindsey fan ever” and could I please get him some guitar picks…does this sound silly to anyone else?? He was visibly embarrassed and shocked when I revealed that Lindsey doesn’t use picks. That happens more often than you would believe.
The show went well, although it was really hot. There was no airflow on the stage and the heat was oppressive. A few of us later complained that we were on the verge of passing out halfway through the show. (I won’t even discuss what the humidity did to my hair, but let me just say that if it was 1983….I would have been soooo cool.)
We headed to Raleigh that night, it was a pretty short drive, and I had to get off the bus at 4AM because my bus was heading right back to Charlotte. Why? Because my bus was serving as the charter service to take about 10 of our guys back to Charlotte so that they could spend their day off at the car races. Apparently, they got to sit in some famous race car driver’s box seat and watch the race. (Sorry about the lack of detail, but you know me and the sports.) So I crawled off the bus at the crack of dawn and cursed my way to my hotel room.
And you know how I said Charlotte was hot? I take it back. Raleigh was HOT. But, the stage in Raleigh was air conditioned, which helped ease the pain a little. Raleigh was one of those gigs where about 10 minutes in to load in everyone had their shirts off. I like to call it half-naked load in.
As I’m sure you all know, there is a tour that comes through the backstage area everyday and a lot of the time people bring gifts for the band. Someone brought some really cool gifts in Raleigh. Lindsey received a framed Pet Sounds Beach Boys poster, which I knew he would love. When he first saw it in the dressing room, he said “is that a gift for the whole band?”, I told him that it was just for him…”oooh! That can go in the studio!” It doesn’t matter who you are…everybody loves good presents. John received a very nice Hawaiian shirt, that to our surprise he liked so much he asked if we could have it pressed so that he could wear it that night. I’m sure he made someone’s day.
As usual the show was great, blah blah blah blah. There was a loud buzzing noise before dreams I think, so Stevie had to ad-lib a little while they tried to fix it…”talk amongst yourselves”, she then proceeded to try and help point out where the buzzing was coming from. The highlight of the Raleigh show for me, I owe to our lighting director. I’ll try and explain it quickly. What you guys see is a bunch of lights, but there are about six guys up in the truss, above the band, and four guys out at front of house, up in the rafters, running the lights. Then our lighting director (also one of the funniest men on the planet) sits out at the lighting board and for two and a half hours calls the lighting cues (all the while pushing a million buttons to run the more automated part of the show). All of them are on headset to each other and only four out of the twelve or so guys running the lights are from our crew, the other ten or so are local at each gig. So, I always hear these outrageously funny stories about what goes on over their headsets. In Raleigh, one of the lighting guys ran me a headset to where I sit during the show so that I could listen in. He even showed me how to talk if I wanted to say something. And it was hysterical. Most of the local guys didn’t even know which one was Lindsey and which one was Stevie (even though that topic was covered very well at the lighting meeting earlier that day). So there was a lot of “spot 6, 7 and 8 stand by to fade in on Stevie Nicks…the female singer. And 2, 3 and 4 stand by to fade in on Lindsey Buckingham…the guitar player.” It was two and half hours of pure funny. So that was my Raleigh highlight, I was an honorary lighting guy for a day.
Wow, this is already getting really long. I’ll try and wrap it up.
We had a back to back, so we left Raleigh and headed straight to Jacksonville, where, you guessed it…it was really hot! But this time we were back in an arena. Air conditioned buildings are my best friend. Stevie has been going crazy with her camera. She has this little digital camera that she takes everywhere. The best part..and I say this with love…is that she doesn’t really know how to use it. Every time she takes a picture, she has to take it three times while saying “this damn camera”. It’s a riot. She takes pictures of EVERYTHING and always says “we WILL remember this tour”.
We also had a golf cart, but it was a gas powered one and it smelled really bad. Didn’t stop me from taking a few joy rides, however. The hallways in this arena were kind of narrow, and the golf cart was a double seater, so it was hard to turn around in the halls. I was parked outside Stevie’s dressing room waiting to take her to the stage for sound check, when Mick came out, so I drove Mick down to the stage and headed back to her room. I told her security guard not to bring her out yet because I still had to turn the cart around. Well, midway into my very Austin Powers like turn around process, out comes Stevie. So now I’m trying to hurry and get the cart turned around. Her security guard is trying to help by telling me how much room I have behind me, but he’s a terrible driver, so I end up backing in to wall with a big “bonk” noise to accompany it. And Stevie is watching the whole thing. I fall over with laughter, as does Stevie, and everyone else who happened to be standing by. And of course… the whole time, Miss Photographer was snapping photos of my golf cart crash…or at least she was trying.
Gotta run…the mall across the street is calling my name.