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Diary of a Drum Tech Pt. 11

Hello All,

Van Morrison's Music StandHaving returned from the US, I am due to cover for my son Martin with Bat for Lashes for their festival show on the Isle of Wight, whilst he swans off to his mates wedding. Scott, his childhood friend, has always been a bit flash, so there is no surprise when I hear that there is a helicopter involved.

As the promised tour itinerary had not been forthcoming, I had arranged to meet the tour bus at Portsmouth Docks for the ferry trip over. Once aboard the bus I was told that we had a day off… on the bus! Well, blow me down!

After this very long day was over, we had soundcheck booked for 9am the following day. Up early at 6.30am, we made our way over to set up. Job done by 10am. Now the bad news… we are on at 11.30pm! Top tip… get hold of the itinerary before saying YES.

Anyway, nice people so that’s all that matters in the end. Back to Portsmouth on the 6am ferry and for my 3hr drive home.

New YorkNext on the agenda is a trip back to the US for Van Morrison starting in Connecticut. We fly Heathrow to Paris to New York… not ideal, but it beats walking. The first show is in Waterbury followed by the WAMU Theater at Madison Sq Garden.

I love working in New York as The Garden crew have become good friends over the years and take good care of both myself and any of my sons working there on tour. Our next show is at the Meyerhoff Hall which is a concert hall in Baltimore MD. There is a orchestra rehearsal so we cannot set up until 1pm as soon as the last timpani leaves the stage area. They have some gorgeous instruments backstage.

Our guitar tech, Tom Morrongiello, is a former Bob Dylan and Def Leppard crew man from Noo Joysey…top geezer!

Back up to Connecticut for the last show at the MGM Theater in Mashantucket, which is on Indian land, so no tax!

Anne Lennox & Vinnie ColaiutaStraight after the show we have the usual hugs, tearful goodbyes and promises to stay in touch…some chance, I’m off! The next morning I get a cab from the casino to New London Amtrak station for my ride down to New York City for the Hall of Fame Show at Madison Square Garden.

It’s a beautiful train ride taking in the autumn leaves. The journey takes just 2.5hrs and the familiar sight of the New York skyline appears on the horizon. I arrive at Penn Station on 7th Avenue and 33rd dead opposite my hotel, The Pennsylvania.

If you are planning a holiday or shopping trip, then do not stay there! I chose it for convenience as my normal hotel on the next corner, The Affinia was fully booked due to the NY Marathon. It is handy as Macys, The Garden and Penn Station are all within 2 blocks.

Legend has it that it was Glenn Miller’s favourite hotel, but it’s a shame that when his plane disappeared, he took the hotel maintenance team with it. Out of a mark of respect, I doubt that anyone has painted or maintained the place since!

MetallicaI dropped my bags after changing my room and headed for the rehearsal rooms downtown.

Eric Clapton was due to appear at the Hall of Fame but had to have gallstones removed, so had to cancel his appearance. Jeff Beck was to guest with EC, so he took over the slot with his band.

U2 are headlining the event with special guests along with Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Annie Lennox with Aretha Franklin, Mick Jagger, Black Eyed Peas, Billy Gibbons and Ray Davies.

Walking into the lobby was similar to arriving a party. Thecoffee machine was set up in the hall so it was our meetingpoint. It is times like these when you realise just how many good people that you know are around.

It was great to see Annie, and if only all artists were like her. As a person and performer it gets no better. I talked Annie into popping into U2s rehearsal to see everyone as Mick Jagger was in there. We all forget that artists are still fans! I introduced Vinnie Colaiuta to Annie as he wanted to meet her too.

Rehearsals over, and off out to eat. The following day I shot into Macys for a mooch, as you do!

U2We had arranged to meet at 4pm at the [Madison Square] Garden, so armed with my artist laminate, I venture over.

Soundcheck was on the go with Metallica when I arrived, even more people there – stagemanagers, Scott Chase from McCartney and Anthony G from The Stones, The Who and Dave Matthews!

Justin Crew, guitar tech from Metallica pops his head around the curtain for a catch up. Justin was one of the Plant & Page crew from back then.

When the show started Anthony put me in pole position in the stage right mix position which was not being used.

The Edge's Guitar RackI won’t ruin it for you as it is being televised, but it was superb. It makes a change being at a show where you can just swan around without any cares.

Annie’s duet with Aretha Franklin was superb. I always thought Aretha was taller than she is…

When U2 came on, the Edge’s guitar tech, Dallas Schoo, was right by me with his banks of flashing lights and pedals… rather him than me are my thoughts. With a power outage the drummer can just play a solo.. if his music light goes out, who cares!?

All in all I had a great time apart from my hotel. Off to JFK to get my plane to home sweet home.

See ya,

Yard.

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