A: Well, the number of people on the road can vary slightly when one takes into account the “relief ” drivers: when the distance to be traveled by the trucks and buses exceeds the distance that one driver should undertake, additional drivers are needed. But overall, the number is somewhere between 35-40 people. This takes into account four buses, two trucks, caterers, merchandisers, lighting and sound crew, musicians, stage technicians, production and road managers, etc. It is like moving a little village around, setting up camp and striking it again, every day.
The daily schedule varies depending on what a person’s responsibilities are. If you are “crew” – which is everyone except the musicians, the road manager and assistants – it truly must be like a never-ending day.
Load-in usually occurs around 8 am, and the technical setup occurs all day long until sound check late in the afternoon. Caterers travel with the crew and set up at the venue right away and start making breakfast and the day’s meals for everyone. Someone often goes shopping for food locally.
The musicians and I often (but not always) travel earlier in the day to arrive at the venue for a sound check late in the afternoon. If we are lucky, we check into our hotel first. If not, we go straight to the venue and check in after the show at around midnight. Sometimes when drives are exceptionally long and it is too risky (due to potential traffic problems) to travel during the day, the band will travel overnight and check into a hotel room just for the day.
After sound check, we have dinner. It is one of the rare opportunities to see most of the traveling party, including the drivers, who likely will have been sleeping in the day (particularly the drivers of the crew bus and the trucks, as they almost always travel overnight.) This meal is a highlight of the day, and on this tour we have been blessed with exceptional caterers who are devoted to local fresh food. I love their company’s name, Saucery, and it is run by a wonderful team of three people, led by lovely Suzie. The show usually begins somewhere between 8 pm and 10 pm, depending on whatcountry we are in – and it can begin even a little later than that if we are in Spain.
Directly following the show, the musicians usually head back to the hotel and I stay at the venue to meet friends, business colleagues and special guests. Following this, I am usually found signing autographs if there are people waiting at the stage door. Then I head back to the hotel and crawl into bed somewhere between 1 and 2 am.
The morning always comes a bit too quickly and we are off once again, usually getting on the bus between 9 and 10 am, depending on where we are going. I usually spend these morning bus hours attending to administrative matters: some to do with the tour, and some to do with other QR matters back home. Once I arrive at the hotel or the venue for the next show, I may do some interviews.
Meanwhile, back at the venue at the end of the show the crew starts loading out the equipment and may not be finished this work until between 2 and 4 in the morning, again depending on how easy or complicated the load-out is. In Rome, for example, they could only send out one case at a time, of two trucks full of equipment, down an alley. Hence load-in and load-out were very long indeed. These stoic creatures, the crew, then trundle into the bus and into their bunks on the buses for a few precious hours of sleep before they get off the bus to load in again at 8 am.
And so, the next day begins. ~ LM