Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Day in the Life of the Narrows Crew

Putting on a first class rock and roll show requires a lot of work. I thought I would give some insight as to how it all gets put together. Let me start by saying that the Narrows has the best crew in show business. I know I am biased but we here it from the bands, road crew and I see it first hand in the passion, professionalism and enthusiasm of the crew. Most of the crew are volunteers.  Without the volunteers we simply could not make it happen. Last Wednesday, we did the Robert Cray Band. This show requires more than the usual production and attention to detail, so it will give you an insight as to how the big boys do it.

12:00 Narrows staff arrives (Pat, Deb and Kathy) Deb's probably been there since 8 am. We go over whose doing what and what the volunteer assignments will be. Kathy is the hospitality specialist, she makes the band and crew feel welcomed and appreciated. As I have stated in the past, being on the road is not easy. Musicians appreciate it when you go the extra mile to take care of them and we pride ourselves in doing just that.

12:30 Robert Cray 's crew arrives. The crew would include: a tracter trailer driver, tour manager, sound engineer, guitar tech and monitor tech. The tractor trailer guys job is to get all the gear from place to place. He is more of a hired hand who goes from band to band. The rest of the crew comes in the bus. The Band stays back at the hotel until soundcheck. The crew eats lunch. Let me say the Cray crew is top notch, real pros and good guys to work with.

1:00 Narrows volunteers arrive. They would consist of : JP(very love able, been with us awhile, he does alot of driving the performers and crew from the hotel and back as well as loading gear and security),  Carl(Rock and Roll junkie, been with us awhile, usually does green room security, loads gear and whatever else we ask of him), Milt(resident Dead Head, also a long standing member of the crew, usually merch or door guy, loads and has fun), Ron(newer member of the crew, usually door, security,  loads gear, quiet but solid) Norm(crew virgin, he takes over elevator packing in the first 5 minutes, we got a keeper)

We load the gear in from the trailer, fills the elevator 5 times, these guys have alot of gear. The good news is it's all on wheels and moves fairly easy.

2:00 Cray's crew and our crew unpack gear. The Cray crew begins to set the stage up. This takes about 2 and 1/2 hours. A few of our guys leave. I work with their sound guy to get the system ready to roll. Two of our guys change the gels in the lights

4:30 JP leaves to pick the band up. The Cray crew begins sound check so that when the band arrives they just pick up their instrument and every thing works and sounds great.

5:00 Band arrives, Robert is a super nice guy, shy but friendly. The rest of the band are also nice and are appreciative of thier crew and our crew that everything is flowing smoothly. Band warms up for about 45 minutes. They sound great. One of the bennies of being on the crew is checking out soundcheck and really feeling part of the gig.

6:00 Opener Mark Small arrives for his soundcheck. Our other ace tech Eddie also arrives to help with Mark's check. Eddie is a real techie, great guy. We work really well together.

6:30 Rest of Narrows volunteers arrive. Another half dozen people who will run the door, cafe and security. We know have 12 making it all happen.  People have paid alot of money to come to the show. We are very appreciative  and aware of this. we aim to make this a great night of music and friendship.. Life doesn't get much better than that combination.

7:00 Doors open, everything going smoothly, smiles abound.

8:05 Steve our emcee does his schtick. Always good. Steve is the longest tenured member of the crew. He has been with us pretty much from the beginning. In the early days, it was just me,Steve and my wife Maggie running the whole show.

Mark Small plays a hot opening set, gets a standing ovation. Mark is one of the finest purveyors of acoustic blues guitar. a real showman.

9:00 Robert and his band hit the stage. Brilliant musicianship and feel. Robert possess a silky smooth voice and a stinging guitar attack and his band is dead on. Really great show

10:45 Show ends, lights go up and the smiles and good feelings are everywhere. We thank everyone on their way out and begin the break down. It takes about an hour to break it down and another half hour to load the truck

12:15 The crew and band are packed and gone. The Narrows crew exits the building A good time had by all. The camaraderie and the love of music make it all so special

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