I had a terrific day today.
Upon walking into the room this morning, I just knew that everything was going to be alright. It was.
Knickerbocker Arena is a two year old facility which is part of the Government Center complex of buildings in the capital district of Albany, New York. Considering the staggering state budget deficit, I might have expected this place to have the very best of everything. It's rather neat...but it's not that neat.
It is bright and shiny, though. A large hockey arena set up with adequate rigging steel, good truck access, effective lighting and power disconnects. It has everything we need to make the day as easy as it can be.
We played the room in a "half-house" configuration: the six-foot platform stage was built just back of center of the room. This left us with plenty of acreage backstage for dead case zones and forklift rallies. The house is also supplied with trusses and drapes for blacking the full width of the arena. Together with our blacks and cyclorama, this made for, arguably, the best arena presentation we've yet seen.
The uprig took until 2:00 pm. However, I had my points by noon, and was flown to trim by the time the riggers were finishing the last of the audio points. They were hanging 30' x 70' bridles, and making a reasonably good job of it. I didn't get to watch them at length, but I did notice that one of them wore a harness and slung himself to the rather large beams. This can be a tedious process; cycling your safety in and out for every move you make. The other guy was free climbing; just 3 or 4 point body contact at 80 to 95 feet altitudes. To each his own. Experienced riggers rarely comment on each others' styles and practices, unless they know each other well...at which point the critique can be really funny. Today, one guy felt good. The other guy simply felt safe, and that's good enough, thank you.
The I-Beam hang went easily, thanks to a good deck-electrics crew. I wouldn't call them a team, for I never saw them display that sort of crisp, gleaming simpatico characteristic of people who know what each others' next moves will be. They got my Beams up, however, in enough time for me to run a quick tune up before the truss flew away.
I took a quick shower, dressed comfortably, and headed for the front of house to see if I could make some art.
The mix riser was nicely done in split level. Duck's Avo was on the center line, but I was close enough that my graphic symmetry was easily visible from 150 feet away. The riser was tall enough that I could see my target dots on the stage floor, and place the pools according to a trusty old rule: "Light The Money." The focus on the Divas dressing booths ("That's Right Folx, a full costume change, live, onstage!") was bang on, easier than it's been for a long time.
My focus went so well that I had time to run some maintenance tweaks on a few of the more complex loops and chases; presets involving several pages of memory which must be refocused every week or so...very time consuming.
I took a look at dinner, and even though it looked quite good, I decided on a nap. Spyder was in the rear lounge of the bus, running his submarine attack profiles on unsuspecting enemy freighters in the South Nintendo Seas. I crawled into my bunk and had a brief, delightful dream about my collection of silver chains. No kiddin'.
Spyder woke up Duck, who woke me up. We shook off the cobwebs and strolled into the venue, a crowded, busy arena in the middle of the set change: Arrested Development coming off the deck, Divas going on. The F-100 foggers and arena air-conditioning were working together to hang a nice atmospheric haze: the lights would move dramatically tonight. The seats were full of bright and shiny people ready to have fun, 6000 of them. We walked the walk out to the mix riser and plugged in.
Headsets up, and into the spotlight net, we introduced ourselves, and Duck ran his warm-up. Then came, of course, the latest round of jokes. Everybody laughed and we all watched girls, and generally enjoyed, literally, the best seats in the house. It always looks and sounds best at the mix.
House lights to black, and we were off...with the solo ballet show opening. The Divas came on with "This Is Your Life", and the place simply jumped up and down for the next 85 minutes. The Divas were great, Dave Lohr mixed an excellent house, and Duck and I danced and lit our asses off.
House lights came back up, to thousands of brilliant smiles.
We couldn't get the show out in less than three hours tonight. It didn't seem to matter too much. Things went at a fairly natural pace, and the Braves won in Pittsburgh. Scotty shot a Polaroid of Bill Reeves and I tuning the little TV in his production case.
One of the deck guys yanked all of my I-Beam AC adaptofiers off the truss. That would normally irritate the living hell out of me, because I have go back and hunt down those circuits tommorow morning.
Tonight, though...I'm over it.
Three months ago, on the O-Jays tour bus, there sat in the afternoon, two youngish visitors. They had a band and a tape and they knew somebody on the tour, and they were hanging around. They sat on the bus during an afternoon break in the action. Steve Lamphier (monitors), Brent Boucheir (lighting director), and I were tossing a beer and talking shop.
One of the kids turned to the other and said, matter of factly, "They've got the look."
Steve asked him, "What look is that?"
The other kid said, without missing a beat, as if he'd seen it before, "The Over-It Look."
We all laughed, then went back to work.
Over it? Perhaps. But I still know a good time when I have one.
October 11, 1992
Albany, New York
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