Stone Temple Pilots w/ Home Town Hero
Barton Hall – Attendance ~4000
Sunday, April 21, 2002
Stage Crew / Barricade
It’s 4:50 AM – I’m walking into Barton Hall with Tom – and I am not in any sort of mood to do a concert. There are donut holes, and mini muffins, and orange juice, but sugar doesn’t wake me up any more.
It’s 5:00 AM – and we’re putting the stage together. I manage to pinch one of my fingers under a riser that we’re moving, and when I take my glove off, my right index finger is somewhat bloody. Great.
It’s 6:45 AM – and the stage is up, so we have nothing to do for an hour and a half.
It’s 8:00 AM – and we meet STP’s crew. Doug, the production manager – Scottie, the short fat guy who’s in charge of the trucks – Fiji (pronounced “foogee”, though), the lighting guy – Mike, the equipment guy – Lee, the other lighting guy – and some other guys I’m forgetting. All are nice, funny, and easy to work with, ensuring this concert will be better than No Doubt’s.
It’s 8:15 AM – and we’re unloading both of STP’s trucks. The trucks are both very tightly packed. We realize that there are 40 sizable speakers we’re unloading. How the hell is this going to work?
It’s 10:00 AM – and I get to be on Fiji’s team, pulling feeder cable and setting up the downstage lighting rig. Not a bad job, in all honesty. I
even got to use “the pickle” to move the lighting trusses. Also hooked on the UV lights. Sometime this hour, Henry radios for me and has me write an Applescript on their iMac to launch Traveler’s Mail successfully. Truly random.
It’s 11:30 AM – and I’m free, so I’m wisked away to a secret location with Henry, Kristen, and Ross that if I talk about, I will probably end up with someone pissed off at me. Let’s just say it was very tasty.
It’s 1:00 PM – and I’m back. There is little happening of interest, and there won’t be for a number of hours. Some random other work on the lights here and there, but we mostly have a free afternoon. At some point, we discover that 3 people from the stage crew disappeared without telling anyone. Hardcore stage people get justifiably pissed off, myself included. Also worth noting: remember the 40 speakers? They’re all flown in a 4×5 tower which just looks absolutely ridiculous. Unfortunately, they’re not arced at all, so we can see sound problems coming.
It’s 4:00 PM – and Home Town Hero, the opener, has arrived, and we unload their little U-Haul. STP’s roadies have finished soundchecking, including doing a not too shabby version of Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC.
It’s 5:00 PM – and Home Town Hero is checking. We were told they were hardcore punk. From the soundcheck, all I heard were things that sounded like Radiohead covers. Needless to say, I was confused. Dinner comes this hour (oh boy, Chinese), and as usual, it doesn’t sit terribly well in my stomach. But then again, very little does day of show.
It’s 6:00 PM – and now I’m officially on barricade. Barricade, for those of you not familiar with concerts these days, is the nice area between the audience and the stage. I had worked barricade once before, and that show (G. Love) wasn’t terribly exciting. This, however, was A Rock Show™, and promised to be more interesting. We spread out the 8 cases of bottled water around the barricade, load up on earplugs, and wait.
It’s 7:00 PM – and doors open. There is the standard rush of people galloping towards the stage. I begin to meet the people I’d be the guardian angel of for the next 3+ hours. More on them when I get a little more freeform. I’m told by one of them that we need to look more intimidating, and tells me to cross my arms. I do so, and feel quite silly. During the time between doors and the start of the show, one of the roadies for Home Town Hero comes out and bangs on the drums a few times, just to test them. He repeated this about 5 times. Some of the other roadies were testing the guitars, too – obviously, I’m not clear on what a “sound check” is actually for. Neil and Gil also showed up during this portion of the show and said their hellos.
It’s 8:00 PM – and Home Town Hero goes on. The first few songs, the crowd is pretty dead, but once the band starts throwing things out into the crowd, they come half-alive. At one point, the lead singer gets up on the barricade and is singing right to the crowd, which would be cool except I
had to stand behind him wondering when he was going to fall since it was unstable as hell.
It’s 8:30 PM – and Home Town Hero is off, and changeover begins.
It’s 8:35 PM – and changeover ends?! Quickest changeover ever. However, the roadies want to test some more, so we get a deja vu of the 7 o’clock hour.
It’s 8:50 PM – and STP is on. Alright, so now’s the time to go freeform. Here’s a brief sampling of the people that were most notable near me:
- IC Kids – there were two IC students directly in front of me; both nice, both talkative, both with eyebrow rings. They were obviously a couple. I believe the girl’s name was Tracy, and the guy worked for ICB doing their concert connection bit (we’ll call him ICB Boy). They complained that the show was underpromoted; I shrugged since I couldn’t do anything about it.
- Orgasm Girl – this girl looked like she was about to have an orgasm every time Scott Weiland moved. Her head was back, her eyes were near closed, and she had a perpetual grin on her face.
- Annoying Greeks – one row back, but right in front of me. I don’t actually know if they were part of the greek system or not, but given their annoying fake moshing (which annoyed the piss out of the IC kids and Orgasm Girl) during the most dull portions of either set, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt.
- Lady Picture Show Guy – there was one guy (part of the annoying greeks, as far as I could tell) who, at every point between songs, yelled loudly, pleading Scott to play Lady Picture Show because “he’d never seen it live”. Eventually, ICB Boy yelled back that it wasn’t on the set list, but LPS Guy didn’t hear him, because this happened all show.
- Sketchy Woman – picture this. Short woman, looks around 25-30. Short hair. Glasses. Chipped front tooth. Purple boa. Sign that says “Come back to Buffalo with me!”. This is Sketchy Woman.
- Super Tiny Asian Girl – this poor girl was right near the front, but was under 5 feet tall and completely smooshed between about 5 people. Half the time I couldn’t even see her.
So there’s our cast of characters. About the other key character – Scott Weiland – he started out in a suit and tie, with a vest and a cowboy hat. Honestly, when I first saw him, he reminded me of Dylan. Then the hat came off. Then the vest came off. Then the suit coat. Then the shirt. The crowd, unsurprisingly, went nuts at nearly everything Scott did. At one point, he was up on the barricade, and this mass of hands just grabbed him – everyone was either squeezing him or stroking him or whatever. Orgasm Girl got a hand on him and looked like she was going to…well, I’m sure you can imagine.
As for the job of people in barricade, we had four main responsibilities:
- Do not let anyone on stage – actually the easiest, since the stage was about 65 inches off the ground and sort of hard to jump up onto.
- Pull down crowd surfers – I can best describe this with a video game analogy (surprise!). If you’ve ever played Missile Command, you basically have a bunch of objects randomly coming at your line of cities, and you have to defend them so the missiles don’t hit. We, essentially, were shooting down the missiles by reaching out and pulling down the surfers. Thankfully, no one of our crew got kicked in the mouth, although a number of people in the crowd did get hit in the head a few times.
- Pull out fatigued people – if anyone looks like they are going to pass out from dehydration/heat/injuries/etc, or just wants out, it is our job to pull them out. The two people I ended up pulling were Tracy and the Super Tiny Asian Girl.
- Water the fans – again, we had 8 cases of water (8 by 24 gives you 192 bottles, for those with poor math skills), and while it was partially for us, it was mainly for the audience. Not being able to give the bottles to the audience (they might throw them at the talent!), we had to pour them into people’s mouths. If you ever want to know what it’s like to be a mother bird, work barricade, stand on the step, hold the bottle of water over the crowd, and watch at least six heads snap back like you’re their savior. Also, this may be the only time you’re allowed in life to throw water at people and have them love you for it.
The basic set works like this – 7 song regular band setup (first song being a cover of Shine On You Crazy Diamond), then 3 acoustic songs (including Sour Girl and Creep), then another 6 regular songs, then 2 encore songs. It all sounded great in the barricade (with earplugs in, of course), but I’ve heard that out by the sound board, it wasn’t so hot, probably because we didn’t arc the suckers downward. Oh well. At one point early on, Ian and I notice that someone is holding their cell phone up so that whoever is on the other end can hear. Pretty funny.
Oh, worth mentioning: one of the people with a photo pass was with the band, so if you want to see what I saw, you can do so.
It’s 10:15 PM – and the set is over. And most of our crew is confused because we were expecting them off at 11. Oh well – we hand out the rest of the water to the audience, and I head over to help with tearing down the lighting. Amy Liu and I are hauling cable from all over, and my arms get quite tired.
It’s 1:00 AM – and the two trucks of STP’s are loaded. At one point during loadout, Fiji tells everyone to “push like they’re giving birth” – Scottie counters by telling another group to “push like it’s prom night”. They head out, and we start breaking down the stage.
It’s 2:00 AM – and we’re done. My CCC commitment is over, and Tom and I head home, after I snag a bottle of Fiji water.
This was my nineteenth and final show for the Concert Commission, and out of all of those that I’ve worked, I think this one will be the most memorable. Not because anything extraordinary happened – but because it was so typical of all the shows over the years. Nothing extremely troubling happened (although there were a few minor scuffles), and most everything went off without a hitch. I worked in both a stage sense and a security sense. The crowd was into the show, the band seemed to really enjoy themselves, and the management weren’t complete tools. Honestly, I can’t think of a better show to go out on.
- Stage Crew – individually: Joe “Not Going To Manos” Lisi, Ryan “One Finger Scratch” Stenson, Marcy “Dirty Girl” Patrick, Tom “Sidekick” Heidt,
Amy “10 Calories” Liu, Ian “Why is that guy holding a cigar?” Augerton, Noah “Management” Stein. Of course, nearly everyone else should also be thanked – save the few people who pretty much realize I don’t like them.
- Other crews – Holli is the best runner ever, Andy and Adam have restored my faith in the security crew, and Cara as always has a great handle on the ticket takers.
- Exec Board – Alex, Henry, Kristen, Aaron, Alan, Ross. You guys are finally getting the hang of this. Joe Scaffido as always deserves far
more recognition than anyone gives him for tirelessly dealing with us.
- Northeastern – Jack and Tim, for as always getting busy.
- Band’s Production – Fiji, Scottie, and Doug, since I dealt with them more than anyone else.
- The band – they put on a great show, come on.
- The audience – mainly the IC kids for chatting with me before and between sets.
- Katie (as always!) for calling me and cheering me up in the morning.