The stadium we were playing in Bogota was immense. It took my breath away it was so immense. And that was when it was empty. What was it going to be like full?
Well, okay, three-quarters full, since they didn’t sell tickets for the area behind the stage or alongside. But the general admission to the main field alone was probably still more people than we had typically played to in most shows in our lives.
That shouldn’t have intimidated me. Maybe if I had been feeling my best, it wouldn’t have.
I was not feeling my best. Not even after my daily Vitamin F. Not even after Colin rubbed all the cramps out of my hand and my arm. I still felt under-rehearsed and under-prepared for this whole show. I really hated that feeling.
As we took the stage for Ziggy’s soundcheck I felt like the Vitamin F must have messed with my perception because it took a really long time to reach my microphone.
“Does this stage seem larger than it was in Venezuela or is it just me?” I asked Bart.
He looked around. “The riser is the same size but the stage itself is bigger,” he said.
“I wonder if anyone else knows that.” I didn’t see Linn or anyone else so I told Ziggy as he came to center stage. “Hey, Zig.”
“Hey, Daron.” He sauntered over to the edge of the band riser. He was wearing a white leather jacket over a button down shirt. It was somewhat chilly, by the way.
“We think this stage is extra large.”
He looked around. “Hm. Is it really or is it an optical illusion? It looks bigger to me, too, but everything looks bigger? I guess soccer fields are wider than football fields.”
When his mic was live, he asked the question of the universe at large. “So is it our imaginations or is this stage extra large?”
I heard Mickey curse from somewhere behind me. He came around front. “Are you fucking kidding me?”
Ziggy shrugged and we proceeded with the soundcheck, this one a genuine checking of the sound with no dancers. We did about half of “Parade” and half of “After the Storm.”
And then they got the dancers together and had us do the first half of “Parade” again with full production, this time calling it off once it became obvious that the stage size required some adjustments on their part. While they worked that out, I sat on the edge of the riser feeling a little woozy, as if I was too tired to stand up. I wondered if maybe some coffee was going to be needed to perk me up.
Maybe it was all the debate going on between Linn and Mickey and Josie that was making me feel so worn out. Everyone was looking tired of standing around waiting for them, at least. The band really did not have to be there for twenty minutes while they paraded back and forth and measured the distances and so on.
I finally said, “Are you guys done with the musicians? Or–”
“Yes, yes, go. Go.” Linn made shooing motions with her hands.
I passed the motion to the rest of the musicians with an ironic twist of my thumbs and then turned back to her. She had gone back to muttering with Josie. I spoke into my mic and found it potted down so I went over to them. “How soon can I expect to get the Star*Gaze part of soundcheck going?”
Linn made an exasperated sound. I ignored it and repeated my question for Mickey, who was at that point measuring the height of the stage (as if the height mattered).
“Better give us twenty minutes,” he said.
“Better give us at least that on the stage,” I answered.
He opened his mouth like he was going to argue, then changed his mind. “Twenty minutes,” he repeated, and I didn’t know if that meant he agreed with me or if he was just repeating himself. I went to find something to occupy my mind with for twenty minutes.
You know what I should have been doing in those twenty minutes? My vocal exercises. You know what I actually did?
Nothing. I did absolutely nothing. I sat on the far edge of the stage, facing the empty back of the stadium, and just stared.
I had a lot on my mind but I don’t even think I really thought about much. It was like a went into low power mode, where my eyes were open but my brain was on half speed or something. It wasn’t even like Vitamin F hitting me hard, either, though it could sometimes make me space out.
Eventually Bart came and sat with me. “Whadda you think? Dawn, Skyward, Time Line, Shape of Space, Shock Diamonds?”
“Did you think opening with Dawn worked?”
“I did. I think we could even do the thing of just having a chord or a note playing in the background and getting gradually louder until we actually get on the stage?”
“Oh, you mean like trigger a synth from offstage?”
“Sure, if Chris is cool with that.”
“Let’s ask him. I think we should take our places for soundcheck now to give them a hint.”
“Good plan.” I hopped down off the stage–it was higher than expected too and I jarred my ankles a little–and went to gather the guys.
(Anyone want to guess the over/under on how many DGC-themed tattoos all those assembled end up with at our August 20th meetup? Also, I’d like to do one hour of it as a livestream so those not there in person can catch some of it. What time would you guys like that to happen? Comment below to express an opinion! Or answer the poll! -ctan)