(yeah, yeah, yeah… I know I’m slow. I’ve been busy. I swear.)
2020… yeah that was a year wasn’t it? Started it off on a pretty good high with the potential of many fruitful things. Work and in life especially. I polished off the last of the Mumfords tour in March and the future looking solid shortly thereafter with dates beginning with Harry Styles. Not to say, after getting home from my last show on Mums did I come down with something that (I know now) bared a huge resemblance to the C word. This was before the testing and vaccines though but I’m pretty positive it was…it. Thankfully I was due to be home for a few weeks so quarantine engage.
Then “The Break” happened, and one heck of a rollercoaster ensued. For the first time in my working life, since I’d say around 1997, I didn’t know what my next gig was going to really be and more importantly, when it was going to be. It was honestly surreal. Getting the message that all European shows were getting cancelled and postponed… and then the US following through shortly after. Industry wide, the affects were being felt by fellow road crew all the way from the top down to stage hands that I’ve known for years. Folks that depended on those gigs week to week and the checks that followed suit. Many who I know have yet to return to this business and probably never will now. I can only hope they’ve found something better and more fulfilling.
Myself? Well I went through the initial phase of “it’ll be over soon”, then it was “welp, this is a heck of a staycation”, to the “time to do some things I’ve always wanted to try”. This included a bunch of online classes and seminars that helped fill the days. I managed to gain some work as an online audio consultant for a company that helps design all facets of venues. From the ground up on some and some preexisting. It was a great expansion to my knowledge of audio and all that it affects in and around a venue. I also was able to help a popular YouTuber with his gaming servers and all those that were members. Many hours focused on coding data packs and plugins with even more hours of troubleshooting. That ended up being pretty consuming but in the end, hopefully, many found some joy in the projects I contributed to and for it.
The year became a modern day corralling of the wagons for me though. Watching what I spent and what I did became even more important. My focus narrowed severely. The most ever from what I can guess. The deep fear being that I was going to have to change my career after 20+ years into something I wasn’t ready for or worse yet, prepared to do. I mean, I’m not opposed to manual labor of most types. My job is littered with various amounts of it on a daily basis…but to stop and shift gears in a completely different direction takes planning, patience, and drive. And being stuck at home due to a nationwide quarantine, just isn’t the place to shift into a higher gear. I know now, that I was in a total mode to make sure that directional arrow didn’t change for me. I was determined to come out the other side in some sort of one piece. All in all, I ended up making it through the year with the hopes for a better 2021.
2021 started with much of the same drive and determination to stay afloat with the sanity and savings I had. Managed to to keep things on course thanks to some early days investing in crypto and stocks. Personally, the times were trying and I learned some things about me that I realized I needed to work on heavily. Work in progress I suppose even to this day!
Thankfully by the middle of the year things started to come back online work-wise for me. Started off with the opening of MSG with Foo Fighters filling in for a fellow co-worker Mr Smith who was dealing with the lockdown still in the UK at that time. What a heck of a start back I tell you… To not be around very many people for over a year and a half, and then start up with a show with upwards of 20,000 screaming fans was a humbling and surreal experience. Something I’ll never forget. Hearing that band fire up with the crowd cheering really doesn’t beat much out there.
Unfortunately, before the show could happen, we had a massive loss to the camp near the end of rehearsal prep. One of the best stage managers I’ve ever had the privilege of working with passed away before we could get the show in at MSG. Andy Pollard was a legend and a driving force on the crew. I’ll never forget your stories of the carrot fly Andy and that look of victory on your face when telling the story. RIP sir and thanks for all the great experiences…
After a few weeks of doing shows with Foos, Mr Smith was finally able to get across the pond. At that point I immediately turned my attention back to the tour I was supposed to do before the C thing… Mr Styles. After a few weeks of prep and rehearsals, we hit the ground running with me at the helm of another 360º tour. I’m starting to see a trend at this point of my career.
This carried me through the end of the year with a brighter future hopefully moving into 2022…