QueenOnline On Tour: Notes From The Road Part 1
"I would love to be involved...just for the opening show even."
That was pretty much the pitch to management to get on the plane for the Queen + Adam Lambert North American tour. There were a few other lines of personal endorsement of course and what I could offer to the jaunt, but I kept it pretty simple, 12 years on the job and you hope that you might have some credit in the bank.
"The whole tour? Ah, I would love to, but..."
Having two young kids and a wife just starting a new job a few weeks before the tour kicked off...I would have come home to an empty house. However, after a minute or so of negotiation (see or being told what was on offer), we settled on the first six shows and that I was it, I was officially 'crew'. My online position had been cemented as part of the touring team, plus, I agreed on "a few other jobs that might come up", I was in. Rock n' Roll. Have you seen 'Almost Famous'? That was I.
Two days later, I get an e-mail headed "Production Assistant: Job Spec". My role had been expanded; those "few extra jobs" were a lengthy list. Hell, I didn't care I was on the plane, and bus as it turns out. Now to tell the wife…
It was back to business of course for the next six weeks, the ‘Queen Machine’ was thundering on, the Extravaganza was touring, We Will Rock You closing, launching the Official Queen Podcast series, plans for the 2014 releases had be produced, presented and agreed, plus of course we were in the business of selling tickets for the expanding tour.
In between all that I was slowly planning 'my tour', it was all was coming together: confirming flights, setting up time to talk to Roger and Brian on the road, meeting Jil the Tour Production Coordinator, would I be able to meet a friend in Chicago? What bag I am taking? DO I need new underwear and socks? How is the childcare going to work out? I am missing Father's Day, the kids have chickenpox, the wife thinking I was heading out on some 1970s sex and drugs magical mystery tour...real stuff.
The Queen Team meeting on Wednesday 11th was great, we rattled through several projects and made some decisions and threw around some great ideas. 2014 has been and will be busy, 2015, well the fun just doesn't stop, there will be a whole lot more to enjoy as a Queen fan all being well. The imminent tour was of course discussed, I was calm, but a wry smile appeared across my face as Jim Beach packed us all off at the end of the meeting.
"Have fun Nick, see you in Chicago!"
I am finishing this off, just as I am waiting for my flight to LA from Heathrow's Terminal 3. My friend and colleague Justin Shirley-Smith, Queen's long serving sound engineer, has just chipped off to catch his earlier flight, so I am officially the last member of the crew to leave the UK for the tour. I am looking forward to hooking up with the Queen team again and finally meeting my new friends in Adam’s camp and the iHeart Radio team. You just have to keep an eye out for the Pete Malandrone chap...
I know I am lucky to do what I do, but all things I have worked on have led to this and, frankly, I can't wait. So, look out for updates and images from the road on all the Queen channels, the links are all below, blah, blah, blah, I see some images of the stage from the iHeart Radio show have leaked already, shame really, but it just adds to the thrill of it all I say. I just hope I get to watch some of the World Cup.
The 'Once In A Lifetime' Tour, it is exactly that for me too. I'm ready to rock...and to work my ass off.
Right, I am off now to wander around this shopping centre that also doubles as an airport to spend about £50 on stuff I don't really need.