QueenOnline on Tour: Notes From The Road Part 13
"You gave me fame and fortune and everything that goes with it...I thank you all."
OK, that is going a bit far of course, but you guys actually reading my blog really did spur me on. The feedback was flattering at times and also constructive, therefore it helped me think a little more about what I was observing and what you wanted to know about. So once again, cheers guys, I think we both got something out of this.
So, as a treat, here's one for the road as it were a final peak "Behind the curtain, in the pantomime..."
Vancouver: My final day on 'Planet Queen + Adam Lambert' was pretty unspectacular. Still fun and hard work, but it was nothing out of the ordinary really, just because I was jumping ship did not change anyone else's day, we still had a show to do and that suited me just fine. I think it is OK to admit now that to start with I was not operating at 100% first thing in the morning. The Three Stooges from the backline team Messer’s Malandrone, Prior and Burchett, honorary Brit and happiest man to escape the asylum Conrad Perry, my boss and on the road big sister Jil and special guest Marcus, formerly of the Paul Rodgers camp made sure I did not forget my final free night out here in the Wild West. Oh, boy.
Despite my actual physical well being taking a little time to get kick started, my soul was a little dampened knowing my time was nearly up, but I was quickly cheered knowing I was going to see my girls again - it was only when I stopped to really think about it too, but on a show you just do and crack on. To be fair and almost contradicting myself, the day was little different in that I was showing Sammy, the new Production team member and in effect my replacement for some jobs, how my day panned out and what to do. Post up the signage, set up the wi-fi, arrange the Production office, bus rules etc, everything I had to learn quickly when I turned up in LA two and half weeks ago. I have to say it was actually rather enjoyable; everyone loves relaying knowledge don't they?
The benefit of having Sammy with me meant we go things done a little quicker and freed up a slot in my day grab "Bass Department Neil” in the Band Lounge for a quick interview for the Official Queen Podcast series. We had been trying to catch up previously, but had to rearrange on several occasions because things change on show day very quickly if the band want to work up some ideas in sound check or have meetings etc. As I have stated previously Neil and I get on very well and it was time to get our nerdy music discussions on tape. I only think I asked about 3 questions but I managed to over 30 minutes from him! Rufus was in the room too, just basically taking the rise out of Neil any opportunity.
"You can shut up, you're next matey!"
And to his credit, Taylor Junior, coolly shrugged and said, "Yeah, man, I'm in." Awesome, bonus material.
Both 'interviews' are pretty raw, but fun. Knowing the pair of them as I have come to, I just knew I did not even need a list of questions or bullet points to work from and that is how I like it. Once they have been edited slightly, you can see what I mean, it really is just blokes chatting about music...and Queen of course. It was a nice break in the routine for me and really put a smile on my face the remainder of the day as we pushed towards showtime. I also left Neil with a little challenge; I do hope he comes through...
There was of course a set list change, the dropping of 'Don't Stop Me Now'. Not my business to know why, but we adjusted the print outs and dished out the news to all the departments.
Showtime was about 10 minutes away and I had this sudden realisation that I had not said goodbye to either Roger or Brian. Knowing that we were doing a runner after the show I was not going to see them again until after the Australian leg. Ah well, an e-mail will do, I will catch up with them later. Cheers chaps, it has been a pleasure, I have learnt so much.
Vancouver were loud too. In fact every show has been pretty deafening to be honest, there really has not been much between any of you. I shot my usual side of stage photos for the social channels, but made a point of really soaking it all in and walked amongst the crowd more than normal - I really enjoyed 'I Want It All' for some reason too, always liked the song, but it stood out for me in this show, it had a real crunch. Adam? Well he is just getting better and better with each show. Somehow he finds something extra each night. It might be note, or a move, or the banter is funnier. I just don't know how he does it in those shoes! Fair play to the guy.
During the day, I had been given several manly hugs and handshakes wishing me well for my trip home, and this continued throughout the show as I bopped around backstage, Ed in the video team said something very sweet which I will keep to myself, but could only have come from a fellow parent. I liked it most when I was asked if I was "coming back" or did I "have to go?", but who wouldn't? Sorry if that sounded big headed, but everyone gets on within this crew, EVERYONE. The place is full of laughter and smiles as people go about their duties and everyone is fully bonded, I would say the same to anyone else if they were leaving. I do hope I bump into most of them again sometime down the line.
I have made some real pals while I have been out here and I cemented a couple of true friendships too and I did get a little sad as we lined up backstage that final time, for me anyway, for 'Toweling Robe Duty'. How could you not when 'We Are The Champions' is blasting out and 15,000 people are singing at the top of their lungs and swaying their arms, my national anthem followed too! Shivers time. Proper soul music.
Neil jogged towards me, took out his in-ear phones, refused the toweling robe, as he did most nights, said something stupid as he did every night and we headed to cars as normal, a big hug later it was all done with little fuss. Perfect, just how I wanted it.
"You won't see Nick again, he is off home tomorrow..."
I looked up and there was Brian with his arms out stretched walking towards me. "Nooooo! Thanks Nick, wish you were staying!" I can't really remember what else we said, but it was all good, lots of smiles, a handshake and I wished him the best for the rest of the shows. I think I then shouted "Get out of here, your car is waiting!” I THINK he laughed...haha!
"The kids? Good on you, I've got 5 of them! That's the problem, you have to bloody keep them, haha!"
Just the response I wanted from Roger as I walked with him to his car as told him I was going home to see my girls. Manly hug No.23 of the day completed and I saluted him off smiling.
Job done. God Save The Queen. Home time.
Right I’m off for good now, I have a pile of washing to do and some Vancouver battered Roger Taylor drumsticks to position somewhere in my office.
PS: I have just dropped my kids off at nursery and even one of the nursery staff was reading my updates, which was cool. Then I realised I was also stood there in a yellow Freddie Mercury T-shirt…hmm, too much?