Center Stage and Fools and Horses meet up again at the Funk Box
Geez. Friday night was the first Center Stage night of 2004. I had on my away message something to the effect of "who knows what will happen..." because honest to goodness, every single Center Stage taping is an adventure of some sort. Drama just finds us.
Anything from hostile venue management to being stuck in 3 hour traffic to almost getting in accidents in a monsoon to being locked in a vehicle in the ghetto for two hours to our equipment sparking on stage to the awfulness that was Rowan University. Every single taping has NOT gone to plan, granted they have all turned out mostly decent, nothing has been created through smooth sailing. So we always cross our fingers.
I was so excited for last night. Come on, its everything I love - hanging out with great people, having a good time, at a venue, videotaping, and the music. I think thats why CS always has a great crew, and an even better time. To get a feel of this band, check out the entry for the Dewey Beach Music Festival, these guys are the nicest guys in rock and roll. Haha and they always tell the story on how usually its the bands trying to find a place to crash, but in Dewey it was three girls with nowhere to sleep and they WILLINGLY gave up their beds and went home early just so we could stay somewhere. We get back from partying with GTT and James Harvey band and come back to them sleeping and they get up and leave at 5 am instead of 6am just so we can sleep.
We leave ahead of schedule in anticipation of the traffic and hit 95 with Rob and Jay in one van and Ed, Epler, Marissa, and myself in another van. Marissa and I talk most of the time, then find a great staion halfway to Baltimore. We park on the top floor of the garage overlooking the city and have an hour to kill before load-in because the trip there was extremely swift. Oh, six Swift trucks, and one had a green front - bonus points.
Marissa and I decide on the pizza place we went to last time because its cheap, close, and quick. We order two large pizzas and a two-liter bottle of coke. Inside they have two tables, three chairs, and no cups. We hover around the table and talk and perhaps I was the last to know, i have no idea, but I made eye contact with Marissa and she mouthed the words "fight" and glanced over the staff. I look up and this guy and girl are both arguing with the guys at the store. Something about his sister, colorful words were exchanged, physical harm was threatened, things were thrown I think. And we were are just all silent eating all afraid a gun was going to be pulled out. As soon as we left Ed and Epler said it would be best if we left so we head back to the garage. What a wonderful start to our evening that really hasn't begun yet.
We load up one van with all of our equipment and Rob and Marissa drive it to the venue while we stake out the place. The Funk Box is one of our favorite venues, so it was really great to be filming there. See the Fools and Horses guys outside and say hi. Kent thought Jay's name was Jed, which reminded up of the Jed Clampett truck from the first time we rented vehicles for CS and we laughed.
We load in with the band and I find Marissa talking to some guy and I overhear her say assertively that we are supposed to be here. I asked Jay what's up and he says that the venue promoter had no idea the CS would be there and it can't happen. Marissa definitely cleared it with the band and the venue and talked to both on the phone, not email where things could be screwed up. She isn't the type of person to ignore a step in the concert filming process and we know from experience to make sure the venue knows everything. So I totally know she wasn't at fault and I am glad she stood her ground. And unfortunately we just half to take it. More often then not, the venue just gets really intimidated by our equipment then is really impressed with our professionalism. So all in all, we unpacked and set up pretty quickly, but with the portable studio in the fire escape route. I definitely do not think that was legal in any sense. I deemed it Marissa's cave and at least I can see her through the doorway so I could spy on her with the camera haha.
Ed and I were both on the sides of the stage with Rob and Jay on the second level. Marissa and I were talking of Maroon 5 on the way down and the venue played it before the show, sweet, so the boys dealt with us singing over the headsets. We all scouted out the area and spied and talked about people in attendence over the headsets. I started filming Marissa through the door to her cave and Tim and Kent saw this and provided much entertainment for the tape. I'm just glad no one got naked for it.
The guys hit the stage and it was filming time. Went by so quickly and I loved most of the shots I got. Screw the corwd, I get my shots. Unfortunately I had to deal with a moniter in front of me, but it caused fro creativity. And I got awesome shoe shots haha. They played an awesome set and it sounded great. I should know, I was right in front of the speaker. They covered the Darkness for their last song and it was the greatest thing ever.
They were playing with the All Mighty Senators so we couldn't pack up all of our stuff until they were done, so we relaxed in the hallway and did the interview upstairs. The Funk Box's green room is spectacular. Thats the only reason he see bands there, haha jk. I discovered a ladder and FAH tells me it goes out to a balcony...sweet! So Marissa and I go up there and film, then start the interview.
Again, a CS interview is usually more like a runaway train because you never know what the hell is going to come out of it. The best was when Kent discovered his shirt was unbuttoned, his face was priceless. They kept doing do-overs to make themselves sound semi professional. And maybe one day Paul McCartney will open for them, when he gets better. It was a touching moment when they described the atmosphere with Kent being in Boston and them in the Baltimore area. :-). Bill tried to maintain a semblence of normalcy, but that didn't work either. After viewing the tape, I'll post more on the highlights of the interview.
After the interview, the other band was STILL playing and we were all cold and tired and ready to go home since we were exhausted. Ed, Marissa, and I did the only logical thing and walked to 7-11 for sustenence. 7-11 so does NOT compare to Wawa. I haven't had a slurpee in like ten years, and the banana one was enjoyable, though it tasted like yellow. Federal Hill, where the venue is, is this nice area with a bunch of bars, so of course everyone was dressed up decently and drunk, and you have the three of us bundled up in our "we're filming a band" clothes and slurpees and donuts and coffee. What a sight.
Back the venue and the freaking band still was not done. Get to our cave and as soon as I stepped in I look at Ed, Epler, and Jay and say "this hallways so does not smell legal". Someone was participating in some activities downstairs and shots were taken by the band in our cave. Three frekaing encores. COME ON!!!! Usually I wouldnt mind this, but we just wanted to get the hell home. We decided that when they were done, we just rip up our wires and deal with coiling them later.
Finally they were done, and we seriously just went and ripped. Marissa and I didn't even deal with the gaff tape and warned Jay to just bring some scissors tomorrow. Seriously. If you have ever seen our wiring setup, you would understand why we coil. Screw it. We had hundreds of feet of XLR and video cable in a bundle. The bundle was so huge I couldn't carry it out myself so Epler and I did while explaining why there was so much wrong with what we are doing. The two graduates are the ones breaking all the rules. Carlos would have a shit fit if he saw our bundle. Jay wouldn't let us hold it long enough for us to take a picture because it was cold outside.
Marissa came out of the venue beaming and said how pleased the management was and how we're invited back and they want to work with Center Stage "six or seven times". What was that number!!?!? Haha. We lose Rob and Jay en route to 95, but once we hit the highway, I was gone. I never fall asleep in the car, and I passed out.