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Worst gig of my season...

Discussion in 'Safety' started by Flyboy, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. Flyboy

    Flyboy Member

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    Master Electrician / Rigger
    Chicago, IL
    So I haven't posted very much lately, and this ended up being pretty long, but I just had to get this out there. I work as an LD for a lighting company in Spokane, and as such I get to go out and run many of the smaller concerts which come through town. That being said, this was the worst gig I've had this year...

    I had just gotten back from doing a Christian rock festival in Colfax (props if you know where that is) and headed over to do Eddie Money the next day. I didn't bring a rig with me, the venue had their own, they just needed an LD for the show. However, the rig is the probably the worst one I've worked with. They have about 50 S4 PARs, 8 Technobeams, and 16 Technopros for stage lighting...not too bad, really, but their DMX lines are the most chaotic I've seen. In order to jump from one device to the next, they've used about 50' of cable to span a 5'-10' gap...and instead of coiling the excess, they ran it as far as they could, then looped it back. Needless to say that when I powered up the board, set the patch and found only half of the moving rig working, it was rather difficult to find the source of the problem. Strangely, though, I found that when I killed power, waited 20 minutes and turned everything back on, it all worked.

    Anyway, focus was sufficient as it was, so I didn't bother with that (thankfully, because you can't get to any of the electrics without assembling their scaffolding). Once everything was working, I was completely set up and programmed with 4 hours before doors. So I spent the rest of my time playing with new looks, double checking my haze and BSing with the crew.

    At doors, I asked the house manager where my followspots were (I was told I'd get two on clear-com), to which he replied, "They're about. I'll have them check in with you." They showed up at 10 minutes before show...and I've been told that Clear-coms almost never work properly in this house...great. I explain that it's going to be simple: one spot on the lead at all times with the other picking up solos. They go up to their posts and I signal for them to get on com. After a few seconds of searching, they both look at me quizzically. Apparently they couldn't find their headsets. Oh well, the MC was getting on stage and supposedly the coms weren't going to work anyway.

    I point to the stage, and they do nothing. The MC begins talking, and they do nothing. After more pointed signals, they figure out that I want them to pick up the the go to their lights...and they test them...make sure all the locks are set to their liking...mess with the iris and shutter...then finally the pick up the MC! As he walks off stage.

    So we're off to a good start. The guy at the mixing board turns to me and says that we're going into the intro, so kill the house. But I was never given control of house lights...the house manager was supposed to take his cue to do that from the intro...but he forgot. So the intro is playing, the band is starting to come on stage and the house lights are still up. Luckily they went out <i>just</i> before Eddie came on stage and the followspots picked him up very well. Ok, so we're doing a little better than we were before.

    As the show goes on, the lead guitar starts a solo. Mind you, I don't have a working com (apparently), but my followspots are supposed to be experienced and have already been briefed on who's doing what...I thought that would be enough. But the solo was never hit. Luckily I had programmed some specials just for that possibility, so I was able to pick up solos in something. But throughout the night, the followspots kind of devoloped a mind of their own, to the point where, during actual sections of lyric, they were both panning the entire audience rather than lighting up the act.

    And two thirds of the way through the show, all of my haze disappears. So all of my beam looks are null and void...found out later that someone had kicked the hazer, and worried that they might have messed something up, turned it off just to be safe. Whatever, at this point, it is what it is. I can still flash colors and I've still got some static looks that will work. I can get through this.

    Two songs from the end, I lose board power.

    Now I always use a surge protector for my board just in case. And I've had people accidentally step on it before, so now I dress all of my connections up under the table (off the ground) and put my surge protector on my table right behind my console so that nobody can turn it off. The owner of the sound company was sitting in front of my table with his friend, who decided that my table was a very good spot to lean her elbow on...and flipped the switch.

    Thankfully, the dimmers will maintain their last state in the case of a power loss, so I still had a static look onstage (although it was during a crossfade, and the look really wasn't very good) while I hurried to get my console back online. I flip the board off, drop the faders, turn the surge protector on, and reboot the board...hoping that it will just reload the show, I can hit the faders, and go right back into it.

    The console freezes during boot up, and the whole stage goes black.

    I turn the board back off, clean start it, and begin loading from disk...corrupt. Next disk...corrupt. I begin loading my last backup and wondering if it would be a good time to take up religion. It finally loads and I can bring light back on the stage. But the band spent probably around 45 seconds in total blackness. What about the followspots, you ask? Panning the audience...

    Anyway, the last song and the encore went well enough, and the road crew was really cool about everything. They've been around long enough to know that s*** happens. However, during strike, one of the audience members decided that we were all responsible for the brevity of the show (119 minutes) and that he wouldn't quit bitching about it until one of us gave him his money back ("us" being anyone who was working onstage).

    So that one's done. Gigs have been kind of slow for the last week, which is good, because I needed a break after that one.
  2. LD4Life

    LD4Life Active Member

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    Fort Wayne, IN
    I have one word: OUCH!!! Gotta hate stuff like that. I just finished doing a youth convention where nothing seemed to want to work right.
  3. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Best line ever! :twisted:

    Though, Flyboy, I am sorry to hear things went so poorly, especially in the professional world. Oh well.
  4. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    Panning the audience !?!?!?! To be honest I can't think of a good reason to pan the audience with a followspot ever. But in an unexplained blackout when the band is still playing. WHY!!!?
  5. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Because intelligence has its limits but stupidity is boundless.
  6. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Chicago, IL
    Who is it that has the sig saying "The two most common elements on Earth are hydrogen and stupidity, but not in that order."

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