So Rio was fun!
I am not going to review the gig for you, there are plenty of clips, images and reviews out there for you to check out, but what I will say is this; the bond between Queen and Brazil is an eternal one, and it has come full circle for Brian and Roger, I know for a fact this show meant a great deal for them. It was a privilege to be standing at the side of the stage for this show; the experience was utterly unique for me. I normally look up at the band on our own stage, but here on the Rock In Rio set up I was standing on level with them and could as near possible see what they were seeing, and what beautiful sight you were Rio - a sea of pure joy and happiness. One other observation from having access to that view is you can see all the on stage banter between the band; the winks, the calls to wrap up songs, the intros, the nods and the laughing. I never take my job for granted.
As clearly recognised from show in Sao Paulo, 'Love Of My Life' is to be the soundtrack for this trip, but Rio highlights for me came is the form of possibly two of Queen's poppier moments; Deaky’s 'I Want To Break Free' was a gigantic sing along with the crowd playing their part as an unpaid choir, and when Roger took up lead vocals on 'A Kind Of Magic' the view of the crowd clapping along brought huge grins from those of us taking it all in from the wings.
With the show ending at just after 2.30am in the morning and our load out taking three hours as we crossed over with Metallica's crew who were loading in, it meant I got to see the sun rise over the festival site and it was actually quite lovely. I made a point of walking through the main crowd area, which was now only filled with thousands of beer cups, our own golden glitter from 'We Are The Champions' and site staff surveying the tidy up in front of them. Other than the occasional shouts and crashes from the stage it was all very eerie, yet peaceful at the same time, the calm after the storm if you like.
We have 3 crew buses on standby to shuttle us back and forth to the hotel and once each department is packed up, we ship them out. The guys who are normally on their way first are those working the sound, video and monitors, however a spontaneous drinks party broke out just outside our Production office and everyone was happy to stay back and hang out in the wake of the show - friends will be friends.
If you think this is glamour and fun, think again. I had just 1 hour and 34mins sleep on returning to our hotel, we had our lobby call for 7.30am to catch our plane to Porto Alegre. The welcome to our latest destination was a bumpy one, the last 20 minutes of the flight was a rather unpleasant, turbulence filled joyride that saw several of us nervously laughing at each other. Clearly a very different weather system was at play and the warm climate we had enjoyed in Rio had now been replaced rain and grey skies, not cold, but our shorts and shades have been packed up for now.
Later than evening, thanks to the self-appointed Social Secretary, Tom New (Front Of House Engineer), many of us went out to dinner at a Brazilian/German BBQ restaurant. It's always going to be a good night when the restaurant actually picks you up in its own branded van to take you there! It was quickly christened 'The Meat Wagon'. Crew bonding complete over wine and carvery, we all pilled back to the hotel for caipirinhas, random sloppy games at the billiards table and for some of us, me and a certain guitar tech included, use of the hotel pool at 2am during a quite spectacular electric storm.
"Thunderbolts and lightening, very, very frightening..."
Sorry about the above, too obvious I know.
We had overnight load in yesterday for today's show, nothing too spectacular to report on that to be honest, another thunderstorm joined us right over the venue and briefly held up proceedings, but that was it. The weather has been relentless; I think it has stopped raining for about 3 hours in total since we have been here, its playing hell with my signage. One glimmer of sunshine during the day was that I finally caught up with Roger, when I had to drop off Brian's practice guitar at the band's hotel. I gave Taylor Snr and Jnr a chuckle with a wobbly, skidded entrance into the lobby; I do like to entertain when I can. We chatted about Chelsea's gritty win against Arsenal, but more importantly about West Ham' (my team) and their outstanding win away against Man City, their rise up the table and next season's move to the Olympic Stadium. No business talk, just a good footy gossip.
Another night, another thunderstorm, it's quite the support act.
Speaking of support acts there will be one tonight, maybe even two, this is currently being confirmed. Regional law here in Porto Alegre insists that any international acts who visit and play here must allow for a local act to support them - fair enough, it's quite a nice idea, I think - so prior to Queen and Adam hitting the stage, you will be entertained by a currently unnamed DJ. Party on people.
It's still raining outside.
Soundcheck is currently crashing around the empty arena, we've had Roger having a particular harsh run on the kit, a run through of 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' and 'I Want It All' is currently being played with, Adam is focusing on his vocals unaccompanied between songs. I popped outside between showers and said 'Hello' to a couple of fans that I know and have made the trip over from the UK. They are here early to get to front of the general admission standing area or sponsored 'The Bud Zone' as it is officially called. Local hospitality is looking after them too, staff from the venue had come out and offered them chairs to sit on, knowing they had a long wait until showtime, how nice is that? It's the little things.
Our last show in Brazil is now upon us, the band sound pretty tight out there at the moment and there has even been a little tinkering with the set list. Let's go out with a bang, huh Porto Alegre?
Argentina, get ready...you're next.
(Photo: Steve ‘Baby Jesus’ Price)