by Anura Guruge
Devanee & I have been at Kingswood Performing Arts Center, in Wolfeboro, NH, from 11:10 am this morning till 3:20 pm this afternoon, helping unload the 18-wheeler for tonight’s Gordon Lightfoot concert and then help set up the stage — in particular all the monitors, drum set, percussion, mikes, and the sound system.
Devanee got to plug in “Gord’s” (as it says on the cable label) guitar cable. She was beyond chuffed.
Though it was a lot of hard graft it was a LOAD of fun. Devanee was beyond thrilled and, for me, it was worthwhile just for that. She can now tell folks that she helped set up a real, bona fide Gordon Lightfoot concert and got to plug in Gord’s guitar cable. Actually her job was to plug in most of the 3 prong power power chords and ALL the guitar cables. We were teasing her that if the guitars stopped working during the concert we will all turn all look at her because she plugged in all the chords. I plugged in all the drum and percussion mikes.
Amazing operation. We lucked out, plus we agreed to work later than the 1 pm that most were willing to work. Hey, the joys of being retired. We got to work with ‘Chuck‘. He has been doing Gordon’s concerts since 1978. 36 years, and as he jokes, he has only been fired once. We got chatting, a bit. He was at the 1980 Mesa, Arizona concert I attended. As soon as I said “1980 Arizona” — he said Mesa, Arizona. Bingo. He has also done concert setup for Paul Simon. Very nice guy. It was magical to watch him. No fuss. No hassle. Not a single swear-word. No sweat. He knew the setup — as he claims, in his sleep. Talk about precision. I don’t think surgeons are that precise. We unloaded quite a few “boxes”. I didn’t count how many. I, by choice, did the ramp from the truck. I didn’t do my run this morning so I wanted to make sure I got my exercise. There were, in the main, 4 of us who did the ramp — typically one in front, one at the back. I usually did the back — i.e., walking backwards down the ramp, “braking” its progress. I think I did at least 12 trips.
Once the “boxes” were on the stage it really was a military operation. Just chuck and a bunch of volunteers — but as of 2 pm, it was down to Chuck and 5 of us, two of them, I and Devanee. That was when we did the sound setup and initial sound check. It was FUN. Devanee was gushing and she really has no idea who Gordon Lightfoot is!
Now, I am the first to admit, with absolutely no rancor or regrets, that I have, by and large, led a rather mundane, secluded, sheltered, borderline boring life. Given that, I am probably not saying much if I said that this was one of the most fun days, of late, in my life. But, each to our own. I am an experience freak. I, again subject to the just stated caveats, like to experience as much as I can from life — GIVEN that I have no other life and do NOT believe in an afterlife. I know I have been to over a 150 ‘proper’, on a real-stage concerts. But, I had never helped setup a concert. This was an experience. I am most glad for Devanee. She wasn’t even supposed to be there. She and I happened to stop by the ‘Great Waters Music Festival‘ office, in Wolfeboro, Wednesday to pick up my black, stagehand, shirt. Michael Harrison who runs the ‘show’ was saying more hands on Friday the better. So I said I will bring Devanee along since she is younger and stronger than I.
I had no idea how old Gordon was. I thought he was between 65 and 70. He is 75! He has had some health issues. We did NOT see him this afternoon. He arrived at the ‘Center’ around 1:30 pm — BUT we were all told to give him privacy.
So, that was my ‘morning’. I am way behind schedule on my book. But, this was good. Thank YOU, Chuck.