Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cramping My Style...and My Bunk

As if there wasn't little enough space in my bunk because of the unnecessary need to have a DVD player on my ceiling taking up 6 inches of the 24 inches of space I have from bed to ceiling. 
It now has a clock that I cannot turn off. 
This is me in my bunk. Blanket on top. Mere inches between me and this darn DVD player. 
The blue light to the clock is on. It stays on. I can't turn it off. There will be gaff tape covering this blue intrusion by bedtime tomorrow. I swear of it.  I knew I should have packed the gaff in my backpack (which is up top) and not in my suitcase (which is under the bus). 

The Second Leg

We are just starting out the second leg of the tour.  Started out with a little Walmart shopping. I love the fact that I'm allowed to buy whatever I want/need as far as groceries. Because of dietary restrictions, this is a good thing and everyone gets catered to. You want something special? Just ask and we can typically get it. 

I have two cabinets on our bus I use that have all my 'low sodium' foods. That way I don't have to search the bus and read all the labels. Convenience!  😉

PS. It always seems weird to me when 15 of us gather at midnight in a low lit Walmart parking lot and unload baggage out of the back of our cars and vans. 

Two's Daze Fun

The second half of my Tuesday included a spontaneous trip to the Tennessee Safari!
Here, you can feed animals, pet them, play with them, hold some of them and get really really close to them.  
Some even came into my car!!

My favorite animals though were the lemurs.  Found only naturally in Madagascar, these little guys are so adorable!!
I found this trip to be totally worth the extra hour of driving and the $18 to drive and feed them.

My First Daze Off

Monday I did nothing, and it was glorious!

Tuesday - I overdid it, and it was even better!!!

I decided to make the trek out to Memphis just to see Graceland.  I have never been, but thought it should be something I see before I die.  Not exactly bucket list because it wasn't a mandatory priority, but something still on the radar.

Graceland did not disappoint.
From the moment of arriving until the very end, it was one of the most entertaining and informative tours I have been on.  Better than any wine or beer or ice cream tour.  And it was all hosted by John Stamos!  HAVE MERCY!!
This was my favorite room from the tour.  The Jungle Room.  A place to relax and a place to practice music.  The ceiling is carpeted for acoustics - but what I really LOVED was the carvings on the furniture.  Those dragon heads ROCK!!  
I was impressed by this plaque.  This was a small list of several people that Elvis decided to help out along the way.  Anytime he heard of someone having financial difficulty, he wrote them a $1000 check.  He would do the same for charities and research facilities.  He donated over $1,000,000 in his lifetime.  Which was a lot for back then.
And no tour to Graceland would be complete without a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich:

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Road Trip Within A Road Trip

My first stop outside of the tour is officially 
Loveless Cafe. 
I honestly wasn't expecting too much other than a tourist trap and some decent southern cooking.  But after one bite into their biscuits, I'm sold. The rest of my meal (eggs and bacon) were just eggs and bacon. But the biscuits were so soft and fluffy. They were like eating the clouds that little fat baby angels sit upon.  I mean that as a compliment.  

Monday, September 28, 2015

State Count

7 States so far: Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Indiana

Next week isn't a home town show, but it is a home state show.  Looking forward to the Georgia and the South Carolina shows!!

Monday Off

Today is my first day off in months. It feels good to be able to sit back and relax a bit.

Thing I've done today:
1.  Buy gaff tape 
2.  Write this list

It's been a good day off. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Day Four To The Floor

The first four shows have come to an end. It's been the best of times. It's been the worst of times. 
Things are definitely running smoother. Well, at least the things related to me. Hanging signs, taping arrows, ice, towels, etc 
I'm so very looking to having tomorrow off.  I think I may still go shopping for some supplies (I need a ton more gaff tape for those stupid floor arrows) but otherwise I'm excited about the first full day off in several months. I need to chill and relax and sleep. And if it's warm enough - I need to SWIM!! Swim with puppies!!  DOGGIE PADDLE!!!!!

Hello Wisconsin!! (We're All Alright!)

So I'm thinking that an Athiest intentionally planned this out:

Late Start

Tonight we are playing at a church. This morning, the church is still functioning with regular services. We will have 5 less hours than normal to get ready. In preparation, I have already begun tearing pieces of tape to make my arrows. 
I learned this little trick working in film:
I feel like I should be in a Run DMC video...or TLC. 

End of the Third Day

I'm pretty sure I did way more work today than any one person should ever have to. But here are a few highlights:
I was able to (within an hour) choreograph a group of 60 people intoa group 'singalong' for the concert. 
Got all my 'normal' things on my to do list done. 
Amongst other things, I'm sure. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

End Of Day 2

(Photo from yesterday's show in WI)

Today felt smoother. Much smoother. Everyone is getting systems down. We are understanding better how each other works. A bit of fine tuning here and there. Things are falling into place and we are definitely starting to get a groove. 
Jenn and I play a game everyday. We call 'Joe and Jenn vs. The World'
Everyday we go through and tally all the times we were proactive, all the times we did right preventing things going wrong, all the times we answered questions before they're asked of us. 
We have won the last two days. There were a few times the world has scored on us - but overall we are still winning by quite a landslide. 
And this weekend we will be Jenn-less. Idk how much weight that will leave on me. We do have a different tour manager coming in for two days. My only thing is I don't know him at all, and I have never had a different tour manager boss other than Jenn.  At the very least, thugs will be interesting and/or different. 

The Wall

I had 5 arrows, but I think the sixth one - the top right arrow is my favorite EVER!!
Yes, it pointed only at a blank wall. Hahahaha

Joe Of All Trades

Being Jenn-less today, I had no idea what to expect. So I was assuming I would have to pretty much do everything. I know I haven't. But it's been pretty close to everything day-of-show related. The only things I haven't are manage the runners and I won't be doing settlement tonight.  Other than that I've done a lot!  A LOT!!  And, I've done it with time to spare to sit down and eat each meal (other than breakfast. I've just been having juice for breakfast anyways). 
Good day so far. Good day. 

Laundry Day

Today I was given the task of washing towels.  Sounds easy enough. The venue manager shows me the washing machine. "It's basic, I don't need to give you directions."
"Nope. I'm good. Thank you."
See. Nothing fancy. Except...did you notice anything different...?
Yeah. I didn't either. I ran an entire load. Got back and the towels were rather dry. I thought maybe it was a water saver machine. Pulled out the towels and the soap pod was still in tact. 
This. Did. Not. Work. 
Try it again. Hit wash. It's making noises. No water. Then I see it above the dryer: 
Do you see it now...?
Quick!  Turn the water ON!!
A piece of information that would have been good to know before the first load. Oh well. Figured it out. Moving on. 

Tour Mascot

Every tour, Jenn and I find a mascot to take with us on our adventures. The first tour with Third Day and Switchfoot, we brought The Count from Sesame Street. Then on Hillsong, Tyler found us a Tour Pineapple. Here are this years options:
Hey young man!  There's a place you can go....

Friday, September 25, 2015

Not Enough Chairs For Everyone..?

My favorite quote of mine this past week: "they're grown men, They can fight each other for it." 

Soreness Won't Stop Me

As I'm laying the tape down today, I'm lying on the floor. Francesca's daughter is playing with a remote controlled car. 
Her target: me. 
So I got to do a few side planks and rolls and bridges and a downward facing dog or two...

Church Catering Humor

By yours truly. 😉

SOREing High

Woke up this morning with ever intention to work out. 
Woke up this morning with enough time to work out. 
Woke up this morning with every muscle in my body sore. 
No workout today. 

My Mistake

I had been given the task of letting kids up on stage during the concert. They told me when to meet the kids side stage. I go over at the appropriate time and meet the little ones. 
I was told that on the last song, wait until after the first verse and into the beginning of the chorus - then let the kids up. 
Ok simple enough. 
One thing I realize as Matthew starts to sing after an alter call: nobody told me what the last song was going to be. 
He sings a nice slow ballad. He follows with a chorus. I have no clue if this is the last song so...ok girls, why not??
The girls go on stage. The line up behind him. They al raise their hands and sing. It was really cute and adorable, but...
Wrong song. 
Matthew backs up, not knowing kids are there. Almost trips on them. Nothing horrible happens (thank God). 
They start the next song (the REAL last song) and the show goes on and ends. 

Missed But Not Forgotten

Yesterday was such a whirlwind, by the end of the night I couldn't remember half of what happened!  
Another highlight of the day:
I was asked to stream a video live on Facebook on Matthews page. We hit 1.7K views while streaming. That was kinda cool. Now my shoulders hurt. Props to anyone who has ever been a boom mic operator.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Oh, Claire - Eau Claire!

From the stage tonight:

Matthew: It's great to be in the great city of Eau Claire tonight!
(a few hand claps and hoots)
Matthew: How many of you are from here in Eau Claire?
(about fifteen people clap and hoot)
Me to 'Talkbox': Did you hear that?
Talkbox: What?
Me: Fifteen people are excited that they are from here.  Fifteen.

Stuck On You

Every morning I have two major tasks that take priority over most else: hang signs for whose room is whose and (on this tour) place tape on the ground in the shape of arrows and write directional signs and labels on each one. 
The purpose of these are so people can easily find catering and their dressing room. I laid the first 7 so people could get from bus to venue. 
Then at every turn, EVERY TURN, I made more arrows to and from any and all locations. Some intersections got to be quite colorful...and abundant. 
I also got creative at times. 
I stopped counting arrows somewhere around 53. 
53 arrows takes about 2 hours to lay down and label, in case that ever comes up on Jeopardy. 

Passing Myself

I'm finally official:

Learn Something New Every Day

Things I forgot that can prove difficult to do while on a moving bus:
1. Walk
2. Pour anything into a cup
3. Pee standing up and not miss
4. Make a sandwich
5. Put in contact lenses
6. Text and press all The correct letters
7. Make my own bed
8. Keep doors and drawers open. 
9. Keep doors and drawers closed. 
10. Stand still. 
11. Change pants. 

Thing I learned is much more difficult while riding on a tour bus:
-Core exercising. 
It's difficult enough to keep your abs tensing and flexing as the world below you feels still. Now add in bumps, turns, jostles, accelerating, decelerating and changing of lanes.  
Overall, this will be a good addition to the 'muffin top melting' I've been doing. It's working out way more muscles during each position!!  Man, I'm gonna look good when this is over. Heck, I already do - I'm gonna look great!! 

First Hurdle

It's typically not a good thing when your being woken up at 3am by your boss.  I was already wondering why we were stopped for the last 30 minutes and all I could hear was dripping liquid. I thought it was gas and we were refueling. 
We were just outside of Chicago parked on the side of the road. Sprinklers were spraying the side of the bus, hence the sound of liquid. Thank goodness we were not on fire or anything terrible like that.  But our bus did break down. 
Jenn and I have now switched busses and are sleeping in the lounge of the crew bus tonight.  
It's a glamorous life, lol...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

End Of Day 1

It's been a good and productive day. We got a lot done and we are ready to hit the ground running tomorrow.  Tomorrow being the first date of the tour. Gonna make this first show amazing. 
As I was getting close to getting ready for bed, my boss turns to me and apologizes, "I'm sorry. The rest of the mornings won't be like this, but tomorrow we have to load in at 7:45am."
Me: "that's sleeping in!!  I'm fine with that!  That's central time too. It'll be like sleeping until 845am to me.  I'm totally ok with that. If that's the worst we have to wake up - this is going to be a great tour!!  Especially on the west coast!" 

In case you've never seen the sleeping quarters in a bus, here is my bunk:
It's literally about two feet tall. If I bend my knees while on my back, my knee caps hit the ceiling. It's compact, but comfy and cozy. Hardest part is remembering throughout the night and in the morning: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SIT UP!!

And they're off...!!!!

We have officially 'rolled'. Which means the busses are stocked, staffed and we are officially on our way to Wisconsin. Or 'We-scan-sin' as some northerners call it. 
At this point, I can officially say that, "I am on tour with Matthew West."

I actually just met Matthew for the first time about ten minutes ago. Really nice guy. This is going to be fun!!  

Starting Point

First task of the tour: laminate signs. Cool. Nice easy job. Then I came across this sign that lit up my face
That's right!!!  $1/minute massages at different venues!  Ahh the perks!!!

The Night Before

I was planning on writing this last night, but I got busy packing and getting ready. 

I've been pretty much packed for the last five days or so.  I've been adding a few things here and there to my bags periodically. 
Lilly (my cat) has been laying on my suitcases. I think it's her way of asking me not to leave.  "If I lay on the bag, he can't open it and pack it...and therefore he can never leave!  He will be here to feed me forever!!!" 

Friday, September 11, 2015

First Impressions

I was offered a job going back out on tour about a week ago.  I couldn't be any more excited.  It feels like such a long time since I went out with Hillsong United, and even longer since Third Day and Switchfoot.  This offer could not have arrived at a better time as work is about to slow down.

This tour is 49 shows in about 60 days.  It will be a challenge, but it will also include actual days off, which I haven't had in a while.  Days of rest will be enjoyed.  I plan on using them mostly for working out (so I don't gain weight while touring) and also finding adventures (Graceland, Six Flags, Surfing...)
The shows are nationwide!  We travel from Georgia to Minnesota to California.  It's a lot of time on the bus, but every moment of it should be a blast!