As the end of 2014 approaches I have the strange experience of not working the last night of the year! December 31st is often seen as a 'nice little earner’ as it usually involves a substantial pay hike. I have spent previous New Years Eves all round the world including Australia, with Pendulum in Perth (very nice) to Transylvania with The Prodigy (very cold.)
Last year was spent in London at a show shoe-horned in on a day off during the resident 'Disney on Ice'. As soon as Disney finished on the 30th they de-rigged as we pre-rigged and The Great Swap Over commenced. This involved pre-rigging the lights in the corridors the evening before but by 4am our lights were going in, and the ice was cleared. Sound loaded in about 8 am and we were all rigged and line-checked by mid afternoon.
Doors opened on time with everything pretty much ready. Support acts did their thing, all leading up to the midnight start for the main act. This was an act for whom punctuality was not second nature, but this night had to be different - we had a laser show countdown and then straight into the first song! Timing was crucial as the lasers were providing the visual countdown, sequenced to Greenwich Meantime. It was decided that it was best if the laser man controlled this part of the show, and play the countdown music as well.
He had come prepared and had brought a mini jack to jack cable for his sound card! We looked despairingly at it. We grabbed some D.I. boxes and fed it into the PA. A thin, buzzy sound was the best his PC could manage. We hunted round and found a USB audio interface and downloaded the drivers. Much better! We now had hifi sound! Come midnight, tension was mounting. As a back up I had the intro, just in case, on my laptop ready to go…
So the last DJ finished and I played some tracks waiting for the countdown to start. At 5 mins to midnight we got the go and switched the audio to the laser man and…… silence….. “Play!” we all shouted. “I am!” he shouted back. The laser show had started but no audio. I faded up my version and dispatched a tech to investigate. His PC had been put to sleep and lost the interface. We soon reloaded it and in a less-than-seamless crossfade switched to his audio in time for the final countdown.
The moral of the story? Always have a back up plan!
Have a great New Year everyone and see you in 2015.