We woke up fairly early (for us), and jumped back into the fray, working right up till we had to leave for load in.
One of the projects we had been working on was the mailing of the new record pre-order packages. Root had spent hours hand writing the addresses and packaging them up, so on our way to the venue we found a post office to ship them out so they would arrive by release day.
This was my fourth time in Orlando with the band, and our third time at The Social. Having a sound guy for the tour has been a boon, he was able to dial the band’s sound in pretty tight, giving us, in my opinion, the best sound that we’ve yet had in that room.
For this tour Nate and Stevie G have been using in ear monitors which, while Nate has used them before, are a completely new animal for Stevie.
What the guys hear on the stage is an entirely different thing then what the crowd hears. That’s not to say that they’re up on stage listening to the sounds of nature while they’re playing. Most of the instruments are mic’d and then the sounds are mixed together by the engineer at the board before it gets pumped through the club’s PA system. Given that everyone in the band is set up scattered across the stage and usually directly in front of their own amp, there is no way that Stevie G, for example, could hear Nate’s vocals over the blast of his own guitar amp. Hence, the stage monitors.
The concept of a monitor mix is so that a musician can hear just the things that they want to while on stage. A large speaker on the stage or an in-ear headphone plays their individual mix (in a perfect situation that is… In a less perfect situation, which is more common, some band members share the same mix). This allows everyone to stay on the same page throughout the show, plus it gives you the ability to self critique your performance in real time, forcing anyone who strives for self development to work on any issues plaguing them, or suffer with hearing their screw-ups nightly.
That’s why it was a big deal when, halfway through their set, Nate’s in-ear monitor died. Suddenly, mid-song, he could hear nothing but the driving beat of Mochello’s drums and the sound of his own guitar amp. When something unexpected like that happens, there is no time to stop and grab a speaker to use as a monitor. The only thing to do at that point is to push on.
To the casual concert goer, nothing seemed to change. Nate soldiered on, not missing a beat. To me, who has worked at over 200 Man on Earth shows in the last few years, well, if I had somehow missed the split second of surprise on Nate’s face when his monitor died, or if I didn’t see him take the in-ears out, I may have been in the dark as well. When a curveball comes at you, you just have to trust in your abilities and not psych yourself out, and I think Nate was able to do that perfectly in Orlando.
We stayed in Orlando after the show, finally making it to our first Walmart of the tour. The next day, after our first Planet Fitness of this run and a few hours in our local Starbucks doing some office work (NOW it feels like tour!), Mochello headed off to spend some time with his brother and family. The rest of us headed to Downtown Disney, where, after walking around a bit, Root and I did what every responsible adult would do at Downtown Disney…. We found an Irish pub. There we found Irish whiskey and those step dancers that move their legs in impossible directions, all with an eerie Disney smile on their face… (The pub also had this dense multigrain bread with this awesome dipping oil that had an amazing Guinness reduction in it… Looks like I’ll be finding THAT recipe!)
After, we headed back to a Walmart parking lot to sleep and wait for Mochello, who was meeting back up with us in the morning so we could head down to Tampa for our next show.