EL BLOG #16 02 May 2007

Keane’s tech chap Rob writes the final chapter of El Blog

Hello again from the lovely warm jet lag fug of springtime London. It’s good to be home.

We were all suffering a bit from tiredness and a spot of the dreaded Montezuma’s revenge (note to venue caterers in Guadalajara; try covering the food up – just a little) which made for a bit of a long day at the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City. (That’s my way of apologising for the pictures not being quite up to scratch, by the way.)

It may sound a bit of a cliché but the fantastic 10,000 sell out crowd made it all worthwhile. It was quite a reception and the band were visibly stunned.

That crowd in full between songs. Note the toy cat that belonged to Al Artingstall (our extremely dapper old monitor sound engineer and top singer-songwriter) in his new home on my console.

Piano’s eye view of the sea of phones, lighters, torches and who knows what being waved during ‘Hamburg Song’.

For once the British Airways schedule did us a favour. We couldn’t fly out until two days after the show which gave us plenty of time to explore Mexico City (far better than the last time we were there and had to get on a plane at 6am the next day).

On Sunday the whole band and those crew members who could tear themselves away from their hotel bathrooms (an outbreak of the dreaded man flu had added to our medical troubles) went on a trip to the Pyramids at Teotihuacán – organised by the band’s super efficient PA Beth (swot up here – on the pyramids, not Beth).

Being a roadie can be a pretty difficult life, long hours, filthy showers, smelly busses (imagine all the smells ever, condensed into a bus-shaped space), being away from home for months at a time and dealing with rock star egos… but the perks, when they come, can be pretty fantastic and the day at the pyramids was one of the best.

The day was made special by our guide “Gorilla” whose ancestral knowledge and well-honed gags really made the place come alive.

A particular highlight was being taken under one of the pyramids for a fire ceremony (following in the footsteps of the mighty Bon Jovi, or so we were told – any spiritual hokum that’s ok with the ‘Jovi is a-ok with us as well). Beth was given a red headband and had to receive the fire on behalf of ‘all her brothers’ (which means us, I think – poor her) and rewarded with a traditional native name (which I can’t remember – but it’s something like saltbeefsweetpetal).

We finished off by climbing the massive Pyramid of the Sun (246ft high, 3rd highest in the world, fact fans). Well some of us did; Tom decided against it as it was (a) extremely steep and (b) he was wearing flip flops. Tim went for crisps before attempting the climb, which was extremely sensible.

I’ll make the Oscars bit as short as I can. We had a great time in Latin America and hopefully managed to bring our usual high production values to all the shows; the memories of the people we met and the places we saw will stay for a long time. I’d like to extend massive thanks to my team: crew chief Soline, lighting and balloon tech Tim and of course long suffering video genius ASBO as well as all the local suppliers (especially the ones who realised that when we spec a lighting rig we expect it to work).


Tom, Tony, Tim and Beth await the fire.

Tim’s very glad he’s not been given a headband.

Gorilla and Beth await the battle of the Springsteen tribute bands.

Crowds climbing the pyramid. Have some ‘Where’s Waldo’ fun and see if you can spot Tim.

Richard at the top of the Pyramid of the Sun.

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