The next four weeks of the tour were spent bouncing around Florida. I’m sure most of you who have toured have always wondered just how much alcohol they feed the monkey before they start having him throw darts at a map to determine the tour route. While we certainly didn’t take the most direct route between all of these cities, November in Florida is fine by me. Nice job, drunk monkey.
We started off at The Straz Center in Tampa. The house is a modern opera house style. Typically, I get a little worried about places that boast about acoustics. What’s great for a symphony or opera is not always so friendly for amplified sound. In this case the room sounded good and provided a nice warmth without making things muddy.
While in Tampa, my assistant and I took advantage of an offer from a fellow roadie to stay at his house on St. Pete’s Beach. The private pool and quick beach access were a plus, although it did add a 45 minute commute to our day. After the Tampa load-out, four of us rented a car and drove to Miami. This allowed us to just get there and rest instead sleeping for a couple short hours and then riding a bus with the rest of the crew.
The Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami is ENORMOUS. The house is another big modern opera house with seating for 2400 but the stage house is just as big. I’ve been here twice now. If I come a third time, I’m pretty sure the sets from all three shows would fit on that stage. It makes for a very easy in and out as you have room to spread out and get the work done instead of fighting for space. We were fortunate enough to close “In The Heights” in this space which made for a nice relaxed production load-out. I still haven’t quite tamed this room. I got closer this time around but it’s just a tough space. The show sounded fine. Just didn’t sound great. Maybe the third time will be the charm if I get that chance.
Next up, Orlando. Live at Dead Bob’s. The Bob Carr is one of those venues that people are constantly asking, “wow that place is still open?” It does seem a little out of place with all of the tourist and theme park money in Orlando. The original structure was built in 1926 and then extensively expanded and refurbished in the mid 70s. I think that’s the last time it was touched. Apparently there is a new performing arts center scheduled to open in 2014. All that said, I think it’s a great sounding room and I hope that part doesn’t change in the new facility.
Opening night in Orlando was quite interesting. There is a gap at the top of the proscenium that opens to the house. Our head electrician started hazers at the same time he always does before a show but didn’t realize that all of the haze was being pumped out into the house instead of onto the stage. The airflow was such that it emptied all of the haze from the stage and it got trapped and lingered in the house. This led to fire alarms going off just as the house was being seated. Unfortunately, the facility was unable to override the alarm and we were forced to wait until the fire marshall signed of and disabled the system. We went up about 90 minutes late but the audience stuck it out and were very gracious.
Our final Florida stop was West Palm Beach. This seems like as good a time as any to mention that we hire local musicians in each city. Our conductor, two keyboard players, and drummer all travel with us. Locally we pick up violin, cello, two reeds, trumpet, trombone, bass, guitar, and percussion. Let’s just say it was quite a struggle in this city as a few players were clearly in over their heads. Add to that the fact that I was sick most of the week and a still unexplainable LCS crash during a show and West Palm is one I’d just as soon forget. But, you have to take the bad with the good and sometimes things just don’t go your way.
Everybody have their passport? We’re off to Toronto.