Friday, November 20, 2009

Perthshire Amber 7

Tonight was wonderful.

It was a fairly cruisy day as there wasn’t much to organise apart from the Dougie & Friends concert tonight. I was really looking forward to this one as tonight’s concert featured Julie Fowlis, who happens to be one of my favourite singers!

Seeing as our beloved Helen & the unstoppable Lyn were at Perthshire Amber attending the shows we all decided to go out for lunch. It was cold & wet (surprise there! I loved it) but we were inside a fascinating hotel cafe that had its own chocolatier. The smell was mouth-watering to say the least, and although I didn’t buy any chocolates (I’m only a fan when I’m in the mood which isn’t often), I was quite content to breathe in the heavenly aromas whilst enjoying my latte. I’m a caffeine addict, what can I say? We all had a moment having lunch together –Sunas with Helen, halfway across the world sharing incredible moments and having great laughs– surreal!

Then it was back to the Pitlochry Theatre where Bridge & I got straight into our official Perthshire Amber jobs –buying the riders. I had no idea what a rider was until Jenny explained that it’s a list of food/drink/other particulars that each performer (or their agent) has requested, and then Van Halen’s legendary requirement of a bowl of M&M’s with the brown ones taken out made much more sense! I am happy to report that there haven’t been any requests for weird things. The weirdest one of the lot was an iron & an ironing board, which actually made perfect sense. A lot of the time it was just guess work, as the list would be quite vague, eg, fruit, snacks, alcohol. So we’d go ahead and guess. The most popular food items that Bridge & I bought regularly were grapes and Maltesers!

After we had stocked everyone’s dressing rooms with their riders, we walked back upstairs to the theatre foyer and found Paul gesturing wildly for us to come up into the theatre. We get up there, Paul opens the door, and soundchecking on stage with Dougie was Julie Fowlis & Eamon Doorley. I’ve never been more spellbound in my life. Julie is nearly 9 months pregnant and combined with her small frame looks ready to pop! Bridge & I were then assigned the task of looking after everyone backstage, meaning we’d actually get to meet everyone. Brilliant

We sat down to dinner and met the MacDonald Brothers who are absolutely lovely. These two guys rose to fame on the British X Factor four years ago and came fourth. Not a bad effort, considering they were a wedding duet beforehand! What struck me (and this goes for every major performer I’ve met so far) is apart from being funny is how humble they are. They couldn’t believe their good fortune getting so far on the X Factor and were delighted to be performing with Dougie.

Our jobs were assigned this way: Mannie, Larry, Mike & Finn usually did the job of charming the audience beforehand and sold programs. I believe Finn sold the most because he knew everyone (having grown up with Dougie I literally mean Finn knew everyone). Paul was Dougie’s right hand man, making sure he had the right guitars on stage and generally making sure Dougie didn’t speak too much to save his voice. Bridge could be found at the merchandise desk (I helped on and off, but UK money still confuses me & I’m not quick with foreign change, so I left it to the professionals), but usually Bridge & I were with Dougie’s daughter Julia in the sound room making sure the live internet stream was working and relaying problems to the sound guys during the concert, as well as making sure all of the performers were happy.

Watching Julie & Eamon perform was magical. Eamon is an incredibly sensitive bouzouki player; he and Julie performed at 45 degree angles so as to always maintain eye contact – and it was breathtaking. From a performer’s perspective I have never seen a pair follow each other they way they did. Julie told me later that she & Eamon normally have a 5 piece band backing them & it was the first time they had performed together as a duo for a while, so they were really nervous. They were perfectly in time in a ‘this-is-difficult-but-we’re-not-letting-it-show’ kind of way. What impressed me the most was Julie’s ability to sing mouth music whilst heavily pregnant and still stay perfectly in tune – she sounds exactly like her recordings. They are both lovely humble people and it was just wonderful to watch their gig!

Tomorrow night is our Big Gig. It’s now 2am, and we have to be gig-prepped & ready to meet at Pitlochry Theatre for 10am to decide on the schedule for the day, as we have to move all electrical & sound equipment to Perth Theatre. I’m trying not to focus on it too much; we have more important things to think about before then, like which song of Dougie’s we will be performing with him …


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