In November 2017 I supported DNCE as Front of House Engineer as we followed Bruno Mars down to South America for a handful of shows. With the exception of Brazil, every place down there was a new experience for me so I was excited to have a chance to mix some shows in new environments as well as getting to explore some new cities.
We started in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The venue was the grandstand area for the starting point of the Carnival parade, which was a peculiar location for a concert. This is where I got introduced to Chris "Sully" Sullivan who was the systems engineer and became reacquainted with Chris Rabold who I had met a few times but had never worked with in this capacity. Rabold is a very well known and respected Front of House Mixer so I was admittedly a little intimidated to mix in front of him. The arrangements for this tour were for me to share his console which he was very gracious with and let me load a show file that I had built and basically let me do what I needed to do. I am to this day very grateful for the generosity and flexibility of both Chris'.
We did two shows in Rio then headed to Sao Pãulo next. I had a really nice day off in São Paulo and went to see some street art at the Batman Alley, had some great coffee, some empanadas and then followed it up with a very accidental trip to one of São Paulos favelas. After a recommendation to go and see a house that was built entirely by the owner out of bits and pieces found all over and with photos resembling something designed by Antoni Gaudi, I had to go check it out. This ended up being a very concerning experience as outsiders aren't apparently welcome there. As I was being dropped off by the Uber drive, he asked me something in Portuguese which I don't speak but the last word of the sentence was "favela". The moment I got out of the car, he put it in reverse and couldn't get out of there quicker. I immediately knew something wasn't right. I however decided to look for this house which I never ended up finding so opened my Uber app again to get a car to go back to the hotel to have the app tell me that there was no Uber available in that area. So naturally I was concerned and spent the next 45 minutes walking with my head down to get back to a place where it felt safer. Once I got back to the hotel ran into our liaison and translator and told her about the experience to which she responded "that was not a good place for you to go". It's funny to think about now but I was definitely concerned at the time.
Now back to work. These shows were in a proper football stadium which was considerably bigger. This is where I started to feel more comfortable with my mix in this environment. it also happened to be Thanksgiving which for some reason was coincidentally the second time I've spent Thanksgiving in São Paulo. the catering staff definitely went to great length to put together as close to a thanksgiving dinner as was available and with also a Brazilian flare which everyone was very grateful for.
Next stop was Buenos Aires, Argentina. Buenos Aires is a fascinating place to me because the city feels very European but topographically felt very similar to the Gulf Coast of Texas. So Imagine is someone transplanted the city of Madrid in place of Corpus Christi. The venue was about an hour and change south of Buenos Aires along the coast to a stadium in a small town which didn't seem befitting that large of a stadium. This show was great. Only one show instead of the two we did in both Brazilian cities.
Then next was Santiago de Chile. Flying from Buenos Aires to Santiago was a very interesting experience especially if you've ever seen the movie Alive. It's was definitely on my mind the whole time. Flying over the Andes and seeing the drastic difference between the Argentinian side and then the Chilean side was amazing. Once we landed in Santiago, I immediately felt like I had just landed back in California. The similarities were quite vast. This is the point in the tour now where it was streamlined and flowing smoothly. It was more or less on autopilot now. The venues were all stadiums with more or less the same variables so the stress was gone and it started to feel really fun.
Lima, Peru was immediately after. A few of us met up in a really nice part of town and had some drinks and food. Got some good ceviche and other tapas. Peru's culinary game is very strong. This show was great. The energy in Peru is totally different than the other place we had just been.
Quito, Ecuador was the next city. Upon landing at the airport there, we spent about and hour or so driving through some of the most beautiful countryside while climbing the side of a mountain to get to the city. This is perhaps the highest elevation city I have ever visited. This was also an old and beautiful city with lots of history.
Bogota, Colombia is a magical city with amazing energy. We spent a couple of days there prior to the show. Unfortunately I was stuck in my hotel room sick with some sort of stomach bug.
San Jose, Costa Rica was the final stop on this tour. I have always wanted to visit Costa Rica and to be there for a total of 48 hours wasn't even close to the amount of time needed to fully explore and appreciate it. I would love to go back just to spend some time and venture out of San Jose and see what that place is all about.
As I mentioned before, I was sharing Chris Rabold SD7 desk. I had a well used Digico file built however they had been on this tour for quite some time and justifiably had not updated to the latest version to avoid any sort of complications. So I had to go and create a new file from scratch in the older editor. I'm sure any Digico user reading this has had to do this at one point and it can be daunting. Especially if you have a lot of automation as I did. Things fell into place pretty well but the subtleties of the mix that were in the automation such as incremental levels changes just weren't there. All in all the tour went really well, the band and management were happy and I gratefully received some praises from both Chris' which made it all worth while.
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