I have said many times that I feel more at home inside an arena than in one spot on the planet. For the first time in Switzerland, the lack of speaking German and the annoying generaliztion and stereotype of large people not being very smart, actually was a benefit for me.
When I walked into the arena and saw the organized, semi-organized chaos, it felt like part of me was “home.” For several weeks as I struggle with the German classes, I was happy to have something to look forward to with odd work to get me more integrated into what will be home for the next year. It is like the Elton john tickets, up until 15 minutes before I left for work, I couldn’t even give them away. As i was packing my bag, i got a call asking to bring them to give to some young couples, who simply didn't have the extra money to see the show. when they got the "free" tickets, i heard they were so excited and thrilled to go see the show. I hope they enjoyed what was a really nice event. knowing that the tickets would not be wasted put a big smile upon my face. "work for free!" yippee!
While I had resigned myself to egress my pride to do “whatever” the event organizers needed, I can't say the process was "fun" to get to that level. Years of entertainment experience really meant little in a country where you can't communicate with the locals. What I did have was I guess a large body, my wife says I can scare people with my face, and I spoke native English.
My job was to simply stand there for a day and make sure only the crew and bands were allowed beyond me to get the next level of security, which was the dressing room area.
i was really amazed at how well behaved the Swiss crowd was, albeit, they only rank behind japan for the least involved crowds for audience participation. Even those that had drank a bit too much, or ingested too much of something were so polite and well behaved.
Overall, there were few problems, the only trouble from some of the members of one of the warm up bands. I will just leave it that while they might be quite remarkable performers, musicians and entertainers, who put on a great show - I am going to schedule a few members with a visit to the optometrist and audiologist. This would be the only logical reasons aside from, “wanna-be-rockstar-itis” or "do-you-know-who-i-am-itis" I can come up for them not being able to understand the posted signs about what color bands would be allowed backstage. They had to be legally blind, or have very blurry vision and suffered from colorblindness in being able to distinguish white and orange from the other colors of the visible spectrum.
The trip to the audiologist comes in that perhaps i didn't explain the rules to them loud enough the first time? They could have avoided what Einstein calls insanity, "trying the same thing and expecting a different result " to miraculous happen sneaking their friends in, sans the proper credentials.
So in that reality... i actually witnessed was the most amazing live performance in the history of man from blind and deaf musicians!
The best moment was just listening to a song, looking at the band on stage. I thought about how long and how many people Elton john has touched in his life, here they were, I am guessing in their 60’s still playing and living a life that few of us will ever comprehend the demands and rigors of fame and stardom. But as I heard the piano and him sing, I thought, “What would the epitaph for Elton johns tombstone read like when he passes on.”
Elton john – “he loved. he gave. he entertained. playing not from his piano, but rather his best instrument - his heart."
I want to thank my staff bosses for being really easy to work with, the American vip's and English crew/band members with the “odd” accent for just being kind and chatting away to a guy lost in a new country. I went to German class today and did not remember one thing from several weeks of classes. The teacher scolded me for speaking English. “Mark, it is a new start here for you…new language…no more English.” I smiled, i understood what he meant, but i had to smile about a few rays of sunshine that fell from above...yesterday.