Backstage with Baldy
Moorhead – August 16th
The band plays its first outdoor gig of this leg of the tour, and who puts herself on the guest list? Mother Nature.
It had been mostly sunny and super humid most of the day, but some of our crew had the foresight to check the weather and see what was coming.
And something was definitely coming.
The forecast was for thunderstorms.
As the day moved forward, the storm moved closer, until it was predicted to pass overhead at almost the exact moment the band went on.
So chalk one up for the weather forecasters, because as we walked out of the production office to head to the stage, I felt a lone raindrop hit my head.
Things didn’t get bad right away though. For the first few songs, it was just a drizzle, but then the skies really opened up, the lightning started flashing, and suddenly a nice little rainstorm had become a full on Ark-builder.
The Bluestem Amphitheater has an open design basically, with just an arch covering the stage. The sides and back are open to the forces of nature.
So when it initially started raining, things were fine, but then the winds picked up and the rain started coming in from the sides.
Right about then is when our lighting director got on the radio and announced that the spotlights were down.
Then the wind shifted and the rain was coming from the front.
And then all hell broke loose and the rain started coming from what seemed like all directions.
Around this time I heard our front of house engineer come on the radio and announce that he was losing channels.
And in the middle of making that announcement, his radio cut out.
By that time, I’d made my way over to Jerry’s side of the stage, where local stagehands were holding tarps over his tech and our monitor engineer to try and keep their gear dry.
It wasn’t working.
Somewhere in the middle of all of this, Sean’s in-ear monitors went out, and he was basically flying blind.
Have I properly conveyed the amount of chaos that was happening onstage and with our crew?
I haven’t even touched on the 2,500 fans who were being treated to a top notch light(ning) show and getting solidly drenched in the process.
Basically it went from being manageable to being dangerous in a very short amount of time.
I think the band knew that their time was running short, because when Jerry went to introduce the band before Nutshell, he sounded more like an auctioneer than a singer.
They wrapped up Last Of My Kind shortly thereafter, and word was coming from offstage that maybe they’d have time for one or two more, because things weren’t getting any better weather-wise.
So they came back onstage, said a few brief words, and jumped straight into Rooster.
And they made it about 10 seconds before the plug got pulled.
With the danger posed to everyone, coupled with the fact that gear was failing all over the place, it wasn’t safe to carry on.
So Alice In Chains fans in the greater Moorhead/Fargo area were treated to 10 songs and a free shower before the night came to a premature close.
It didn’t go the way any of us wanted, but it was definitely a show we won’t forget…