I just finished my Toronto entry, and now I am about to tell you, my loving public, about my trip to the Bahamas.
Looking back on May – it was a pretty busy month for me. I was in Toronto for about a week, then in the Bahamas for 10 days after that. Just a few days after I returned, Julie left for Vancouver for a conference for a week. I think over the whole month, Julie and I were only in the same town for 7 or 8 nights.
Working on these gigs is always a trip. This time, the show was for Farmers Insurance. The conference was a reward for their best agents – 600 of them and their families at the Atlantis resort in Nassau. It was projected via 8 projectors onto 6 screens. The setup we were working with meant that we were able to create video that ran across all of them as if it were on one canvas, at a resolution that nearly triples HD television. It’s always a trip to see the stuff you work on finally projected. The nature of the high resolution means that I am typically working on my monitor at 1/8 scale, and looking at an image that measures roughly 7 or 8 inches wide. When projected at full res on the setup we had in the ballroom, it measured 165 feet across.
The scale of the resort was grand, and a little overwhelming! 2500 rooms in several towers over a very large piece of property. It was not geared towards people in my tax bracket. The Marina out front was pretty constantly full of very large luxury yachts, and pricing for nearly everything was very high. My compadre bought a 750 ml bottle of Perrier from a pizza slice place that cost him $9.00 US, and if you can believe this, we found that the most economical way to acquire a can of pop was through the minibars in our rooms. At $2.25 a can, this was a bargain compared to the rest of the compound.
Glass sculptures, a few of them recognizable as being by dale chihuly, are seen throughout the casino.
There are ponds and pools all over the resort with all kinds of animals in them – sharks, stingrays, fish, and sea turtles among them.
While our show was happening, a grand opening of a new part of the hotel was underway, and this attracted a number of celebrities. I didn’t see any myself, but I understand that Janet Jackson was staying in the bridge suite, and I heard tell of sightings of Lindsay Lohan, Joe Pesci, Nicolas Cage, Magic Johnson, and Sean Connery. The chambermaid told me that if you want to spot celebrities, they like to hang out in the Casino in the early hours of the morning – around 2:00 – 4:00 am. Apparently, this way they get a little privacy. Yeesh! Sounds, uh, glamorous.
Our show involved some celebrity as well. Mick Fleetwood was a slightly incoherent, but seemingly well-meaning keynote speaker on the topic of creativity. Bill Cosby was there one evening, and the Doobie Brothers played a concert for the delegates as well. I have to say – my last experience with a concert at a corporate event was the Beach Boys, and they seemed a little uninspired, so my expectations for the Doobies were low. It became evident as early as when they were setting up, however, that we were in for a great show. Where the Beach Boys really didn’t see the stage until they were playing to the crowd, the Doobies looked like they were taking advantage of the setup to play some songs together and rehearse. It appeared that they sincerely enjoyed playing together, and that continued on through the entire evening – they sounded great.
I suspect they looked great too, but my nose was to a grindstone, making the show for the next day. Sometimes, while I am working working, I have been known to play recordings of the Doobie brothers. This time, they were actually in the same room as me, playing away. It exemplified the core of the experience I always get doing these shows – it’s late, I am under the gun with a lot of work to do on a very solid and approaching deadline. I am the hired help – I don’t get to really enjoy the rock concert that is playing in the same room I am working in, but I do get to hear it and write about it in my blog.
I still haven’t entirely figured out how I feel about this “show phenomenon” I’ve managed to work into my job description. The work is stressful. The environment is distracting and noisy. I am in the Bahamas, at a hotel I don’t really expect to afford in my lifetime. A classic band that is no longer touring is playing to a small crowd in the room. I simultaneously am extremely thankful for this opportunity, while also wishing that I was anywhere else and looking forward to being at home with Julie.
Then, because of flight availability, and because there could be worse fates, we wound up having a day after the end of the show to ourselves at the resort. It has an amazing waterpark that we made the most of, and the experience was well deserved – we’d had more than a few very, very long days the previous week, and were in deep need of a little R&R. It was very nice to have a little decompression before a day of travel after a show like that.
I was chatting with my friend Joe during the Doobie Brothers experience, trying to relate some of this to him, and talking about my ambivalence and confusion about how I feel about this work. He said it’s simple – I hate it until the end, when the adrenaline high is still lingering and I get to look back on the experience from the safety of my real life. At that point, I love it. Go figure. I guess that’s why I have dates for two more shows already lined up for August and September.