WEDNSDAY, FEBRUARY 5TH, 2014 – PERFORMANCE IN GOA, INDIA:
Got 4 hours sleep but no time to work out other than in my room. Had breakfast and was in the lobby at 11:30 am for departure to the airport for the short flight to Goa. That’s when my day got totally screwed.
The promoter – who I must explain if his lips are moving, he is lying – was not in the lobby. My friend who flew over from Kuwait to help us was nowhere to be found. I called rooms, cell phones, sent text messages…..nothing. Since there are 9 of us with 17 pieces of luggage and equipment, we can’t very easily hop into taxis. Plus, the promoter had insisted he was locking the equipment up at the venue and would have a truck bring it to us at the hotel this morning.
My friend sent me a text message saying he was at the airport because the promoter had told him there were no seats on our flight and put him on an earlier (translates as CHEAPER) flight. I assured him that I had checked the airlines and there were plenty of seats on our flight. I was really, really ticked off by that time since the he was supposed to be here taking care of us! The promoter walked in at about 10 minutes before noon and guess what, no cars to take us to the airport. He had to ask the hotel to call for cars and that took another 20 minutes.
We finally got into the cars with the understanding that the equipment truck would meet us at the arrival area at the airport. When we got there, no equipment truck. Dereyk (the lying promoter) said it was downstairs going through a security check so that we wouldn’t have to do that when we checked in. The way the airport is set up, you have to show your passport and boarding pass before you are allowed to even enter the airport. There are guards armed with machine guns everywhere and inside, one standing behind a metal shield. I didn’t know whether to feel “safe” or “scared”! I refused to go through because once you do, you can’t come back out. Dereyk kept saying that the truck was driving up the ramp. Must have been a long ramp because it took about an hour for it to get there.
When the equipment finally arrived, we had one hour to check in and get to the gate. Then the man checking passports would not let me through. We had to show a copy of our airline reservation – which I did. But he kept saying “this is your international flight”. Well, yeah, duh, we flew in and will fly out “internationally”. I pointed out the flight number and confirmation number for today’s flight but he wouldn’t budge. Dereyk finally said something to him and he let us go through. Once inside, there were counters for business class and coach. I was just going to check everyone in at the coach counter because I knew we had to pay excess. Dereyk came up and said I had to go to the Business Class counter with Howard and David. He said that we had to check all the equipment because Business class was allowed more weight and we wouldn’t be charged any excess on the equipment. LIAR. There was only one lady working the business class counter and by the time she finally got around to helping us, it was 30 minutes to flight time. She was very unfriendly and unhappy that we had so many pieces to check. She did not give us a “break” on the cost. She also did not give me a boarding pass because she “said” her system went down. I was yelling at Dereyk by that time telling him if he hadn’t been late picking us up we wouldn’t be about to miss our flight. His response was, “no, it’s because the system is down”. LIAR. We all finally got checked in but Wally had to go to another counter to pay for the excess. There were 2 guys working it and one of them was a “trainee” so it took forever! We got the receipt and they put our bags on the luggage belt. BUT THEN THEY MADE US PUT EACH PIECE OF EQUIPMENT THROUGH A SECURITY SCANNER!!! Exactly what Dereyk had lied and said was being done downstairs. The truth is, he didn’t arrange for anyone to pick up the equipment this morning at the venue and bring it to the hotel.
We had to go through the security scan and there was a male and female line. They made us take EVERYTHING out of our bags. We finally all made it to the gate only to learn the gate number had changed. They were boarding and as we were standing in line, they started calling for The Bellamys. The gate agent said we didn’t pay for all our access and about that time, the “witch” who checked us in came screaming around the corner. She actually accused us of deliberately not paying for all the excess! We tried to reason with her and offered to pay cash for it right there. She refused. She said we could just go back and pay it and take another flight. Of course, this was the only flight that would get us there in time for our show. Finally, she agreed to let Dereyk go all the way back to the ticket counter and pay. But the gate agent still wouldn’t let us board. After everyone was on the plane, he finally called “the witch” and got permission to let us board. Then, we had to go through another security check. We had all been forced to put these Air India tags on our carry on bags. Evidently, those tags were “stamped” somewhere in the process. Only no one stamped one of David’s and Gregg’s. David finally convined her to just search his small bag and let him go through. But they sent Gregg two gates down to get a stamp. Again their screw up but we got penalized! Dereyk made it on the flight at the very last minute and I was praying he would miss it. If I NEVER see this guy again, it will be too soon.
We landed and believe it or not, all the luggage and equipment made it. Much to my surprise, Keika from NHK Japan was in the baggage claim area. What are the chances of that??? The musicians went straight to the venue and we went to the hotel. Goa is much “prettier” than Mumbai because it is “country side”…lots of palm trees and nicer homes. Not nearly as many “slums”. The hotel was really great….huge swimming pools and really pretty. Of course, we have less than 24 hours here.
I got everyone checked in and then got a message from Wally saying they were having a problem with the opening act. Seems they were on the stage doing a soundcheck even though they were supposed to sound check after us. They didn’t want to get off the stage and someone finally “forced” them off. But they left all their equipment set up and refused to move it. By that time, my guys had taken enough and just started throwing their stuff off the stage. THAT got their attention pretty quickly!
We only had a couple of hours to eat a late lunch and get ready for the 7 pm press conference. Of course, the promoter told the press it was starting at 6 pm! The first question was “how does your music stay ‘evergreen’ and do you have any new projects coming out. Howard answered the questions and then the guy who asked the question said, “but getting back to the question, how does your music stay so evergreen and do you have any new projects coming out. The guys handled it really well and David answered this time. Then the guy sitting next to me raised his hand and asked the VERY SAME QUESTIONS. It was like Ground Hog Day.
Dereyk was sitting up on the stage with the Bellamys and taking all the credit for getting them over here. Someone asked him what shows he had produced in the past (we already knew the answer to that — NONE). He tap danced around the question and then said that he was bringing Gipsy Kings over. I immediately emailed Gipsy Kings’ manager and agent and told them NOT to do business with this LIAR.
Driving here is interesting…little two lane roads and the cars use whichever lane is convenient. Lots and lots of motorcycles and I’m not sure how any of them are still alive.
The venue was packed. The promoter had told us the capacity was 1500 to 2000 and he had at least 5,000 people there. LIAR. I had some people that I needed to bring backstage and was busy doing that when Dereyk showed up with a group of people. I had told him if he had guests, I needed to “who” and “how” many and he said no one would be coming backstage. LIAR.
It was time to go on stage and when we walked out of the trailer, the guys were mobbed. Security wasn’t stopping anyone and the audience had filled the backstage wanting autographs. We finally got them on stage and it was an awesome show. Again, everyone knew the words to all the songs and remembered songs that I didn’t even know the Bellamys had recorded! When the show was over, I had a car waiting right at the backstage steps and we left immediately. On the way back, I got a MONSTER MIGRAINE which we shall name DEREYK! When I got to my room, my phone had quit working so I had to call the front desk and have it replaced. The musicians got back shortly thereafter and I made SURE that Suleiman had the key to the van with our equipment in it and the van drivers phone number.
I had to go down and get everyone checked in at the Business Center because I didn’t bring my printer. Only the Business Center was closed. The hotel opened it up for me and I got the first flight checked in and printed on Jet Airways. Only I couldn’t check us in on the second flight because the system was down for repairs for Sri Lankan Airlines.
It is almost 4 am and it has been a hell of a day. I’ve been sitting here trying to work but the internet is so slow, it freezes on every email! And, the power keeps going off in the room.
Tomorrow has GOT to be better because it means I never have to work with Dereyk again. Trust me, he has put me through the same stress for months now with late deposits, visas, hotel accommodations. If I were ever going to have a stroke, it would have been these past 2 weeks. Going to bed for 2 hours. I’m sure I’ll think of more things I left out tomorrow.