The Hardest-Working Band in Show Business

Posted by Barry Young, Carnegie Hall Technician

I was standing in the loading area on a cold November morning. "First day on the job? Well do what I say and you’ll be fine," said a man with a Yorkshire accent. "Also lad, a piece of advice - never miss an opportunity to say nothing."

The Voulez Vous tour bus had arrived, but no other vehicles were in sight. "Where’s the truck?" I asked. Laughter rang out - the first time that day I wished I hadn't spoken. I helped them remove equipment from every part of the bus. The way their kit was stored resembled a puzzle on the Krypton Factor.

Some time later, after running in what felt like the thousandth cable, I asked when we'd be stopping for lunch. For the second time that day I wished I’d kept silent as I was told to get costumes to the dressing room.

Around 3pm the stage was set. We were getting a break at sound check. I looked longingly around for the band and I guess my disappointment must have shown. "What up lad?"

For the third time I regretted speaking. "Where’s the band? I get my lunch when they arrive to sound check," I said. Much laugher followed again, but they took pity on me, and sent me off for lunch.

The performance was spent holding a barrel full of hot lava called a spotlight. After the show, none of the crew where anywhere to be seen. I went up to man dressed up like Bjorn Ulvaeus and asked where they were. The chorus of familiar laughter rang out again as he spoke to me in a familiar Yorkshire accent. "Right lad, get 'em cables up". Only then did I discover that the crew and costume ladies were the band all along.

Fifteen years on, I look forward to seeing Voulez Vous... and I’m afraid to admit I've very rarely taken their advice.

Voulez Vous will be at Carnegie Hall on Saturday 24 September. Find out more and book tickets here.