Being the "Cable Guy" for concerts while I was living in Iowa City, I had a lot close encounters with some of the performers who came through to play.
I talked with Joe Walsh when he got off his tour bus the afternoon before his show. He gets off and does one of his patented "How you doin'!?" greetings to me. The guys kind of came off the bus like they were wrung out from the road.
I said, "Man, you guys look like you had a long trip. Where did you come in from?"
He said, "Oh, I don't know. I think it was some town called Davenport." (Which is 55 miles away from Iowa City.)
I played catch with a football with Robert Lamm, the keyboard player for Chicago. My roommate, Bill Wilson, myself, and a couple of other guys from the arena crew played musical trivia with the guys from Alabama just before they were getting ready to go on stage.
Bill and I got pushed out of the way by Stevie Nicks when she tried to pass between Billy and myself who were standing at the side of the stage when Stevie came off at the end of her show. We were told that when she went on to the stage that no one could be standing in the tunnel going out to the stage; and when she came off stage people along the side of the stage had to turn around and face away from her. But she busted through Billy and I like a little halfback trying to get over to shake hands with her fans. Man, you should have seen her security guards scramble on that one.
And even though he wasn't that famous, I got cussed out by Elton John's road manager for sitting around watching TV and waiting for shit to happen. Actually, I was watching an NFL game (the concert was on a Sunday) and there wasn't much for me to do but make sure the cable TV worked, so I was watching the TV. He came up, turned off the TV and began to scream at me for not doing anything. I explained that I was the cable guy and making sure the cable tv was working properly.
Later that evening after the show was over, he was in the dressing room and I was winding up the coaxial wire and he came up and apologized to me. He said something that I've never forgot and a philosophy that I use when I run the stage for the events I work at here in Davenport - "I'm sorry that I was such an asshole earlier, but they pay me handsomely to be the asshole. And sometime you have to be an asshole to get shit done."
However, one of the funnier things I remember happened to members of Joe Walsh's band. The show was supposed to start at 7:30, but 7:30 came and went and the band was still not on the stage. Finally, about 10 till 8 they got up and started playing. I went up to Bill and I said, "What was going on? I couldn't get into the dressing room. They wouldn't let me in."
Billy said, "They had to call someone in from Student Health to give four of the guys in the band a shot of penicillin. Seems that they all got into some skanky bitch a few nights ago and they all had the drips."
Ah - life on the road of a rock and roll musician...