The Music Theater

L.A. has many iconic music venues: The Hollywood Bowl, The Forum, The Troubadour, and last but not least, The World Wide Amphitheater.

The world’s top artists perform in this arena, known for its red carpets, colored lighting, and exemplary acoustics. Guests have to pay a separate admission for performances, but the Glamour Tram eases by the backside as the various acts load in.

Many tour guests begin drooling when they get a close-up look at the bands popping in and out of their fancy tour buses parked outside. The backstage area is regularly packed with roadies, groupies, and celebrities….

Of course, drivers are needed for this whole operation, especially to ferry the artists around and take care of their needs. We have one driver who’s always assigned to this gig, Chuck, who also doubles as a fork-lift operator. If a show needs it, a Teamster will get it!

Elton John will be coming in for a three-night stint soon and there’s already excitement in the air. Satellite equipment and production trucks are fighting for parking and tents pop up everywhere except on our Glamour Tram route.

IMG_7592

Elton…needless to say, above.

Chuck’s job is the one I want. No uniform, just shorts, flip flops, and a brush for his long thick hair. He answers only to the Music Theater, not Iris, which I think is pretty cool. He writes his own meal ticket…

I meet him one morning while checking out my Glamour Tram. “Chuck, meet Donnie!” says the garage mechanic. He looks a bit drowsy, having been here 18 hours straight, but he’s as friendly as a Teamster can be.

I’ve heard so much about him from other drivers, I feel like I already know him. We hit it off as soon as he learns of my nice beach address and we start talking scuba diving.

Rock stars, lobsters, and sharks make for a lively discussion, and it’s clear he knows a lot of secrets around this lot. He’s been here forever, it seems, and he promises me a backstage pass sometime soon! Today, however, he needs to get some rest, and I need to return my Glamour Tram to dispatch, so Chuck and I say, “Farewell.”

Interaction between tourists and tour guides begins before the driver’s arrival, so there’s already a certain kind of energy in the air by the time I climb aboard. They cheer me as I shut the door. My tour guide, Paul, introduces me, and begins his spiel.

As we pass by the backstage area, Paul informs the guests that “This activity is for Elton John. His show opens tonight!” Even though this is only our first tour, Paul seems like a very nice chap. I’m still a puppy taking it all in. I still cant believe I got this job by answering an add in the newspaper.

At the Robert Wagner stage, tour guide Donna replaces Paul. I haven’t met her yet, but she seems like a lot of fun, and she easily holds the group in the palm of her hand. As we tour the backlot, we establish a pretty good vibe. She’s better than a double espresso, and I can already tell she’s going to be a super trooper to tour with.

I’ll have to wait to get to know her better, but I’m looking forward to it!

Written and lived by Donnie Norden…page 14

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