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Hitting The Road: Touring Etiquette For The Uninitiated

Considering instinctual behaviors from long-time roadies for surviving your first time on the road with a large-scale tour.

Boundaries are important on tour – there are few ways you can get yourself into trouble very quickly, so here’s what not to do.

== Don’t expect to give friends and family the backstage tour, and don’t take them into catering unless you’re absolutely sure it’s OK with both production and the caterers.

== Be very careful about what you post on social media relating to the tour. A shot of the outside of the arena with “excited for the show with x tonight”? Probably fine. A shot of backstage or of the stage set before the first show? Definitely not. My advice: If in doubt, don’t.

== To that point: Do not post pictures of your pass online! Can you even imagine the security issues this creates? Also, don’t lose your pass for the same reason. And if you do lose it, tell the production department immediately.

== Don’t drink alcohol until you’ve finished work for the day. It’s not the 1980s any more, and even if you see an older member of crew having a lunchtime beer, it doesn’t make it ok for you as a rookie to join in. Trust me, people are watching.

== Keep those after-work beers within smart limits. You’re being paid to do a job to a high professional standard and rolling in with a hangover too many times will get you noticed for all the wrong reasons.

And finally: always wear something in bed, even in hotels. My first arena tour sticks in my mind for many reasons, not least of which is that I failed to heed this. And so it came to pass that one memorable night I awoke to use the bathroom, and it wasn’t until I heard the muted thud behind me that I realized I had chosen the wrong door and was now stark naked and locked out of my room.

I weighed my options: there was a spa at the hotel – surely they would have towels? I took the fire exit stairs to their floor – but it was 3 am and the door was locked. Maybe the stairs would take me to the lobby, and I could poke my head around the door and call for help? But no – they led only to the parking lot. No, the only way to the lobby was via the elevator. Which was in the center of a circular atrium viewed by all floors. And made of glass.

I got back to my room eventually, with the help of the very kind and understanding hotel staff. But believe me when I tell you that I haven’t slept naked in a hotel since.

Be excited for your first big tour – it’s an experience like no other and you’ll never forget it!

You’ll soon find your feet and become part of this unique tour tribe – a group of innovative can-do people who lead unconventional lives, are never home for long, and have more black clothes than the average vampire; but who are the only people you want by your side when something challenging, spectacular, and thrilling needs to happen – fast.

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