Touring with Lee Kernaghan [2000 - 2010]
... an excerpt from my journal.
Seeing as we have sort travel times and as I have much planning to do
in front of my laptop, I thought I'd share a few of the experiences from
the other side of the table and give you a bit of an insite to what happened
backstage on this final tour for the year.
DUBBO 27th May
What a day. Lee just got back in from meetings in Sydney and Brisbane
and then we are off again heading to Dubbo. But first there was another
meeting. This time a CMAA Board meeting of which Lee is secretary. So
we catch an early flight to Sydney, pick up a hire car and zip into the
city. 5 hours later we had to leave to meet our flight out to Dubbo. Tore
back to the airport and dropped off the hire car just in time to check
in at REX. We were charged almost $200 excess baggage, Lee has his guitar
case, stage clothes, hat and his personal baggage. I feel we had a bad
day at the checkin counter because normally the guitars get through no
problems, so we headed down to the gate not sure if we could actually
put on a show, because Lee's luggage may be still in Sydney. We got straight
on the flight and I asked the captain if he had done his load sheet and
he let me know all our bags had gotten on. Stress relieved, we settled
in for our one hour flight to Dubbo. Time to work on tonights set list.
Lee looked over last tours and songs that he had performed, pondered that
a little, ran over how the songs would link in his head and just before
we landed came up with a set for tonights show. Picking up another hire
car we went to the accomodation so Lee could have a bit of a rest before
he had to go on. Meanwhile I had to go into the venue find out the best
way for Lee to get to the stage, where he was going to do the signings,
liase with my Tour Manager 'Dibbsy' to have security informed of what
we were doing and so they knew what we wanted. Ensuring the crew and band
were catered for in our rider I started making phone calls to arrange
meet and greets with competition winners, sponsors, venue guests and the
finally the outback club members. After setting times I headed back to
the hotel to pic up Lee and bring him back to the venue, The Dubbo RSL,
for the show. After all the pre show, and the Noll Brothers had entertained
for 45 minutes, Lee headed up the stairs and walked out on stage to screams
and applause from the country crowd. After the show and a few little drinks,
I brought backstage competition winners and sponsors to meet Lee before
we went out to sign. Right up the front in PRIORITY position were a dozen
members of the outback club with other fans queuing to see behind. We
met Yvonne and her family, Jodi and hers, Garth was there taking pix for
you again, Rachel had rung earlier to see if her two little boys could
meet Lee, they were there, Jessica, Aron, Lynn, Chris and Angie. Our Western
Magazine winners Alan and Marrian Pearson. Glenn, Lynn Sally and Lucy.
Peter and his boys and a line of fans of whos names I can never remember.
Thats why I zip down the line when we come out giving every one name tags.
A special shout out to Mick and Goughie, from the Yarrabin Disabled Group
who rolled up in their wheelchairs to meet Lee. Once the last was signed
and a quick debreif with the crew and back to the hotel and off to bed.
PARKES 28th May
Up and out at around 10 this morning for the hour drive to Parkes. We
checked in to the hotel just as the band arrived. Lee suggested they had
a little time jamming and running song ideas in the suite. It was time
for a quick trip down to the Subway for a healthy fix and then back to
the hotel so Lee could regenerate for tonights show as I am a litte concerned
about a small cough he has developed. On our way back Lee suggested calling
the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Pauls and offering, through them,
free tickets to tonights show to families that might not be so fortunate,
battlers having a go and finding it hard, those struggling from day to
day. So I have been on the phone again this afternoon arranging that that
happens. Calling the venue, and having names left at the ticket box. SO
now I am about to head down to the venue start all over again and prepare
for another rockin Lee Kernaghan show.
Back at the hotel getting ready for the show. I am going to recomend
Lee does not sign tonight. I would like to see him well so he can put
on a ripper show for the rest of the gigs. I'd prefer he miss one night
signing to be good for the rest.
Straight after the show it was straight back to the hotel to allow Lee
to fight this potential cold. So a good nights sleep should help this.
I then went back to the venue. Then Noll Brothers Adam & Damian were
signing for the fans and they had an 'extra' special signing towards the
end. Thanks to Garth who came to the last few gigs taking pictures that
he will be sharing with you shortly, and thanks for the bottles of port.
Lee and I will be cracking them open on saturday night thats for sure.
Leaving the venue much as the crew started to load the truck, I had the
munchies. DO you think I could find anything open? I ended up pulling
up behind an undercover policeman doing inspections on trucks. He was
most helpful in suggesting a roadhouse down the road a little. So after
getting my healthy (not) supper it was back to the hotel once again to
ORANGE 29th May
Up early again to head into town to get Lee and I some breakfast before
heading over to Orange for the gig at the Ex-Services Club. On the way
it was good to see roadworks to upgrade the old country roads that were
being pummelled by the trucks that use them so much. In to Orange in time
for a great chinese lunch. Our hunger fully satisfied, a stop off at Landers
Music, before heading up to to check in to our hotel. Tracy [TLW80] was
on her way to travel with us for the rest of the tour, however in phone
calls from her, she told me of the issues she was having in actually getting
to Orange. Detirmination won in the end, with a very happy voice on the
phone elating, "I am here! Finally!" I then got to work on the
phone setting up the evenings meet and greets before meeting up with Tracey
and heading down to the club for a bit of reconisence. After our crew
had everything set up and sound check done, back to the hotel for a quick
bite, get ready and take Lee down for the concert. A meet and greet with
fanclub members Claire and Carla, and Western Magazine competition winners
James and Beryl. James brought his green Bass guitar to be signed. Then
it was show time. Lee gave a shout out to a young 19 year old, Ellie Middleton.
Ellie has a tumor and had to miss the show. She was so upset so when Kim
from WIN TV heard she contact us to see if Lee could give her a phone
call before the show. Ellie was overjoyed that Lee had taken time to speak
to her. After the show I 'again' took Lee straight back to our hotel for
an early night so he can completely be over the cold he had earlier this
week. Back to the gig again to wind down with the crew, before having
a snack and heading to bed myself.
BATHURST 30th May
From all the feedback we have had so far, tonight looks like being huge.
Up and out nice and early. Again a stop off at local cafe for our cafine
fix. Lee pretty much spent most of the trip on the phone with interviews.
Our office had me pick up a rather large collection of cd's and posters
for Lee to sign while we were out on tour. This afternoon was our opportunity
to do this. A few hours later the floor of Lee's suite was covered with
about 500 signed Deni Ute Muster posters, a heap of cd slicks and promotional
photos. As we used a gold paint pen to do this, time has to be allowed
to let them dry. Lee has avoided catching that cold that was bugging him
earlier, so he will be at full strength and fully recharged for tonights
show. Tracy and I then headed down to Bathurst Panthers to do the preshow
setup. I called all the fanclub members coming tonight to arrange them
to meet up with Tracy at the interval so she could let them know the details
for the meeting and greeting. A quick survey of the venue, a chat with
security, and all the plans for tonights show were in place. Back to the
hotel to get ready. Just in time to have Debbie and her mate Ellie arrive
from Singleton. Debbie is our club president Ashleigh's mate. Ashleigh
will be joining us for the last show of the tour tomorrow in Mudgee. It
was around 8pm, just as the show was begining, when Deb and Ellie arrived.
So a 7 and a half minute change for the girls saw them jumping in a cab
and heading down to the show just ahead of Lee and I. When we rolled up
the Noll Brothers, Adam and Damian, had the crowd well and truly ready
to rock .. the show Tracy and I arranged the fans before I brought Lee
out. Have to shout out to Michelle, Colleen & Sabrina, Anne and Helen,
Rachel, Tim, Alica and a special happy 21st to Stacey. It was great to
put your faces to the online names we see. Oh and I also would like to
thank our awesome 'Cunnamulla Fella' dancers, Jess, Nicki and my favourite
Jamie, for shaking it for Lee in the show. We will see you tonight in
Mudgee. Would you believe Lee and I walked out of the room as they turned
out the lights. Yeah, the crew had packed up all the pa, the loaders had
pushed it down to the truck. There was literally no one left. So we headed
back to the hotel for a well earnt nights sleep.
MUDGEE 31st May
Same morning routine. He had a couple from last night come to the hotel
to have their ute signed by Lee. Off we went then heading north to Mudgee.
Leaving the band and crew to have their golden arch breakfast, we left
them in our dust and got to Mudgee just before lunch. A spot of shopping
at the local bottleshop to pick up supplies for tonights aftershow party.
Lunch time snuck up on us so we popped over to our favourite Mudgee cafe
'Eltons'. A sensational feed yet again then up the street to the Parklands
Resort. Checkin in and over to the auditorium to check the setup, meet
with the manager Chris, check out ticket sales so far, let security know
what we needed then off to the spa. We had been joined by Outback Club
president, Ashleigh. So ... joined with Debbie, Ellie and Tracy we had
quite an entourage, and they were all in the spa. So I felt obliged to
stop by and say hullo.. lol .. After the girls decided they were done,
they cooked arranged the crews bbq dinner. Tracy got into the cooking
and treated the boys to a right feast. Stomachs full it was time to put
on the last show of the year. Tonight was the last time Lee would be touring
til after the release of his next album toward the end of January next
year. The show did rock. The 1000 strong fans showed that a country crowd
know how to party. After, Lee again came out and signed. A special shout
out to my favourite Cunnamulla Fella dancer Nikki. I think she just about
had everything she wore signed, hat, shirt, boots, socks and jeans ..
lol. After wrapping up the signing, the venue cleared and the truck packed
it was time to party on. No doubt you have heard the saying what happens
on the road, stays on the road. I am going to envoke that 13th emendment
and just say that we all had a great fairwell party. It finished up back
in the hotel suites way in to the early am'.
Awaking bright and early, however rather lethargically, we left a little
late and had a pretty speey trip over to Dubbo to catch our flight to
sydney to meet our flights back home. But there was a catch. Lees bags
went on the next flight but he was one the flight after. So some rather
rushed calls to supervisors saw Lee running through the airport to get
to the gate to get on the flight just as they closed the doors and headed
north. As for Brendan and I, our flight had been cancelled. The flight
was fully booked so the ariling had a bit of a job gettin everyone on
new aircraft. Brendan managed to get on the next one and I had a relaxing
afternoon in the lounge before getting the special treatment, last on
the aircraft and into seat 1A. They autta cancel my fights home more often.
So there you have it. My tour diary of the last Lee Kernaghan tour for
the year. Hope you get a bit of an insite to what happens, and how busy
we are behind the scenes.
I would like to acknowledge Lee's band and crew. Together they have worked
so hard so your Lee concert experience is the best in the country.
The touring entourage was;
Dave Wilkins - Guitar and vocals [ex Russell Crowe's 30 Odd Foot of Grunts]
Brendan Radford - Accoustic & electric guitar
Jake Lardot - Lead Guitarist
Chris Haigh - Bass Guitar
Mitch Farmer - Drums
Lawrie Minson - Guitar, steel harp & banjo
Yahn O'Donnell- Stage Manager
Dave Henderson - Monitors
Bonza - Guitar tech
Mark Hayes - Lighting director
Damian Young - Front of House, Production Manager
Michael Dibbs - Tour Manager
Steve Roberts - Lee's PA
Simon Lakeman - Tour Cordinator
Steven White - Lee's Manager ...
and all the local crew and loaders in each town.
Thanks to Tracy [TLW80] for coming along on the tour and being Lee's
assistant's assistant. It was so much less ciaotic to have you along to
help me out, even if it was your holiday.
I would also like to say thank you so much to the fans that came up and
said g'day. It was great to meet those of you who are new and those who
have been Lee fans for a while. Without you, Lee sells real estate and
I wouldnt have this great job. A job where I travel all over this massive
country with Lee meeting so many beautiful people. Look forward to seeing
you again next year.