First Post From K.C.’s Corner
Lance Jackson 4/28/2019
People seem to have enjoyed some of the many experiences I’ve shared with them over the years. So I decided to take a minute from time to time to document some of them to share both to the public and the members of Roadies of Color United International.
Stay tuned I plan on going way back as far as 1978 the year I did my first Road Tour, but I’ll start with something recent. Up until this year I’d only done one R&B Cruise and it was as a Backline tech doing percussion for Ms. Patti Labelle back in 2010. That cruise was pretty nice and for my part very simple. Show up, set up, do the shows and and walk away overnight. Everything was rented and provided the rest of the time you could just blend in and enjoy the ride. This year I had the opportunity to do my second R&B Cruise but this time as a Stage Manager with a lot on my plate on the Tom Joyner “Fantastic Voyage'” Cruise Pool Deck Headliners Stage. By far much more involved and full time….
I owe this privilege to Paul “Sok” Norman, Bill Barnett, Salinda Walker and Chris Weathers. I also need to thank my Production Manager Tony Bulluck for allowing me the time off from my day job with Earth, Wind, and Fire to be able to accept the Cruise Gig.
The Tom Joyner Cruise was about to celebrate it’s 20th Anniversary and had plans to make this one of the biggest and best. I can say it was all of that and more. It was well organized, with a cause, cultural and featured an all star talent line up.
The cruise set sail from Miami April 7-14 on the Carnival Magic and made stops in the Caribbean’s Amber Cove, San Juan and St. Thomas. Created as a fundraiser to support students in school at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, this year’s cruise featured entertainment favorites, informative seminars, morning inspiration, fitness classes, notable celebrities, and popular theme nights. Music superstars including Janet Jackson, Maxwell, Charlie Wilson, Fantasia, KEM, and more headlined on 8 different venues through out the ship.
The gig started out as does most with a phone call and then another phone call, then the emails more and phone calls. This gig I can honestly say the advance information was on point. I was given almost a whole three months to prepare for my role to stage manage the pool deck stage. The stage was actually constructed over the top of the pool on deck 10 of the ship by Mountain staging.
As you can see the pool deck stage was not covered and subject to the elements. Thankfully for the most part the cruise was blessed with fair weather. We did encounter rain on one of the days but I’ll save that for later.
I headed out to Miami on the 6th of April to join the rest of the crew who were either already assembled there or were on the way there for a crew dinner and orientation.
By the time I arrived at the hotel it was almost already time for the crew dinner meeting. Checked in and made a quick turn around and made my way to the meeting room. I was amazed to see such a large number of the staff assembled at the dinner. Dinner was a classic soul food spread including one of my favs… “Yard lobster” (Fried chicken for those of you who don’t know what yard lobster is.) The food was great. I got to catch up with a few friends. The orientation was informative, crew T-shirts were past out and radios were issued.
The Cruise Day one. The crack of dawn we checked out of the hotel and assembled to bus the port of Miami. Fortunately for me all of the staging and most of the production load in for my stage had already been completed earlier in the week before my arrival in Miami.