Charlotte, N.C.–We’ve crept well below the Mason-Dixon Line, finally arriving in the stately South. We had a pair of off-days, so here’s how we spent them:
Sunday, April 14:
10:00 p.m.: On our way from D.C. to Charlotte, Markus is bored, so we jokingly check out “hookup” apps to see if there is anyone “looking” at our truck stop. We learn new terms from our driver, like “lot lizards” and “commercial company”—these, in addition to “mud pickles,” which has something to do with the aforementioned talking-to we got from the tour manager….
3:00 a.m.: After attempting to sleep for an hour in my bunk, dead-tired and frustrated, I am roused by the wonderful words, “Sarah, we’re at the hotel. You have a room.”
Monday, April 15:
1:00 p.m.: I love the smell of the South…. As much as I can smell through my head congestion, anyway. Yes, we have a day off in beautiful Charlotte, and many of us have fallen sick with what Markus calls “the rave flu.” Luckily, I’ve found that nothing gets rid of my ailments quicker than delicious humidity.
6:00 p.m.: “I can’t believe that I have to read your blog after it goes online!” Markus rants.
Markus, be a gentleman. You’re in the South.
“The bus is sovereign ground!”
Midnight: A few of us gather at the hotel’s courtyard to enjoy a fire pit. Conversation ranges from the professional to the absurd. Everyone is afraid that tomorrow’s layout won’t afford the space needed for the production brought along to transform each venue, and that it will end up seeming like just another DJ show, while I ask why we can’t just use the word “poo” on the bus. My red wine is all of a sudden inexplicably spilled onto my freshly laundered clothes.
“The poo fairies were waiting for you to say that,” Markus cracks, “And that is why we use ‘mud pickle’ instead.”
We fight over the fire pits being manual or timed, and I win a foot massage. The documentary crew wishes they had their cameras, as they’re witnessing our “sibling” rivalry for the first time.
Tuesday, April 16:
11:15 a.m.: Bus call to go to venue. I want to take photos of every house we pass—they are so unreal to me. I know that all of Charlotte can’t be like this, but the neighborhoods I’ve seen so far are stately, pristine, lush. It’s all the opposite of my Arizona hometown. Ironically, the nightclub we will be in tonight is called Phoenix.
4:00 p.m.: Setup is going better than planned. Our talented team has found ways to make production work, and the club is being prepared for intense visuals. Spirits are high. KhoMha is at work on the bus studio, as usual, putting together another banger, and Markus stops in to give some direction before heading to press interviews, as well as starting to put together his next Global DJ Broadcast. This should be renamed “The Multitask Tour.”
To be continued….
Apr 16 — Phoenix of Charlotte, NC
4:00 p.m.: I find a nail salon and cash in my bet with a pedicure. What, you think I’m actually going to have Markus massage my feet?
6:00 p.m.: Crew is still working diligently to fit the production into the venue, so that we can bring a mega-club experience to a smaller market. We can’t fit the entire staging inside this time, but club staff is impressed and excited for the show. The DJ booth is unrecognizable. Markus steps in to help, as well. He’s very hands-on. He cares about every aspect.
8:00 p.m.: I step away from the worker bees to get a quiet beer at a local pub. My bartender asks why I’m here, and I vaguely mention the nightclub around the corner. It’s a small world, as I’ve said over and over, and it turns out that this barkeep had golfing plans with a bartender from the Phoenix, but they canceled, having to work on a typically dark day, and so he, too, is working now. Oops.
9:50 p.m.: I walk KhoMha onto the stage. The first beat of his first track gives me a heart attack, and it’s immediately an earplug night.
11:05 p.m.: While people are waiting for their meet-&-greet with Markus, KhoMha ends his set and goes backstage, where he is met by cheers. One of the fans waiting says that his was the best opening set they’ve ever seen in Charlotte. Markus arrives a few moments later, and overhearing the fans say how much he’s affected their lives, how honored they are to have his caliber of talent in town, etc. It’s touching.
Midnight: The M Machine finishes its set, and the crowd chants “one more song,” apparently not realizing that the headliner is taking over, and that they’re in for another great ride.
12:30 a.m.: I step out to the patio for fresh air, glance at the bus, and can’t believe that I’ll be on the road to Nashville in just a few hours. It feels like everything is going so fast. We’re only one week into the tour, and I’m already seeing the end, and missing everything and everyone
1:00 a.m.: A Phoenix manager proclaims, “I’ve never seen the club like this. It’s like a festival! It’s crazy.” A black bra is thrown at Markus on stage.
1:20 a.m.: My cold medicine wears off and I send myself onto the bus to play doctor… with myself. Wait, that doesn’t sound right….
2:20 a.m.: Markus enters the bus whooping and hollering, and he sends tweets out to thank the crowd. I get called back to the club to do some businessing. #neverquit
3:03 a.m.: Markus is subjecting me to the hair-metal-loving film Rock of Ages, and the only thing I’m entertained by is his enthusiasm for its music. I just want to hurry up and get to Nashville. “Don’t you know—it’s the Sarah Gianetto tour?” Markus announces. “We’re just the soundtrack.”
– Sarah Gianetto