Hello everyone and first and foremost, Happy 2014. I hope you all brought in the new year with family & friends. It has been a little minute since I’ve written for my blog, which isn’t something I’m particularly happy about, but I’m going to make a conscious effort to write a bit more and not only write when I’m on the road. Plus, I enjoy sharing my stories with all of you so with that being said, here we go with the first entry for 2014.
I’m going to do this entry a little different then my usual way by making a basic overview of the tour and not break it up into individual stories for the 4 shows. So, it will be done in two parts. Lets see how this comes out and please feel free to let me know if you like it like this or not.
Quito, Ecuador – Nov. 21
In The Air Intro
I’m always hyped up to have the opportunity to perform in a country I’ve never been to before. I have travelled and had the pleasure of performing in a lot of different places throughout the years but it’s cool to still get excited about going somewhere new. All the times Cypress Hill would tour in South America, we would just hit Chile, Argentina & Brazil and the other countries would lose out. We’ve done press conferences in South America where jounalists from all over the region would come and the one question we would always be asked is, “When are you coming to _________?” So, after 20 + years, we will be having our first show in Ecuador. All i can say about that is it’s about damn time!!
We arrived at the airport and even the security were going crazy that we were finally there. They all had their cameras and were taking pics when they should’ve been working. They did help speed the customs/immigration process for us so I guess, they were working after all. When we got out toward the vans that were waiting for us, then it became a little chaotic with the fans that were outside. They were even giving us herbals right there at the airport. It was a great feeling looking at how excited they were that we were there. Some people were saying they had been waiting for this moment since they were young teenagers and when they said that, you saw in their eyes how serious they were. We finally all got in the van to leave and we basically had fans following us the whole way to our hotel. It doesn’t happen all the time but when it does, it gets crazy. Since we arrived late in the evening and we had a press conference in the morning, we all pretty much just went to sleep.
We all met downstairs in the lobby to do the press conference which went smoothly. We were also inducted into the Quito Star Walk Of Fame, which is their version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame & we each put our handprint in the cement except for Julio G. All he could put was his thumb because there was no more room. Even though none of us have any lineage to Ecuador, it was great to be honored like that in another country. Next time we go there, I would love to see where they put it.
It was time to head to soundcheck which was about an hour away from the city. Now here’s the thing, Quito is at a very high elevation, double that of Denver, Colorado. What this means is that the air is thinner and it’s very easy to get tired much quicker because of the elevation. For people that are used to it, no problem but for the most part, it’s a bit of a struggle. I’m glad that I had asked the promoter a month before going there to provide oxygen tanks for us because we would need them for sure especially me (Thanks for the tip Flor!!). In any case, we got through soundcheck with no problems and was looking forward to doing the show.
The crowd was hyped and ready for the show. I had to say I was a bit nervous but only because I was worried that I would pass out because of the elevation. I paced myself for the first few songs to see how I was feeling. I needed the oxygen right after the 3rd song. Performing like this wasn’t fun but I had to do what I had to do. Besides that, the show went off well and the crowd loved it. Right off of stage I needed oxygen bad as did Sen Dog. The crazy thing was us having to hike up this hill all sweaty from the show to get to our van. Surrounded by security, the fans were able to tell when we were going so they all raced up the hill to meet us. The last thing I wanted to do was deal with a big crowd of people when I’m trying to get my breathing together. We made it in and headed straight back to the hotel. All in all, our first show in Ecuador was a success and the fans had a great time. We definitely will return. Next stop is Bogota, Colombia, which we were all looking forward to going. It has been years that promoters have tried to get CH there so now the wait was finally over but nothing could have prepared us for what would happen at the show in Bogota.
Insane In Quito
Bogota, Colombia – Nov. 22
It’s been a long time coming for us to perform in Bogota. From some of our peers that have been there, they have always said that we need to go there to perform and that we have a lot of fans there. After many failed attempts with coming here, we finally have made it!! We didn’t know what to expect when we arrived as far as how the fans would get but surprisingly, it was much more mellow than in the airport in Quito but maybe it was because people were at work or school when we arrived. For me personally as well as the other guys were really looking forward to our first show in Colombia. Like I mentioned, for many years we’ve had offers to come here but obviously it didn’t pan out.
We didn’t have a lot of time at the hotel because we had to make it to soundcheck. When we got there, that’s when it all started to go wrong. First of all, all of the back line equipment that we had asked for was all wrong. Wrong turntables, incomplete percussion gear, the sound system was real janky and it seemed like no one knew what they were doing. One of the promoters was yelling at the stage hands for not having the equipment right. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to play at 100% because of having half of my set up. Needless to say, we never got a chance to do a soundcheck. We were assured that I would have the rest of my percussion gear and that the turntables will be as we asked for. But, to quote the group Onyx, “wa-wa-wa-wa-wait it gets worse!!!”
We went back to the hotel and soon found out that the main promoters didn’t have the rest of the money for CH. Now, if you know anything about doing tours or shows especially outside of the U.S., the promoters pay a deposit before you leave then settles out the rest before the performance. It seemed that the people that were thought to be the main promoters weren’t and with 6,000 waiting fans, a decision had to be made on what we were going to do. Things got so bad that the police got involved with telling one of the promoters that if CH didn’t perform and a riot happened, the promoter will be taken to jail immediately. Crazy pressure, eh?? To tell the truth, there would’ve been a serious riot where people would’ve been hurt or possibly killed. This is something that would be hard to carry over our heads, so an executive decision was made by B & Sen to go do the show. We then left to the venue with a police escort. The tension in the air was crazy.
When we arrived we went straight to the dressing room where there was a row of police that you had to go in between to get there. The concert at that point was going well with no problems, but I guess that those “problems” were waiting for us to get onstage. We finally hit the stage and the people were going bananas. We started the first song and the sound problems began. Now, we aren’t the type of group that if the sound goes wrong, we stop the show because sometimes the sound men need a minute to get everything under control. In this case, mics were cutting in and out so we couldn’t hear any vocals, the levels on stage were all over the place & eventually the whole power went out. I mean not just the stage but even the lights in the tent. I’ve never done a show that when the power went out, it meant the power in the venue too. Now it was getting a bit chaotic on stage because everyone was trying to find out what was happening. We had just gotten thru 1 1/2 songs when this happened. We were in the dark for about 35 minutes but we all stayed on stage. This was a very crucial time because the fans could’ve gotten restless and started to get crazy but as long as they saw us up there and not giving up, they were all cool. Finally, the power went on but with no light show on stage, just one light. It was like doing a punk rock show. We got the show started again but the sound was horrible and I was losing power in my mics so by the time the show was over, I had about half of my set up which is essentially what I started with in soundcheck. The worse thing was that a woman fell off the stage and suffered a fractured skull and a broken wrist. There wasn’t even a guard rail on stage to prevent this. It easily could’ve been any one of us. Luckily, she survived but she obviously could’ve died. That thought was the worse for all of us. It was a disaster all the way around. Even with all of this, the crowd loved it. I think they appreciated that we stuck it out until the end and not stop the show, which is what we should’ve done with all the problems that were happening but you have to think, a lot of these people have been waiting years for this show and to just give up on them would’ve been a bad look on us. This is strictly my opinion though.
Mayhem In Bogota
Right after the show, we again were rushed with security to the van that was waiting for us. We again had to hike up a hill to get to this van. Now, we were all full of sweat, it was cold, and we were rushing to beat the crowd that was headed straight to the van. There was already a crowd by the van when we got there. I was exhausted and all I wanted to do was get in the van, which I had to fight my way through. I was feeling a cold coming and all this madness wasn’t helping. Anyway, we all got in the van and took off. It was a struggle to leave out of there because of our van being surrounded by the fans. They had to call the riot police to surround the van. This was crazy and dangerous!!
The good thing to say about all of this is that all the reviews of the show in the paper slammed the production for doing a terrible job but gave us props for being professional and going thru with the show. They hope that we will return to Bogota to be able to give a proper show. Well, one thing is for sure, we will never do anything with that promoter ever again and if he was smart, he should go into hiding. He qualifies as a “janky promoter”!! Rest assured Bogota, we will come back and give you all a proper Cypress Hill experience.
Stay Tuned for Part 2!!!