Mr. Charlie Daniels
In the spring of 2018, my dear friend Chris gives me dates (September 5th and 6th) for a fall show that he wants me to work with him and tells me that he wants me to run monitors. "Monitors" are the speakers or ear pieces on stage that a band will use to hear themselves and each other. Usually, one sound engineer will run Front Of House (what the audience hears), and another will run monitors. Okay great, that's me. I ask Chris who the act is. "Charlie Daniels". I said "you want me to run monitors for the Charlie Daniels band?!!" He said "of course".
I have to admit that I was a little intimidated about this gig. The thought of running monitors for Charlie's legendary band was a little daunting. These guys are the definition of seasoned, road savvy musicians. They've seen and heard it all. I asked Chris which console I'd be working on, hoping that it was one I'd had some experience with. No such luck. "Venue SC48." I tend to pick these things up without too much trouble, so I turn to the web to make sure I am familiar with the console layout and functions. On the bright side, the better a musician is, the less fussy they tend to be about their monitor mix!
A crew member helps me get monitor world setup and takes an hour to walk me through the new (to me) console. Soon after, I meet Charlie's tour manager Bob and he and the drum and guitar techs walk through sound check with me. Bob walks from station to station telling me exactly what what he needs in each monitor. I am blown away by how detailed and precise he is. My workflow on the console is coming together, and I'm gaining confidence by the minute.
As Bob finished walking from station to station, he says to me..."Here's what you need to know. Watch Charlie. If he looks at you and nods his head up, give him more vocal. If he pulls up on the neck of the guitar or fiddle, give him more of those in his monitor. One more thing, when he sits down on the stool, you need to adjust his vocal eq down at 1khz until he stands back up." Bob saw me studying his words, and knew that I was wondering about this specific adjustment instruction. He said "gotta adjust for Charlie's hat when he's seated, cause it'll affect the mic". I was on my toes.
As the countdown on comm rolled into showtime, the band took the stage, and there through the curtain came Mr. Charlie Daniels himself. He laid down a fantastic show, playing his heart out for 5,000 people in the ballroom of the GICC. I've never been more focused on a performer, as I wasn't going to miss a cue from this country legend and get a disappointed glare, or a request through his mic!! No way. Charlie and the rest of the band just rocked it. At the end of the show, two of the guys in the band came over and gave me a solid guy hug and expressed their gratitude.
I was honored to be a part of the crew for this event, and to have done a solid job for this country legend. Though I didn't meet Charlie directly, I got a real sense of who he was listening to him tell stories on stage and working with his band and crew. Charlie did not hide the fact that he was a christian, or how important his faith was to him. He did an amazing job singing "How Great Thou Art", right before delivering "The Devil Went Down To GA", and we all know how that story ended. We also know how Charlie's story ended today as his journey in this life came to a close. It ended with him in the arms of Jesus.
God bless you Charlie. You have seen the face of God. Thank you for your witness, and some great music.