iv09aStage Diary


Who is Fasvi? I have a pink "While You Were Out" phone message from a Fasvi, but 1 don't know any Fasvi. Then I get another message from a "Fribi." I notice that both Fasvi and Fribi have the same telephone number.

It's 2 A.M. in the festival office. Everyone has gone home. The day's chaos of papers, notes, blueprints, Styrofoam cups, and Hyatt hotel pencils has been neatly arranged. The tables have been reset in the college bowl format for tomorrow's Daily Summit Meeting. In the quiet, the fax machine stutters to life. It's Kim transcribing lyrics in Connecticut, testing the machine. By morning the tray will be full of song lyrics for Maharaji to review.

I have just drawn a chart which shows what time it is in Australia. I dial my first overseas call hoping to catch Lindsay Field at lunch. A click and the hissing of 8,000 miles of phone line. A froglike basso groan. (Sounds like he just woke up, but I figure - musicians, you know… sleep 'til noon). "What time is it?" I ask. "It's just about …4 A.M., mate." call back at breakfast.

You may remember the scenes from that first Star Trek movie where the crew of the Enterprise is reunited. A little bit rounder, a little bit grayer, one by one those old familiar faces arrive and come aboard - Scotty, Uhura. Doc, Captain Kirk, Spock. Well, from Atlanta, Melbourne, Hollywood and Boulder, the One Foundation begins to appear. Kim, Geoff, Fuzzbee (Fasvi, is that you?), Andy, and Nick float down to Florida. I spot someone who looks vaguely like Lindsay Field wandering around the Miami airport at 2 A.M. Welcome Strange Traveler!

Juan Contreras arrives in a driving rainstorm with a van full of equipment for the rehearsal. He has picked up a drum set, amplifiers, microphones, his own mixing board, cords, cables and two "roadies" - Klaus, from Germany, and 16-year-old Jed. They load equipment and begin to set up for Rehearsal Day Number 1. Juan's knowledge of equipment and constant effort quickly earn him the band's appreciation and the name "Juan Foundation."

iv09b Maharaji is meeting with the musicians at the end of their first day of rehearsal. He looks wonderful. Gleaming. The band looks awful - a combination of jet lag, pre-program insomnia, bad hotel lighting, and nervous joy. But the songs are coming back and the band sounds, well … OK. Maharaji talks to them about the feeling of the music and the meaning the songs will convey. It is a beautiful privilege to be standing in the back, seeing the sun come up on whomever he is talking to. As Maharaji leads the musicians through the song list, each song sounds a little brighter, a little better. By the time he leaves rehearsal with the suggestion that everyone get some rest, the band is One again, on a familiar Foundation.

Lupe and her band of volunteers have been to the market again. The musician's coffee break table has an astounding array of fruits, muffins, snacks, and juices. "The Budget, Lupe, the BUDGET!" I cry. "You said Maharaji said to make it nice, so I'm making it nice," she replies.

"Try turning it up!"
Maharaji is calling down sound directions from the back balcony of the Miami Arena as the sound check begins on Thursday evening. One month before, at a meeting in this same arena, Maharaji had talked about the importance of rehearsals on stage. In the past, this idea had fallen into the "miracle-if-ithappens" category. But here we are, the day before the event, and the troops have come up with a working stage, a sound system and a rehearsing band. Amazing.

Ray, the show director, is leading his tech network through the evening's schedule. David, at the bandstage, is calling lighting cues as the band begins to play. Over the backstage monitor it looks like MTV. Fuzzbee's forehead glows blue, then red, as the lights warm to the music. The band is in love, the sound guys are in love, the lighting guys are in love, Ray and his crew are in love… even Sparky, the Miami Arena electrician controlling the house lights, seems to be in love as he turns the lights on and off for the videos.

Maharaji is on his way to the car. He makes a detour to the bandstage and pops through the curtain to tell the musicians, "Good work, guys!" Then he's on his way. The band begins packing up guitars and drums, people in the auditorium are heading out toward dinner, visiting with friends, or just sitting quietly. Technicians begin rolling up cables and putting on tool belts to disassemble the stage. As the Miami Arena gradually returns to its former state, more than one person looks up at the backstage doors where the taillights of Maharaji's car have long since disappeared. You know the look - the one that says, "Thank you. How long until we meet again?"