[Dixielandjazz] How the other half lives.

Steve Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Oct 17 07:13:11 PDT 2006

Well, it ain't OKOM but as a working OKOM musician, I sure as hell wish it
was. Who says music doesn't pay? :-) VBG

Steve Barbone

Bordeaux Will Never Taste the Same (Or how the other half lives)
NY TIMES - By JOHN HAMLIN - October 17, 2006

The ultimate toy for corporate titans is a private jet. It¹s no different
for rock stars. If you¹ve got a big name, you want your own plane.

I¹ve been traveling on assignment with music stars for 25 years, and much
has changed in how they travel on concert tours. For more and more acts,
fancy tour buses are out and leased private jets are in.

Some stars, like Elton John and the country star Toby Keith, travel between
cities with just a few core staff members on small corporate jets. Others,
like the Rolling Stones, fly with an entourage of 30 or more on sizable
jetliners retrofitted with the finest creature comforts money can buy.

My first rock star flight was with Tina Turner and her entire tour staff in
1987. It was a Scandinavian Airlines DC-9 charter from Copenhagen to
Stockholm. As the wheels went up, the aircraft went into a steep climb.

At that moment, Tina¹s lighting designer, Patrick Woodroffe, unbuckled his
seatbelt and grabbed two of those laminated exit instruction cards out of
his seat pocket. He slipped one card under each foot and then surfed down
the aisle from the front cabin all the way to the galley at the opposite end
or the plane. 

If jet surfing were an X Games event, he¹d have won the gold medal.

The biggest change in touring over the last decade is that more and more
acts often leave from a home base, flying to and from concerts each night
from the comfort of a luxury hotel in a city conveniently located to many

They¹ll stay at the Four Seasons in Palm Beach for a week and play shows in
Miami, Orlando and Tampa. They call it a ³hit and run.² And if you are the
Stones, U2 or Elton John, it helps that local law enforcement gives you a
police escort from the airport to the concert hall and then back to the
airport moments after the last notes are played.

By the time the fans find their cars in the parking lot, Keith Richards is
sipping a vodka cranberry in a private cabin aboard a chartered Boeing 727.

Perhaps my most impressive rock star travel experience was with U2 in the
summer of 2005. Ed Bradley and I were invited to tag along on their
chartered British Aerospace BAe 146-300, a midsize commercial jetliner
outfitted with 20 first-class seats up front and a few dozen business-class
seats in back. 

Their hub was Nice, France, where all four band members have summer homes.
We joined them for a 10-hour run to and from a show in San Sebastian, Spain.

If the private plane and police escort weren¹t enough, U2 had an extra perk
that officially puts it over the top in my book. It turns out that Bono;
U2¹s manager, Paul McGuinness; and their tour manager, Dennis Sheehan, are
all oenophiles. On the plane home to Nice that night, the Bordeaux was
outstanding ‹ properly aged and poured at the perfect temperature by
unfailingly polite British flight attendants.

The experience was priceless, but in some ways, also haunting.

I now long for that night each and every time a Delta Air Lines flight
attendant offers me a $5 ³red² in a tiny screw-top bottle.

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