The plan seemed pretty easy: the Flag is given to Stewart -- possibly from the audience (killing me) -- and gets hung on a gong. In order to make it work, Jeff and I need to meet so that the Flag can meet the head carpenter (cuz there aren't enough innocents tied into this insanity) and be seen, measured, assessed, and an easy and appropriate hanging system built. Seems easy enough, right?
But this is all going down during what must be the absolute worst time possible. Jeff has got, you know, a job to be doing, and it being the last week of the tour -- in a location full of his friends and family -- that also includes a TV show taping in addition to the regularly scheduled concerts -- he's a bit, well, busy.
There are phone calls; there are text messages; there are emails; there are voicemails. I keep clutching my phone in my hand just in case something can get squeezed in quickly, and poor smudge and nancyrose (whom I owe greatly) are (patiently and ridiculously) ready and willing to jump in the car at a moment's notice. But every time we're supposed to try to meet, we can't.
JB1 turns into the longest damn soundcheck in the history of the world, so that window of opportunity disappears quickly. Jeff and I arrange to meet the next day, but that falls through. He asks where I'm sitting for JB2, so I spend most of Elvis's last set pacing about neurotically, enjoy the sudden appearance of the faux Elvii, then go back to clock-watching.
I had already conferred with Tamadude (via screaming over Elvis's set) and told him that the Flag may have to disappear for a bit and may not make it back in time for gong. He is lovely and understanding, especially having talked to Jeff about the gong plan earlier in the day. But after hanging out at the stage for quite a while in the hope of catching Jeff while he's setting up, I check the time and need to leave: Tama has been waiting patiently for Flag Duty, and I need to fork the Flag over for the night.
Of course, I find out when I return to my seat that just after I had disappeared, Jeff had come downstage looking for me.
It's all turning into a bad farce. I spend the beginning of the JB2 set out of sorts. Luckily it's a great show, and I'm able to get my head into it after a few songs -- but that night I go back to the hotel feeling kinda crap. I don't sleep much, and I've got to try and put together a final flag-spotting post that just isn't happening no matter how long I write. I know that the Elvis taping the next day is probably not going to be workable flag-wise -- and as it turns out, it's not -- and it makes for a regrettably pissy mood on my part.
I know that it's just a flag and that there are very few people who know about the MSG idea -- and therefore very few people who would be actively, knowingly disappointed if it didn't happen. Jeff is being extremely kind and generous for trying to make this happen (St. Jeff indeed), and I feel like such an asshole having to bother the poor man over something so silly. But to think that this silly thing that would mean so much to so many -- myself included, and presumably Stewart as well -- might fall through because of bad timing was just damn frustrating.
And time was running out. . . . .
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