Re-Covid/Concerts/Long Haulers

I’ve been on tour for a couple of weeks now. We have no CCO, the TM asked nothing about vaccinations when hiring crew (“it’s everyone’s own decision”), and the venues, while largely outdoors, have not required local hands to mask. Many of the venue staff working indoors are wearing masks but not all. These venues are all in the South, where Delta is spiking in large numbers.

I’ve heard from friends on other tours, several report tour members with positive tests. They were only tested after showing symptoms. No one else was tested and only the symptomatic were isolated.  It seems the norm with tours is not to test; the tours can say no staff has tested positive but do not say that they are not tested.

I feel fairly safe about my own health, being fully vaccinated. I worry about being asymptomatic and infecting those whom we contact, including our artists, who are quite coy about their own vaccinations. One claims to be unvaccinated. Band management says they have seen his vaccination card. Why the obfuscation? How do I interact with this person?

We all need the income, but I do wonder how long we will maintain the tour.
Every time I sneeze from pollen allergies I wonder what’s really up. When I see local hands coughing up lungers and spitting off the side of dock, and then see 5000 unmasked folks in the audience pressing against the barricades, I have to wonder if we are producing super spreader events.

If you should decide to print this, please do not use my name. I’m sure I don’t have to explain why.

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After over 40 years of touring, I’m sitting this summer out

I have better things to do than wonder which stagehand contact will kill me

I told my boss that by the time I hand him his first guitar I’ve been in contact with at least 16 locals; unloading the truck, pushing the ramp, uncasing the gear

Then I get on a bus with 10 other crew who themselves have been in contact with their 16 stagehands…

I just read a great Farley Mowat book ( the Boat Who Wouldn’t Float) and am enjoying my time where I can choose who I am in contact with

Vaxed and masked !

Mk Bitterman

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What you say is so true. Here in France 1 million people made appointments to get vaccinated since the Macron government mandated vaccine certificates to enter restaurants, cafes, museums, concerts etc. It works. And the 200,000 (.002 % of the total population of 67 million) who took to the streets are whining about the infringement on their personal liberty and proclaiming that they would rather not go to restaurants or cinemas because their rights are being infringed and that’s what’s most important; I hope they enjoy staying home during their August vacation traveling time which as you may know is sacred here in France and other parts of Europe.

Glenn in Paris

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yikes. this is really serious.  we’re still sorting out our COVID protocols; we have required all our tour personnel to be fully vaccinated and email us their vax cards – two people chose not to return to work instead and have been replaced.  but all sorts of decisions about paid VIP meetngreet guests, personal guests, local crew interactions, catering areas, etc, still need to be finalized.

Toby Mamis
ALIVE ENTERPRISES

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I used to be an agent in touring, and left during the pandemic to manage an artist I discovered who ended up signing with one of the majors a few months later. We’re planning his first debut headline dates for January ’22 and I’m just so hesitant to fully pull the trigger, especially when I see stories like this. Luckily the artist really cares about his fans and wants to make sure people are protected if (and when) we do shows, but I’m afraid that even January will be too soon. This pandemic isn’t over yet… and maybe it never will be. Yet, it feels like the collective attitude from the masses is that they just don’t care. I mean, look at the crowds at Lolla and Rolling Loud. I heard that recently there was a show at one of the 500 caps in LA and upwards of 100 people went home with Covid. And yet, stories like this that you shared are far too common, and far too unreported. Thank you for sharing.

I hope the country (and the world) comes to their senses and gets vaccinated. It’s absurd how much misinformation is spread, and how many people are uneducated on how the vaccine works and becomes effective for the general population. We’re letting this virus run rampant and develop faster than our medicine, and it feels like we’re going to be battling this virus for another decade+ at this rate… I hate to think about what it will mean for touring.

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Spot on Bob,

I will not re-open my show after 8 years in Las Vegas, until it is safe for my cast,  crew and obviously punters.

No one is going to be ill or die on my watch, but I am getting grief from local press as I seem to be the only Show Producer in Vegas doing so.

Never been a follower, or worked for a corporate.

Stay safe.

Sir Harry Cowell

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Spot on (no surprise).  A mess.

I’m in a full time cover band that plays weddings, events, and busy tourist spots in the northeast.  Starting 3/7/2019 we were suddenly unemployed.  Good news;  we made it though.  Mid-May 2021 bookings went from zero to 100 and I  have been playing to hundreds of people a night (in very close quarters), 3 or 4 nights a week, within about a 300 mile radius.  And we, and everyone at the gig…staff, audience…all go home, wherever that is.

I still mask indoors, but at venues we play there’s no chance of staying safe.  You’re constantly near someone.
And I come home to my (vaxxed)  immunocompromised (cancer, stage 4) wife every Monday with around four states worth of dirt on me and everything I carry, worrying that this might be the time I got accidentally spit on by the wrong person at the bar.  Ultimately to fire up Facebook and see another braying moron standing up for “their freedom”, still somehow completely ignorant to the irrefutable fact that This. Fucking  Isn’t. Only. About. You.

jeff.g

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I can’t thank you enough for for shedding light on long covid. I did an interview  with billboard about my battle with it which really only touched the surface of how insane it’s been for me. It’s a real struggle for so many that is still flying under the radar. It’s infuriating when people won’t get vaccinated citing high survival rates when the truth is you may survive but not with your quality of life intact. Though I am improved 16 months later I still battle with various symptoms and liver damage that I am hoping will resolve. This happened to me at 37 if I was 20 years older I probably would have been dead. So many people think they are untouchable and it can’t effect them (particularly young people) and those are the ones delta is going to take down. Pre vaccine I would have had sympathy for anyone who got covid but if covid cuts you down and you didn’t get vaccinated at this point that’s just karma. The fact that it’s not govt mandated is a joke.  Society is in for a rude awakening at some point with hundreds of thousands of long haulers many quite young on disability and in need of constant medical care. It’s a fucking mess.

Thanks again,

Jarred Arfa

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You mention Russian Roulette and catching that one bullet, but even the empty chambers can drastically impact your life. We have an antivaxer friend who’s family caught it from her husband, a police officer who’s partner came to work coughing sick for several days. After a week of being sick at home she ended up in the hospital for ten days. She was never intubated, but can you imaging the cost of ten days of in-patient hospital care?  Even if you get a moderate case, you can still end up with a pile of bills that have a substantial impact on your family – and that’s if you are the lucky one in the hospital.

David Anderson

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I have a friend in the hospital right now who’s fully vaccinated, caught a variant and deadly ill…

It’s bonkers out there!

Fiona Bloom

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When I saw Sir Lewis skip the tire change and start alone, then ask the pit where he was on track related to other drivers, then nearly pass out on the podium just before the Champagne Fail, it all said Long COVID to me. By the reports of victims, it’s usually the milder first cases that may get the Long COVID symptoms (there are as many as 100 symptoms) and up to 30% of first COVID infections will go Long. It’s a horror movie nightmare experience, and you think you might die, or might want to. The best place to see the firsthand reports is on FB at Survivor Corps group. My Long symptoms persisted for over 3 months and all the while my labs and BP, were normal. Docs are just now accepting that it is a “real thing “. They have little to no idea how to treat it. How Lewis was able to make that drive, I will never know.
Thanks for raising awareness, Bob.

Jim Long

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I, too, have some lingering long haul symptoms. Mostly occasional dizziness, just like Hamilton. But I’m not an F1 driver and it in no way hampers me from leading a normal life. I fought the virus and I won. But two people I know have been hospitalized with thromboses following their second jab. I’m a lot more comfortable risking another bout with the virus than deliberately injecting myself with an experimental drug that mimics it. Sorry, but I’m sticking with the devil I know.

Lawrence Shore

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It’s so scary – Long Covid is all I’m thinking about. My cousin in NYC got covid last November. She still doesn’t have her taste back. Her doctor has her “training” her brain with distinct smells and tastes like lemon etc. She is so depressed.

I was never worried about dying from the original covid – but we were very very very careful – cause I didn’t want to be a burden – didn’t want to infect my wife – have to quarantine – go to the hospital – take a ventilator from someone who was sick and compromised. And wanted to squash this thing like the countries who united and handled it.

But – losing my taste? Fatigue? Dizziness? For how long? That’s so scary.

We are back to being very careful – no office – no parties – no inside anything.

We are in Act 2 – and we are in the unknown again.

Stay safe Bob. Thx.

Peter van Roden

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One of the main differences between LC and ME/CFS is that LC patients are much more likely to experience shortness of breath. But both are umbrella terms

with a host of symptoms, many of which overlap, with some persisting others variable – and, what helps one person might not help another.

I was in a Rugby team – that was a breeze compared to ME/CFS fatigue..

I was in a long distance cross country  team – the fatigue of that was nothing compared to ME/CFS

I was in a physcal day job and attending/taking meetings until midnight 6 nights a week, that was a doddle compared to ME/CFS

I contracted infective hepatitis from a plumber and was so weak I could barely crawl to the toilet – that tiredness felt benevolent compared to ME/CFS.

So when Lewis Hamilton says “The level of fatigue you get is different and it’s a real challenge.”.

He’s only hinting at how devastating  the fatigue of Long covid can be.

Then there’s “brain fog”, a ridiculously benign term for a seriously debilitating condition or episodes.

I lost a job because it – so then a severe economic and life upheaval ensues for person, family and friends.

Linden Coll

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You want to have your mind blown about long covid? Join this Facebook group of more than 13,000 and read some of the heart rending posts about the life altering after effects experienced by covid survivors, many of whom weren’t even dangerously ill with the virus. One of the group’s founders, Amanda Finley, has been very instrumental in bringing long covid into the public eye. https://www.facebook.com/groups/COVIDLongHaulers

Laurie LaCross-Wright

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I read that thread you shared on touring during COVID and saw this a few times:

“Live Nation has a clause that states an artist can’t mention Covid or the pandemic as the reason for cancelling a show.”

Is this true from what you have heard?

I have seen some recent shows cancelled with that excuse and in the past I chalked that up to poor ticket sales. That may still be the case but now I am wondering if there is another aspect to this.

Sam Hunt & Zac Brown Band Stadium Concert Cancelled “Due To Unforeseen Circumstances”

Jason Isbell’s Kansas City area concert is canceled due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’

Willie Nelson show at Ozarks Amphitheater postponed ‘due to unforeseen circumstances’

Tanya Bartevyan *Unfortunately, this concert has been canceled due to unforeseen circumstances

Due to unforeseen circumstances, The Commodores concert scheduled for this weekend

More:

https://www.google.com/search?q=%E2%80%9Cunforeseen+circumstances.%E2%80%9D+concert&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS961US961&oq=%E2%80%9Cunforeseen+circumstances.%E2%80%9D+concert&aqs=chrome..69i57j33i160l2.9328j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

– Paul Kersh

Aella

“America’s Sex Recession” 

Apple: https://apple.co/3A6nDMH

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3xoqxuq

First I listened to the Daily.  Turns out that when you’re vaccinated few antibodies populate your nose, and it’s from your proboscis that most Covid droplets emanate. Therefore, if you get a breakthrough infection, you’re just as contagious as the unvaccinated. So you may not have a bad case of Covid, but those susceptible around you, the unvaccinated and the immune-challenged, are at full risk.

Having finished that, I listened to Ken Burns on Sway. And ended up confused as to whether I liked him or not. On one hand he’s apologizing for the perception of his success, on another he’s a Luddite, yet he wants to get the history right. But he is smart, and was interesting to listen to.

Then it was past ten and I was halfway down the trail and I was wondering what to listen to next. The truth is there are many podcasts, but few worth listening to. And I’m scrolling through my list and I think of Bari Weiss, who I don’t always agree with, but is uber intelligent (as well as uber self-confident!) So I scroll through Bari’s offerings and really none of them are ringing my bell, but then I see one entitled “America’s Sex Recession.” I’m up for a discussion of sex in the pandemic era, interested to hear Bari’s spin on it, especially since she’s been married to a man and is now engaged to a woman, her perspective would be unique.

And Bari’s going on about men having less sex and the reasons therefor. And she gets to blaming it on the internet. And then she plays a segment from the movie “Her” where the protagonist falls in love with an operating system. The crazy thing is when you listen to the clip you get it, the tone of voice the woman behind the OS employs. Most men are rejected by women, or experience a flat affect in return, but this OS woman’s voice is engaging, I caught the tone immediately, the one you get when the woman you’re speaking to likes you.

Which doesn’t happen that often.

So I’m rounding a curve thinking about something else, that happens, especially when hiking, and then I start to realize that it’s no longer the computer speaking, but a real person. Bari is talking to Aella.

Hmm… Never heard of her. But as her story unfolded I was riveted.

Turns out Aella is a sex worker. She started on MyFreeCams and then became an escort IRL and now is on OnlyFans. And she’s at the tippity-top of OnlyFans, and that’s where all the money is, just like on Spotify.

And then as I step onto the rocky shortcut, Aella says she spends 80% of her time marketing and 20% actually creating.

And that’s when I thought of writing this, telling you to listen to this podcast. Which is ultimately just an interview with Aella. The first half being the facts, the second half being her perspective.

So it turns out she got burned out on MyFreeCams, playing the ratings game. To get on the home page… It comes down to how much you’re making per hour. So, you’ve got to get customers to pay from the very start. And you’ve got to be on the service constantly to build an audience to begin with. It’s a job, with pressure! You think you just set up a cam and you’re off to the races, making dough, but that is patently untrue.

But on OnlyFans, you’re ultimately in business for yourself. There are multiple ways to play. You can charge a high monthly fee and provide all content. A low monthly fee and upsell some content. Aella employs a hybrid model. A lot for free, but she upsells too.

All the marketing is done on Reddit. She’s posting multiple times a day. The posts are automated/timed, to when the best reception/most views occur.

So Bari starts talking to Aella about her relationship with her members. And Aella says the great thing about OnlyFans is the men are not in competition with one another, you can’t see what someone else is doing so you believe you’ve got a one on one relationship with the provider, in this case Aella. On MyFreeCams you can see the whales dropping bucks and you get discouraged, believing you’ll never have a chance. As for the reality of the relationship on OnlyFans? The truth is some women have content farms responding to subscribers, it’s all false, but not Aella.

And then the discussion centers on what men want. It turns out their primary interest is in connecting. They don’t want to talk about sex so much as who Aella is, and who they are. Almost like a real date. Conventional wisdom is men are wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am but this is totally false, that’s just a sliver of the population.

And Aella is so intelligent, and neither smug nor off-putting in any way.

So Bari asks which form of monetization Aella prefers. And she says escorting.

This makes no sense to me. Putting yourself at risk with men?

But Aella said she’s high-priced, and her customers…

Are usually men who can’t make it with women. They just don’t know how to play the game. Forget having sex with a woman, they don’t know how to talk to a woman at all, and they’re hiring Aella to learn how to do it. So one customer just wants to be held. Another is so weird he can’t connect with anybody. But Aella says she’s weird enough that they could relate. She says she continues to think about these customers. And yes Bari, she is somewhat like a therapist. God, if men listened to this podcast Aella would be overbooked! But right now, during the pandemic, she’s only on OnlyFans.

So what we’ve got here is a woman with her own business making bank with very few customers, relatively speaking. She’s not reaching everybody, she’s not Ariana Grande, but she’s in control of her own life and is more than making a living.

So I thought of musical groups. And all that marketing. Then I thought how that’s what acts are good at these days, online marketing, it’s only the music that is unappealing. Conversely, you can have great music and without the marketing you can’t make it. And the truth is Reddit and other social media platforms are more powerful than traditional media for almost all acts. And all we hear about is Facebook, almost no one talks about Reddit.

So who is Aella? Where did she come from?

I’m driving home now, steaming via Bluetooth to my sound system. And it turns out Aella was raised in a strict evangelical Christian household. With even a censoring device on the television. She saw “Titanic,” but she didn’t know that Leonardo and Kate had a love relationship. She was living in darkness. She went to public school for a bit at fourteen, but her parents immediately extricated her when they found out they had internet in the classroom. Sure, they had internet at home, but only a few sites were approved.

So Aella goes off to college, her eyes start opening and then she runs out of cash and her parents refuse to foot the bill. So she works in a factory. Sixty hours a week at ten bucks an hour. And then a friend tells her about camming.

Now ultimately Aella says that looks do matter. That once you’re even slightly overweight, your revenue goes down, way down. And when I looked her up later I could see that Aella was almost painfully thin. Oh, she’s 29, she’s been doing this for ten years.

And she’s talking about her body, she had plastic surgery because her nose was crooked. And she experimented with injectables, but no one seemed to notice the difference. And Bari starts wondering about plastic surgery and Aella says she sees he body as a tool, nothing more.

And then Bari starts bringing up hot points. About the killing of… And Aella went crazy. Sure, Asians were killed, but that wasn’t the point, Asians should not be discriminated against, but the truth is those women were SEX WORKERS, that was what it was all about! And now she doesn’t trust the press.

You can try listening to sex podcasts. They’re unlistenable. You’ve got hosts who are constantly laughing, it’s R-rated discourse that doesn’t satisfy and certainly doesn’t titillate. As for the ones interviewing those involved in the game… The truth is too often they’re outcasts, you can’t relate to them, never mind they can’t even tell a good story. But Aella? It’s like sitting down with your next door neighbor’s adult child and being impressed as this smart woman tells you her tale and wrestles with the concepts. This wasn’t lowest common denominator sexual innuendoes, this was intelligent conversation, this was impressive!

So at first I was fascinated by the business issues. How much selling it took to make a living. That marketing seemed abhorrent to me, but is it necessary to make bread?

Then I was wowed by the truth about men. We just read about these blowhard “winners,” who manipulate women and then discard them, it being all about sex, when the truth is this is not representative of men at large whatsoever.

Then there was the insane Christian upbringing.

And finally, the viewpoint. There’s an expert in every field online, but instead we get journalists telling the story and too often getting it wrong.

You want to listen to this.

David Crosby-SiriusXM This Week

Tune in today, August 3rd, to Volume 106, 7 PM East, 4 PM West.

Hear the episode live on SiriusXM VOLUME: siriusxm.us/HearLefsetzLive

If you miss the episode, you can hear it on demand on the SiriusXM app: siriusxm.us/LefsetzLive

From The Trenches

“Touring During a Pandemic: My Covid Breakthrough Story”: https://bit.ly/3ymQRXp

Update: https://bit.ly/3iij7ok