Hope Bruens of Cart PHR 4 outside of Sun Life Stadium
If you have been reading my blog you already know that we've worked for about 2 weeks rehearsing for "the big day" and I really could not believe that it actually came -- and went -- so quickly! Below is how the day shaped up for me and some details about the show and the overall experience:
First, I just want to say that if you all ever get a chance to sign up for the next Super Bowl half time crew, either when it's in South Florida again or if you feel like traveling to Dallas in 2011, it's an experience that's worthwhile.
On Super Bowl Sunday my reporting time was 3 pm. I was to drive to Nova Southeastern University to park in the garage so they could bus us over to the stadium...ugh. We knew it would be a long, long wait. I was a little nervous about the weather. It was beautiful and sunny but a little cold. Especially if we were to stand around outside where the wind kicks up. I decided to wear a long sleeved Nike running shirt for warmth along with a fleece and brought a leather jacket with gloves. Better safe than sorry -- and was I right. It turned out to be quite brisk once the sun set and many of my crew/cart mates were really cold.
They gave each of us upon check in a black long sleeved t-shirt with the Half Time show logo on the front and The Who logo on the sleeve. They are just OK and I decided to get a small so it would not fit too loose. I felt a little silly bringing all of my layers with me but was very glad later on. We, of course, were offered (another) box lunch to eat at 3 pm which was odd -- was it lunch or dinner? I had just wolfed down a pb&j on my way so I didn't eat the sandwich -- not that I could have anyway after eating them for the past 2 weeks at rehearsals! I just ate the chips and cookies.
My group found each other quickly in the huge college basketball gym that they sat us all in. We had all of us half time crew folks along with the pre-show kids and I think the band people that were also in the pre-show. I haven't seen the entire pre-show and game yet since I missed most of it being in it. They, of course, were the first to be bussed to the stadium.
We waited -- and waited some more, then finally at about 4:30 (we had to all be there at 3 pm!) we were told to file out to get on the buses. Now some of my crew mates and I thought we'd for sure be on those rental coach buses but oh no, we were taken by police escort on Miami-Dade school buses! Yes, big yellow school buses with about 10 police escorts that blocked traffic in all directions to let us through. We even went through red lights the way you do when you are in a funeral procession! To see the Turnpike blocked off for our lowly little yellow buses was quite a trip. I am sure that those drivers were like "who the heck are in those buses!?!?!?" Of course seeing the AK47 on some of the police around the stadium was a bit scary. We just aren't used to that here in America, are we? I remember seeing much more of that in both Mexico and Greece, but it's odd to see it here in the US.
We disembarked our dozen buses and walked -- right with the regular crowd -- into the stadium through the metal detectors. After one of our stage crew fellows boasted about getting his flask through security we saw him being "escorted" by the police right back out a little later. Not that he was on my cart thankfully but I assume that his drinking was a little out of control and they were -- for obvious reasons -- not allowing him to participate in the half time show set up. That could really be dangerous for him and his fellow crew/cart mates if he did something strange!
We were told to just stand around in a holding area by the stadium staging tent. Again, we all waited and talked - we were all a little nervous but excited. The most exciting part of waiting in this location is that the Air Force jets that did the fly over came directly over our heads -- they were not really over the stadium as I am sure it looked like on TV. They were off to the side and cranked up their after burners as they flew over. That was really cool...they were almost touching each other. We then heard both Queen Latifah and Carrie Underwood sing, of course not being able to actually view them, from outside. We did see some actress that one of my cart mates recognized walking with her Fendi purse and Sephora bag - I remember looking at her and thinking that instead of working here bundled in my black shirt pushing a cart I sure would love to be wearing those high heeled boots, carrying my Fendi purse with my new Sephora stuff --- oh well, such is my life...maybe when I am reincarnated things will be different :)
We then moved our cart to the area where we rehearsed which is lined up outside of the tunnel that leads to the field. We took a ton of pictures of both the actual instruments that The Who were going to play -- which were loaded up on the center stage parts -- and the outside of the stadium. We waited, tried to watch the game from the far away small TV's and checked and rechecked our cart. We were fortunate enough for the time to fly and before long we were pushing our cart out and into the stadium -- it was time!
The excitement for all of us was huge -- remember, we had rehearsed for this one moment for 2 weeks. As we were running through the tunnel and onto the field everyone in the tunnel were cheering for us, that felt great! Thank you everyone who happened to be standing in that tunnel! I saw, in the moment that I had running past a number of uniformed people -- thanks to all of them. They made us all feel great.
Once out on the field I was surprised about how very quiet it was. You can't believe how noise dampening that grass is -- with 75,000 people in the stands it was almost serene. A very strange thing. You could hear people talking next to you. I expected it to be loud. We wheeled the cart into our rehearsed position perfectly! Then quickly "peeled off" and went to the sidelines while the whale tail guys took off the strobe light and positioned it on the ground between carts.
I sat on the 20 yard line right on the sidelines with nobody in front of me to watch the show! Some of my crew mates ran over to the front (we were towards the back) but I had a good enough view and also was nervous about being in position for the exit in time. The show was terrific. I had a number of people tell me that The Who was terrible on TV but from where I sat they were great -- Daltry's voice was a little rough in spots but overall I loved it. I'd love to hear what you all think...and yes, Pete Townshend did sound off. We completely loved it!
We successfully wheeled our cart off of the field and waited some more at the staging tent. Funny, but I was almost sad that it was over so quickly. But I really was tired and getting really hungry by this time. We waited, and waited some more -- took more photo's and celebrated a very successful show set up and exit -- our jobs!
Steve our cart leader was not around too much so we were sure that he was off watching the game and (we hope) having a few beers! He worked hard and we really enjoyed having him as our leader. Now he's off to LA to work his Nick Cage movie! You go Steve!
We boarded the buses again and headed back to the university to eat pizza and watch the private DVD of the set-up and break-down of the stage...but a number of us, me included, just couldn't hold out that late. It was already like 10 pm and we watched the post-game (thankfully only Patrick worked on that stage set-up!) for a while in the gym, ate our pizza and walked out to our cars. Again a little anti-climactic for us after such an intense project!
To my fellow cart mates and new friends I have to say that this was one memorable experience! I am sure that we will have a Cart PHR 4 get together one of these days....now, who wants to go on a road trip to Dallas to work on Super Bowl 45 next year, I heard that The Eagles are playing...any takers? Ha, ha.....
During THE WHO half time show at Super Bowl 44 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, FL
Taken from the 20 yard line on the field