Mike Inez is a man who enjoys a good ritual.
It isn’t so much that he’s superstitious, but he just has some pre-show habits and customs that help him get ready for a show.
Some of them are just things that help him get comfortable and ready, and some are absolute necessities.
I won’t get in to the entire rundown of what he does before a show, but I will point out that he did them all again in London.
Except for two.
An extremely important two.
I was standing in the wings with Mike and William as the show was about to start.
The lights went down, the crowd started roaring, and the band made their way on stage.
So far so good.
Then Jerry began the opening lines of Bleed The Freak, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
Shortly after that though, Mike came over to his tech, and something was clearly wrong.
I saw his tech pull back Mike’s hair and grab his right in-ear monitor and stick it into Mike’s ear.
All while Mike continued to play.
I figured, “Okay, Mike’s in-ear fell out, and now all is well”.
But it wasn’t all well.
Mike immediately turned and had his left in-ear monitor put in as well.
That took another few seconds, and Mike didn’t miss a note as this was going on.
So now all was well in Mike’s world, as he walked back out onto the stage and proceeded to rejoin his bandmates and rock out for the London fans.
But it wasn’t all well, as Mike turned around after a few seconds and made his way back over to his tech.
I stood watching as Mike yelled something in his tech’s ear, and then turned around. Then his tech grabbed the pack in Mike’s back pocket, fiddled with it for a few seconds, then sent him on his way back out on stage.
And finally this time, all was actually well.
Here’s a brief rundown of the whole in-ear scenario to help give those of you who don’t have an idea of how things work:
Each band member has in-ear monitors that are custom fit for them.
These monitors have a wire that runs from the ear molds out to a battery pack, which is either attached to a belt, or put in a back pocket.
This, in a nutshell, is how each band member hears himself and the rest of the band during the show.
So what exactly happened with Mike’s in-ears that caused so much havoc during the first 45 seconds of the show?
Mike followed all of his usual pre-show routines and patterns and habits, except for two, which I’ll try to explain it in the most technically simple of terms.
Yep, he forgot to put his ears in, and he forgot to turn on his battery pack.
I’ve worked with Mike for 25 years now, and this is the first time I can recall this happening.
Usually it’s me who forgets things and does stupid stuff out here, so while I don’t like Mike stepping on my turf, it was worth it to see someone else do something stupid.