The Fire Curtain

photo credit Irok Torres

This picture was taken from our show Friday night in Miami Beach, Florida.  It’s me with the Keytar and my bass player Bobby Silver on stage doing our thing.  The thing that you don’t see in this picture is my DJ, Rare Groove.  He’s actually there but can’t be seen because of this big black curtain behind us that’s covering him, which is where things get interesting. 

That black curtain is called a Fire Curtain.  Most really big venues have them installed so that in the event of a fire on stage a button is pressed and this huge curtain drops, cutting off the fire so that it doesn’t spread and burn the whole building down.  The curtain is at least 40-50 feet wide and at the base of it is a giant metal rod that helps it fall faster from the ceiling where it’s held. It’s huge and impossible for the average person to lift or move by themselves once it’s on the ground.

I had no knowledge of what this was before our show last night in Miami when this thing fell from the ceiling during the middle of our set.  I guess everybody in the crowd could see it slowly falling down behind us during our performance of “so alive”, but we couldn’t, and didn’t know what was going on until it bumped us in our shoulders.  Even then we were all stunned, and didn’t know the scope of what happened until we looked up and saw this massive, unmovable curtain hanging above us.  It cut off the stage and crashed my keyboard stand, landing on Bob’s bass amp.  At first I thought it was my DJ or somebody at the venue tapping me telling me my stage time was up, but once we saw what it was we just kept doing our thing, while the crowd looked on in disbelief I’m sure.  I popped up from behind the curtain with my keytar, finished my solo and the crowd went wild.

All-in-all it was pretty epic, so epic that we decided to end our set at that song, figuring nothing could really top that moment.  But looking back, and being told by the crew on the tour, we came to see that we are lucky to be alive right now.

We were soon told that the way the Fire Curtain is supposed to work the opposite of what we saw; it’s actually not supposed to fall slowly–it’s supposed to drop really fast and hard.  If that would’ve happened, Bob and I could’ve been seriously injured or even killed because of the huge metal rod that’s inside the curtain.  Under normal circumstances the weight of the rod, combined with the height of the curtain in the ceiling, would’ve sent it falling down at a rate of speed that would would be dangerous for anything laying in it’s path.  But because this one was apparently going bad over time, the “clutch” as it was described to us, was slowly giving out, which caused it to slowly fall.  Had it been working the way it was supposed to or completely given out, I might not be here right now typing this.  Thank God that it went down the way it did.

At the time I wasn’t really tripping about it, more bugged because I didn’t get to finish my set the way I had planned, but looking back I’m just glad to be alive and in good health.

The show itself was great.  It was so good to see so many of the kids that came out to see me play at my February show at The Catalyst come see me last night at the Fillmore.  That alone made me feel really welcomed and at home in a city that’s pretty far from home.  The people here have been nothing less than kind and genuine to me, and for that I have to say thank you.

Hope to see you all again very soon Miami.

Word is blog.

My latest album Two-Headed Monster is out now.  Order/Listen here HERE