Testimony


To start, here is Bruno's story, trucker for the Let's talk about love tour...
(Translated by Lucie THIBAULT-LAURENT)


"I was 10 or 11, when people asked me: «And you, Bruno, what do you want to do with your life when you get older?», I replied simply: « I’ll be a trucker!». And believe me, I did everything necessary to achieve it, from delivering pizza to taxi driver, dump/shifting container driver to schoolbus driver! ... Being well-experienced, one day, I met the manager of a well-established trucking company of entertainment tours and the dream then became more obvious!...
I hesitated about 2 years (if you’re leaving on a tour as a trucker for 4 months, you won’t be home for 4 months!)... Spring 98, I make the move!... This is where it starts: working full-time on tour."
- Bruno

The announce!

"Spring 1999, one Friday night, then, my boss tells me:
"Bruno, are you free these coming April, May and June?
- Of course, why?
- Well, you’re leaving on the Let’s Talk about Love tour with Céline!"
Gee Wiz - my legs became so weak! No more fooling around, the BIG league!"

Thursday, March 25th, 1999, let's go!

"Finally, there we were. My truck and the ones of my 12 other colleagues were ready for, on a tour of this amplitude, 13 semis were required to move the equipment.
So, time to run had now come and, after a short briefing to remind us of the rules and confidentiality agreements on such a tour and the usual driving data, I left for Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA) to serve my first show. My load represents 50% of the audio equipement full packed in a 53'footer. By the way, did you know that the value of the technical equipement required for such an event is worth more than 20,000,000$ ?
I carried a great responsibility: I had to travel with high punctuality since thousands of fans were waiting impatiently and, keeping this in mind, I drove to my first show on the US highways at about 115 km/h. In a way, being a new recruit, I felt more and more anxious. You know why? Because, thinking about the loading and unloading of my load, I knew that an experienced driver of the team unloaded the equipement in only 7 minutes and loaded it in only 10! Understand my anxiety? Furthermore, all the equipment needed to be rightfully in place for if not, the van just wouldn't close!

Anyway, by now, going through Customs at Windsor (Ontario) had been a bit long because of a mix up in papers but I was at last able to get some rest. Stopping at the state border of Indiana, 1,100 kilometers from Montréal, I slept for the night. Eight hours later, I was back on the road on a nice sunny day. Only 5 more hours and I would reach destination. Three of my colleagues and I stopped to have breakfast in a Chicago suburb. Everything was rolling according to schedule and, as we left, my boss called on my mobile to know where we were. «Don't worry, Boss, everything is fine» ... Would you believe that only a few seconds later, right at the entrance of Chicago, a monstrous smash happened, only a few kilometers behind me! But worst: 4 of my colleagues are part of it - causing great dammage to the loads and scrapping two trucks! Thank God, however, none was injured. Although it seemed to start real bad at the time, the workings of a production company like CDA and Feeling being what they are, everything was taken care of in the following hours and the Show did go on as scheduled! Ouch! But at what cost, I wondered then. Maybe all this was a forerunner sign of more to come on this Tour. "

About 17:00, first meet at Minneapolis Target Center

"As far as I was concerned, I arrived at Minneapolis Target Center on time and for the very first time, badge hanging from my neck, I got to enter the real backstage life, choosing to go right in the center of the amphitheatre for a start. What a special feeling, to see all those colorful empty seats!
Nature calling, I then reached the cafeteria area for supper, having my first meal with the Céline team, which was mostly exclusively Montrealer and francophone, like I. Sitting down with my trucker friends, I did look for HER, the one for whom we were all there, but no luck... For a while, I started to doubt my buddies - thinking that somehow they just made fun of me when they said: «You'll see, Bruno, she eats with us every night!». But then, noticing a kind of black monster at the back of the room, I recalled that he is Mr Eric Burrows, body guard to Céline.

Still having my supper, I looked around discretely, telling myself that if the gentleman was in here, she had to be around! We were about 80 people in the room and I was not going to act like a «groupie»! Just not the place nor the time. But then, my heart stopped: there SHE was! Sitting just at the next table, talking with her sister Manon and brother Michel. And then, having seen me, she stood, came to our table and said:
"Ha! A new trucker!
- A ... Y e s ..., I answered babbling awfully, My name is Bruno.
- Pleased to meet you, smiling and kind she added, Bruno. I am Céline and I wish you a good Tour."
So, that was it and WOW! The guys told me afterward that she always noticed the newcomers and that she always liked to welcome them herself in the big family."

Preparation

"At about 17:30, another great thrill: Céline went on stage with her musicians to make some sound checks. Of course, I was there and to see her on stage, wearing a jogging suit and knickers, without make-up and lighting made me realize how much the voice, getting out of such a petite woman, is powerful. Let me remind you here that Céline, without high heels, is not that tall. Physically, that is. Hearing her sing «When I need you» a cappella just made me tremble all over. This is when I realized how priviledged I was right this moment. And furthermore, being well-paid to do it! Alone among those some 18,000 empty seats, I was under the impression of attending a private concert."

"At about 19:50, for about 20 minutes now, ultra-friendly personificator André-Philippe Gagnon had been on stage to do the first part, which was absolutely extraordinary! Andrée heated the audience for about 45 minutes with his performance.
Now, let's go back to the Target. Since it was my «maiden» attendance among Céline's team, I felt as excited to see her as the other 18,000 fans all around. But, being also priviledged as I was, it was fun to be able to see her get into what she called her «dog house», road casing number 555, 5 being a lucky number for both the Diva and René. It was also very touching to witness the ritual happening every night before the show between Céline and her orchestra, her tumb pressing the others', ending unvariably with Mego (Claude Lemay), her maestro. By then, everything was in place and they rolled the 555 road case under the heart-shaped stage. Only a few more seconds and ..."

20:25, Let's talk about love

"The Target Center falled into the most complete obscurity and gradually, lighting was back, showing off coming from under center stage Lady Céline appearing, splendid. The musicians hit the theme of the Tour, «Let's Talk About Love», saluted by Céline in a sort of military salute, the floor on which they stand being raised to the stage level.

Et voilà! The Stage beast was now ready to offer a non-stop two hour performance; a local choir of children (same thing happening in every city) then joined their idol to sing the refrain, a charming scene. Can you imagine the thoughts of these youngs meeting with Céline? Wow! Moreover, they were able to discuss with her backstage in the afternoon. I bet they had trouble finding their sleep that night!"

22:50, let's put back!

"Encore song had just ended. I'm perspiring with nerveousness; my truck was already parked in the loading area, waiting for my first loading.
I did try to remember HOW things were loaded this morning but I just couldn't be sure! From the time Céline put down her mike, only 6 minutes would go by before I started to receive the audio equipment, pushed at an awful pace by the local crew of technicians. And they wouldn't come one by one, but all at once. This was so nerve recking! Of course, in a production venture like this one, every single minute is worth a fortune. Knowing this, I had already realized that if I didn't stand the beat I would find out soon enough! So here they were - one like this, an other loaded like this, I thought. Do not panic!

Having positionned 4 rows of equipment so far, I secured them just to find out that I made a mistake in the first row! Getting on the equipment, I corrected my error with some difficulty, working as fast as I could, finally securing all the load, closing and locking up the back doors. I got into my truck, drove out of the loading dock to let my colleague move on and just then could I breathe a little bit more. Believe or not, but all this happened in less than 10 minutes! Which is long for the producers. And no help was available during this time, since all the crew worked exactly the same pace at its tasks. I learned the right way, fast and simple! "

23:15, 600 kilometers separated me from my next destination and I had to get there by 6:30 in the morning. Another date with 18,500 fans."



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