Life on Tour with Coldplay, Lady Gaga, and The Great Wheat Thins Caper

Touring cinematograher Patrick Dolan has spent his career on the road with some of music's biggest acts. He shares his behind-the-scenes stories and why you should always guard your Wheat Thins.

Patrick Dolan is a cinematograher who has spent years on the road as a video engineer with recording artists like Coldplay, Lady Gaga, The Roling Stones, and many more. In a recent interview, Dolan discussed life on the road and how he got his start in film and video. He also shared a few of his personal experiences and a side of recording artists only the crew gets to see. Below are excerpts from the full interiew that will appear on Get In Media next week. 

Coldplay Takes Scraps

Patrick Dolan: The Coldplay guys are super cool. For example, on tour the production team works a long day and then loads the equipment back onto the truck. The production guys shower at the venue and then get into the tour bus with 11 other stinky guys. You do it over and over again for six or seven days in a row. By the time the band comes in for a one-day gig, we’re all tired, grumpy, sweaty, and mad at each other. But when the band arrives, everyone steps back and says, “Hey, it’s Chris Martin and the guys. We better let them go eat.” But this band had a different approach. They say, “You guys go eat. You’ve been working your asses off. Go ahead and eat. We’ll take the scraps.” I’ve never worked with a band that was courteous and appreciative. You would never know they are rich. They are so polite and very cool people. I respect them a lot.

Arcade Fire Plays Dress Up

PD: With Jimmy Buffet, you drink a margarita and have a good time. Arcade Fire is a young band and they are very particular about everything, down to what we wear! They wanted us to wear these weird black burqas and put white baby powder on our shoulders. We were supposed to look like scary ghosts. The lead singer said, “Oh, put on these outfits. You’ll look like the Scream character.” So, suddenly you have a client telling you what to wear and your thinking, “Oh, well, this is weird, but I’ll get paid to do it.”

Hotel Party with Lady Gaga

PD: In early 2009 we were on the road with her. This was months before she became really famous. The tour enabled her to promote her first album. About six months later, she hit the big time. When we worked with her, she was doing little clubs, mainly on the east coast. We were in New York City a lot. We’d have a show at 9 p.m. By 10 p.m., we’d load out, quickly carry the equipment down 10 flights of stairs, go to Starbucks, get some pizza, set up, and wait for the next show at midnight, which was usually in another building or on an upper floor. We’d move the equipment from one location to another location everyday. But after the late show, she’d invite everyone back to her room for a fun party. On tour, we partied, which seemed like every night. 30 or 40 people would show up. We did two gigs with her every night, and then did it all over again the next day. Back then her boyfriend at the time would assist with pushing cases to the truck. I’ve never seen anyone work harder than she did.

Barbara Streisand Steals Wheat Thins

PD: Barbara Streisand would steal my Wheat Thins every night and never give them back! And she never asked, which was upsetting me. At the end of the night, she would take off her glasses and walk around the stage with her little posse. I’d see her turn around and take my Wheat Thins, which were inside my pouch, which was resting on a table. And then she’d take off with the box! The next night, the guys and I superglued the Wheat Thins box inside my pouch and then glued the pouch to the table. When she came by, she tried to pull out the Wheat Thins, but instead she pulled the table! Believe it or not, she never took my Wheat Thins again!

Mariah Carey and the Potty Dance

PD: I have to admit that Mariah Carey was a bit of a diva. One afternoon in Los Angeles, she wouldn’t let the production crew go to the bathroom! We were on camera for four or five hours at a rehearsal during setup day. Her manager says, “They’ll go the bathroom when I go to the bathroom.”

Nicole Pajer contributed reporting to this story. 

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