duty trying to cope with clogged traffic that fills the streets for blocks around. Ticket touts mingle surreptitiously with the arriving hordes, offering ridiculous prices for even the cheapest seats. They are not to be disappointed.
At the stage door, Basie band members begin to arrive, digging into pockets or instrument cases for the entry passes that were distributed during afternoon rehearsal. Once inside they trudge toward designated dressing rooms, stopped frequently by what seems like an army of security persons who peer at the passes with undisguised suspicion, anxious to come upon some poor unfortunate bearing the wrong credentials who can then be ejected unceremoniously.
The band accepts this backstage paranoia with disinterest, for they have worked far too often with Sinatra to be concerned with the excessive zeal of those charged with carrying out his wishes. However, one senior band member does have an immediate concern of some moment.
Trombonist Bill Hughes has been trying throughout the day to find a ticket for his wife. Now, with about twenty minutes or so left, and having explored every conceivable avenue to no avail, Hughes, in heated tones, is telling a member of Basie’s management that he can’t even arrange for his wife to be allowed into the backstage area. While it is true that a Sinatra contract contains a clause forbidding anyone to be backstage without express permission from Sinatra himself, Hughes is angry that an exception can’t be made on behalfofan active participant in the event.
Realising there is only one person who can resolve the problem, and though acknowledging that to go anywhere near Sinatra just before a performance may be asking for trouble, Hughes talks his way past several minions and finally finds himselfoutside Sinatra‘s dressing room. A large gentleman almost as broad as the door he guards desires to know exactly what it is that Hughes wants?
After several minutes of waiting, he is ushered into the inner sanctum and greeted warmly. Upon explaining the situation, word is sent down to the stage door to bring Mrs Hughes in; moreover, due apologies are to be offered, and she is to be escorted to a seat in the front row. That done, Hughes and Sinatra shake hands. The impossible, in this context, has been achieved with the minimum of fuss. It can be said that for the veteran trombone player, and indeed for those two ladies from Texas, Francis Albert chose to do it their way.
Frank Sinatra and Orchestra will be in concert at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow on Tue IOJuly.
The List 29Junc— 12 July 19907