So usually I would have two separate posts for the review of Monday and Tuesday on the road. I am not even going to go through the effort because I think the two days were almost identical in the overall experience.
Now I had intentionally laid low over the weekend because I was fighting the cold and did not want to jeapordise my chances for hitting the streets. Monday morning I was still a bit drugged up but most excited for the days activities. This was clearly reflected in my Monday wear which comprised of a full kit with ,matching boots and all. As per usual my crew was running late and had to haul tail to catch the band on Park street. Although the weather was a bit inclement it was holding up nicely and the sun was blazing nonetheless. It was quite obvious from the get go that Tribe had not cut their numbers and there were a million people in the band. However we still seemed to be making a good pace along the roads.
I was glad that the DJS gave the crowd the opportunity to 'vote' for their Road March prior to crossing the stage at the Savannah. This resulted in Destra's Bacchanal being played as opposed to Faye Ann's song. I personally feel Destra's composition is by far a better road march composition than Faye Ann and was too glad that I did not have to hear Faye Ann all day. It should be noted that Tribe is a very ugly band to look at on Carnival Monday and Tuesday (pm). If you are a tourist, this is not the band to watch costumes, its the band to party. I personally think women could at least make a better effort with their Monday wear. You don't have to wear your costume but oh gosh man, a extra hot shorts is $60 from Tribe and looks much better than a pair of denim shorts and a wife beater tank top. At the very least try and get a colour that matches your section! I made a point to bling out both days , hopefully I can try and set a new standard for Monday wear. I know Saucy was not easy herself either on Monday. There were actually some entire sections that were MIA on Monday e.g Golden Dove, Owl. I literally saw not more than 2 people for each of those sections on Monday.
I applaud Tribe for their organisation on the road and for the lunch stop. However I think its time they realise that they definitely need to provide more tents and blankets for lunch. They should just get that big tent they use for the Indian Expo in Macoya and put everything under there and give we some cold breeze. I guarantee you no one likes to sit in blazing sun or pouring rain to eat lunch. One gripe I have with them is that in the 5 years that I have been in Tribe they still seem to have the SAME number of bathrooms every year.Now I could be wrong but what I do know is that the LINES never seem to improve from year to year. And aside, ladies if you have to pee you need to start stripoing from outside the bathroom in the line and waistbands get put back on outside the bathroom. They have a full length mirrors outside to fix make up and freshen up. That is not for inside a stall. The lunch stop Monday was also waaaaay too long and my 'International food' which consisted of corn pie, spanish rice and baked chicken was way to dry.
After lunch Monday was just a huge mass of people following behind a truck. The security actually seemed to be making a great effort to keep non masqueraders out of the band. That is of course with the exception of the gentleman who was holding the rope and wining on me at the same time.When I asked if he was not working , he told me that was his wuk too. It was then I noticed that security no longer had numbered T shirts which make it impossible to identify individuals. It wa also difficult to pick out security supervisors.
I definitely was not too impressed when we bent the corner on Tragarete road and I realised we were heading straight back to Stanmore Ave to wrap up the day. It was still daylight at this point and was probaly just barely 6pm. Never in my entire 13 years playing mas have I ever wrapped up so early from playing mas. Being that I was not feeling 100% I was cool about it and figured that the next day would be more eextended.I would have been much happier if theyhad made a little block and come back again.
Tuesday I reached the band a bit later than usual. I actually had to take the shuttle for the first time ever and must say it was well done.Breakfast was still serving when I arrived so I was happy with that as well. It was nice to see that people were actually in their sections but it was early still. Shortly therefafter Tribe security pissed me off. I had a visiting friend who has played with us for the past 3 years who is unfamiliar with Trinidad. While getting ready to cross the stage a security personnnel grabbed her and began to pull her out the section and told her to get in her section. She had to tell him to take his hands of of her and tried to come back to us to tell us what he had said. Firstly, Tribe is not competing for anything, they werenot even registered for competition. When they were, they never made a big deal about being in your section especially as we always stay to the sides and not in the middle. So of course we were all annoyed by the rudeness and the physicality of it all.Before she could even take the two steps to tell us that she would meet us lower down after the 'stage' another security personnel accosted her again. She again was forced into a physical and verbal confrontation and ultimately chose to walk further down to meet us on the 'stage'. This was absolutely uncalled for especially considering Tribe could not possiblyhave won anything or lost points for it.
My headpiece was thrown on a truck shortly thereafter because it was just too hot. How ironic it was that it would begin pouring rain before we even made it around the savannah.I was absolutely soaked in no time and it looked like it would not be letting up for the rest of the day. Fortunately I have a friend who lived close by and was able to freshen up and change into my 3rd pair of stockings during lunch. By the time we got back to the band, there were congregating on Elizabeth St. I made the mistake and leave my friends for a moment and it was impossible to find them back in the jam. I had to climb a wall to make myself visible for them to find me .In doing so I sw lots of costumes from different bands. The majority of which came from Elements.(I not talking about the Elements people in Tribe costumes eh , that is for a next day).
In my humble opinion it was at this point where it began to go downhill in terms of the 'Tribe experience'. My section happened to be with Hypa Hoppa's truck. This truck was in the middle of the Red 96.7 truck and the Xcaliber truck. So basically the entire band was trying to monopolize teh space between these three trucks in the middle. It was impossible to move freely far less dance freely. It was even harder to breathe as the quality of the air was renk.Drinks was a fight up as well. I am quite sure that the drinks truck grew once again. Some of them were extremely tall and I saw several people with difficulties getting drinks. One guy who was taller than me came up behind me and ordered over my head and got his drink first. Then I realised we were taking the same route as Monday...umm so what happen to St.James?It move?
Then we had the people who in the jam insisted on travelling through the band in the opposite direction . If you wish to do that, just pass on the sides!! Especially if you still have on a headpiece. On that note, if you feathered headpiece is soaked and it looks like a skeleton on your head its time to THROW IT AWAY. It cannot be saved!!! These same said people are the ones who want to be carrying on the baddest and stabbing people at the same time. By the time we were on Ariapita Ave, Hoppy was pleading for people to get in their section and quickly realised the futility of it all. He eventually resorted to telling the judges it is 'One Tribe so we refuse to get in our section". The crowd was beginning to get unbearable at this point and the worst thing about it is that they were only masqueraders around me. I can't say there were many stormers. That tells me that Tribe just has too many people period. Everybody can't be in the Tribe, there has to be some cut off point at some time people please!! A trip to the bar became an excursion and you were never sure to find back your crew even if you all went together. And then a bar lady has the audacity to tell me 'one drink per person' after I have to fight thru 10 000 ppl ???NAH!
So said so done, it was just a pass by Victoria square and we were back on Stanmore and party done. AT exactly 6:40pm we were back on Stanmore Ave. In my entire life I have NEVER finished a parade route so early. Given that they had an 'after party' which I did not even attend because nobody TOLD ME that was the plan. But I would still have preferred more time on the road actually moving.
In all I still enjoyed myself on the road because I am obsessed with Carnival and being on the road in costume is half the battle. Better yet since I was able to jump in more than one section this year. If it was not for that, this Carnival will be very low down on my list of 'bess Carnivals'. When I first registered I was so relieved that Tribe was making an effort to reduce numbers after listening to their masqueraders complaints from last year. Whatever their good intentions were it was clearly not followed through. Right now I feel like a Poison Deja Vu. That should be their theme for next year 'Deja Vu'. Because the outrageous size followed by the addition of Machel is very reminiscent of the downfall of Poison.Honestly if this was your first year on the road with Tribe, you eh get the 'Tribe experience' yet. MY Tribe experience involved no waiting or fighting up with drinks, no suffocating masses of people, no men (masqueraders or otherwise) accosting me for a wine and all the room in the world to play my mas. As it is I need protection from people in the band because they don't give you a chance!!! If you can irritate a die hard masquerader as myself Tribe then clearly changes need to be made. I love and applaud your organisation, your stellar customer service, your gorgeous costumes but all of that becomes NULL AND VOID if when we reach on the road your masqueraders are uncomfortable.
In all fairness I did hear rumours of bootleg id bands being sold for IP and Tribe at $600 a pop which could explain why there were so many more people in the band on Tuesday without costumes. I noticed this on the road before I heard this speculation but could not notice any difference in the bands that I sw in un-costumed people. How anybody could pay money and come out in regular clothes on a Tuesday is beyond me!!
I tell myself I playing individual next year. But I saw how even the individuals and the FL masqueraders had an impossible time making their way down the road. Why the hell would I want to go through that? I hope they had friends to get them drinks cause that would have been a lost cause. I was not suprised when I heard some people left Tribe and went by Spice etc just to get relief from the jam. There will undoubtedly be many people who dont care either way and jam or no jam they paying their money just for the 'Prestige' of being 'in with the in crowd' in Tribe. Tribe, I just letting you guys know, a lot of your foundation crew are hating it more and more. My carnival crew has been with you from since Pleasures days and left the band early! Something that is completely unheard of in our circle and has NEVER happened in 13 years even with Poison. I myself hardly even drank alcohol just because it was a nuisance to get it.You guys desperately need to get things back under control!!
For all who played this year and who have never played and still want the Tribe experience, is better you try the Spice experience or the Elements experience (God spare them all) because at this point the Tribe experience , at least when it comes to the Tribe road experience,has been lost!!