Just thought I might share an experience with you guys. This was a few years back and I originally posted it on TBL, but I thought it might be appreciated here. ---------- THE FOLLOWING IS COMPLETELY TRUE The company I work for, "Legends in Concert", was commissioned to bring their show to Beirut in December 1997. This, apparently, was to be the first show from the west since the civil war. We were brought over (a cast of 21: dancers, acts, musicians, etc.) for a 3 week run. When we reached Lebanon, we were treated like royalty; armed guards and TV crews, 5-star hotel, the works. AS IT TURNS OUT, the show was placed in am old theatre on the Muslim side of town. This is a problem for 2 reasons 1) The Muslims (in general) weren't interested in this type of show, 2) The Christians (in general) wouldn't go to the Muslim side to see such a show. It was in an area known as the "green zone" With no real monitor system, a bass amp (among other things) must be rented at a rate of $3,000 FOR 3 WEEKS!! -wait, there's more. Opening night, packed house (all comps tho); the US ambassador (who came to see the show) says to our light tech "...you were VERY BRAVE to come here." Well, a rocky start, but I'm sure it'll be fine... 2nd night, there are 7 PEOPLE in the house (capacity about 1,500). Not good. 3rd night ZERO PEOPLE. None, nada , zip! Show is basically done. The promoter starts to get a little zany, as he has PREPAID for the show (about $500,000). The armed security that had been escorting us around town is discontinued. Things start to get tense. The promoter starts to suggest that the show be cancelled, and, of course, that HE GET HIS MONEY BACK. He starts to make veiled threats that he "...might not be ABLE to let us go if he doesn't get his money back." Needless to say, everything (salaries, plane tickets, freight, etc.) has ALREADY BEEN PAID by Legends- he ain't gettin' no money back. AS IT TURNS OUT the consulate is holding our passports; the promoter had to post a sizeable bond to bring us into the country. There is a General at the consulate (who just happens to be a friend of the promoter) who must stamp our passports for us to leave the country. We now CANNOT LEAVE UNLESS THE PROMOTER WILL ALLOW US TO!! -wait, there's still more. The US embassy says that they can't really do a whole lot unless we are actually threatened. Meanwhile, in a drunken rage one night in the hotel (we had to stay in practically the whole time- we were told it was UNSAFE to go outside), the promoter exclaims: ".. I OWN you people!! You will perform in my LIVING ROOM, if I say so!" -not lookin' good. Unbeknownst to us at the time, one of his goons has called the company in Vegas, claiming that we were now the prisoners of Hezbola (sp?), and we would not be freed until he received his money. THIS sets the American embassy in motion. They arrive in the next morning (we were told that night, be ready to go with 5 minutes warning with a dozen armored bullet-proof suburbans, Lebanese mercenaries, and a lot of guns. We are FORCIBLY EXTRACTED from the hotel (while the promoter's goons try to stop us), taken to another hotel on the other side of town; there is not enough room for us to stay at the embassy. AS IT TURNS OUT, THERE ARE NO FLIGHTS AVAILABLE FOR 2 DAYS. Also, the airport is what the military calls a "Hot Spot", which meant it was dangerous enough that the ambassador (with a dozen armed guards) doesn't use it. We are what is know in the military as a "soft target" We are put up in a hotel with mercs and Lebanese army guarding every floor and entrance for 2 days. Turns out the promoter is a quasi-mafia figure. We are escorted to the airport under armed guard again. In transit, one of the embassy guys, Ramzi (his real name), says: "...uh, look. Probably nothing will happen, but if you hear shots being fired, get down underneath those bullet-proof vests on the floorboard." Traffic is stopped by armed guards as we speed through downtown Beirut. Incidentally, our suburban had a turret mounted on the top; much like a tail-gunner on a military plane. Eventually, we arrive at the airport, escorted by Ziad, a Lebanese merc working for the embassy, carrying a CONCEALED WEAPON in the airport, (who, incidentally, the Sergeant at the embassy said of "..if I need someone TAKEN CARE OF, I'll use Ziad.") who says "..if you hear any shooting, get down, and I will handle it". We are supposed to keep a low profile at the airport, so naturally the girl playing Tina Turner decides it would be cool to buy a DAGGER as a keepsake at the gift shop and try to take it on the plane with her. This attracted a lot of attention. We fortunately leave without incident, and arrive home safely. Whaddayathink...all-time gig from hell? I got a pic of all of us at the embassy which I'll post if anyone wnats to see it. Again, I have not fabricated ANY of this. Oh, I forgo the part about our hotel room with a toilet that overflowed EVERY DAY, spilling sh*t all over our bathroom floor EVERY DAY. -also true.