The Load-Out

Album: Running on Empty (1977)
Charted: 20
  • Now the seats are all empty
    Let the roadies take the stage
    Pack it up and tear it down
    They're the first to come and last to leave
    Working for that minimum wage
    They'll set it up in another town
    Tonight the people were so fine
    They waited there in line
    And when they got up on their feet they made the show
    And that was sweet,
    But I can hear the sound
    Of slamming doors and folding chairs
    And that's a sound they'll never know

    Now roll them cases out and lift them amps
    Haul them trusses down and ge t'em up them ramps
    'Cause when it comes to moving me
    You know you guys are the champs
    But when that last guitar's been packed away
    You know that I still want to play
    So just make sure you got it all set to go
    Before you come for my piano

    But the band's on the bus
    And they're waiting to go
    We've got to drive all night and do a show in Chicago
    Or Detroit, I don't know
    We do so many shows in a row
    And these towns all look the same
    We just pass the time in our hotel rooms
    And wander 'round backstage
    Till those lights come up and we hear that crowd
    And we remember why we came

    Now we got country and western on the bus
    R&B, we got disco in eight tracks and cassettes in stereo
    We've got rural scenes and magazines
    And We've got truckers on the cb
    We've got Richard Pryor on the video
    We got time to think of the ones we love
    While the miles roll away
    But the only time that seems too short
    Is the time that we get to play

    People you've got the power over what we do
    You can sit there and wait
    Or you can pull us through
    Come along, sing the song
    You know you can't go wrong
    'Cause when that morning sun comes beating down
    You're going to wake up in your town
    But we'll be scheduled to appear
    A thousand miles away from here Writer/s: BRYAN GAROFALO, JACKSON BROWNE
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 13

  • Brian Thurgood from CanadaWe played this at my brother's funeral. Very appropriate.
  • Bob from St. LouisCan someone find the album cover and verify it was written at a hotel room in Collinsville IL. a Holiday Inn room 120/119?
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxDan, that's a great story. It must have been magic to have been there and even moreso to later hear it on the radio.
  • Paul from Tacoma, WaIn the 60's and early 70's, many concert promoters hired local companies to do the sound for the travelling acts because of their familiarity with the local venues. As concerts got larger and became more of a "show", large companies like Claire Brothers and Showco pretty much took over doing the sound travelling from venue to venue using local crews only as "helpers" for the grunt work. Although it maintained a continuity in the equipment and core engineers, it put a lot of small local sound companies, like the one i worked for, effectively out of business.
  • Ted from Phoenix, AzAt the time this song came out, most U.S. top-40 radio stations did not play "The Load Out,", preferring to play the song "Stay" instead. Many AOR stations combined the two songs and played them as one long song. In my hometown of Phoenix, AZ, KOOL-FM which back then played a mix of adult top-40 and oldies, combined the two songs and then took out the first few verses--the version heard on that station began with the lyrics, "But the band's on the bus ...."
  • Barry from New York, NcIf I was on a tour bus with Country & Western, Disco and 8-tracks, I'd ask to take another bus!!!
  • Sam from Hipsville, CaMary,AZ------Not only some musicians, but i think the general public can't ever really know just how much is involved for Roadies in setting up and tearing down a band. God Bless 'em ALL! They make each and every show happen.
  • Dan from New Market, MdI was at this live concert at Merriweather Post in Maryland when they recorded it. It was the final "encore" song, when the audience were calling for "one more"! Jackson came out alone and began playing piano... you can hear when the other band members start to make their entrance when the first applause begins part way through the song... it was the best encore I have ever seen!! Amazing concert!!
  • Michelle from Ny, NyA local classic rock radio station by me plays this a lot, I love it.. There is something about it thats just so sentimental.. Its a great song to sing out loud to, especially in the car..
  • Heather from T-boro, NcI LOVE this song, I sing it whenever I hear it.
  • Mary from Phoenix, AzI love this song...I love that Jackson wrote it for all those people. I don't think a lot of musicians realize what their "roadies" really do. And how much work it is, to make sure they have a perfect show.
  • Patrick from Tallapoosa, GaThis is a very moving song. Shows how a lot of performers really enjoy what they do, and wishing they could "stay just a little bit longer" for the fans in each town on their tour. I'm sure a lot of performers get run ragged going from town to town on their tours, and not really getting to meet their fans in a more relaxed, non-professional environment such as local restaurants or shops.
  • Eric from Milltown, InAfter all of the away games at our high school, me and my friends blast this song and sing along. It's the perfect song to listen to while on a "Bell Run."
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