Musician sets world record with almost 10,000 shows

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Musician sets world record with almost 10,000 shows

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In this Dec. 17, photo, Bruce Rickerd, second from right, performs in the show “Mystere” in Las Vegas. On Saturday, a Guinness Book of World Records judge is expected to say Rickerd has broken the record from most theatrical performances by a male musician. [AP/NEWSIS]

LAS VEGAS - It’s easy to miss Bruce Rickerd during the “Mystere” show at the Treasure Island casino especially when there’s a man balancing upside-down on the foot of another, or a giant inflatable snail emerging from the massive moving stage or the gasp-inducing drops from acrobats above.

But he’s there - up high on the right or rather, stage left - playing guitar in just about the same place he’s been for every one of the 10,000 shows come Saturday in the 21-year history of “Mystere” as he and the rest of the band tie the music and sound effects to action on stage.

That’s right. He’s never missed a day of work.

It never occurred to the 62-year-old musician to do otherwise.

“This is not work for me,” he said days before he would be feted Saturday with confetti canons and an onstage finale bow where a Guinness Book of World Records judge is expected to say Rickerd has broken the record for most theatrical performances by a male musician. Granted, it’ll be for having performed in 9,958 shows, still the most, as the record-keeping body continues to pour through timesheets and employee records that might backup Rickerd’s involvement in the remaining 42 shows. Copious stage manager notes from each performance over the years helped to confirm quite a bit, with Rickerd’s name never listed on the “out” list.

The musician is down to earth about his accolade. A member of the show joked that he’s got Cal Ripken Jr., who played a record 2,632 consecutive baseball games for the Baltimore Orioles, beat.

Rickerd said he knows being an athlete or an acrobat on stage each night carries a higher risk of injury.

Anyone looking for a secret to Rickerd’s longevity, including his ability to avoid catching a bug requiring a sick day, or a routine that was a motivational key, won’t get one.

There’s no secret, no routine. Unless you count his regularity to arrive at work and attend the sound check, eat and get his costume on before the show. And he didn’t plan to do anything differently in the days leading up to his record-breaking appearance.

How does he do it then?

“It’s very simple. You show up,” Rickerd said.

When he discovered he had a herniated disc a couple of weeks before the production went dark in January one year, he showed up.

As of Saturday, “Mystere” and Rickerd remain, 21 years later, to celebrate 10,000 shows for both. AP

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