“I’ve done lots of gigs in Mexico, and until now I’ve never had a problem,” says San Diego bassist Jacob Miranda, who was caught up in the border-closure fiasco on November 24.
Miranda’s weekend began with a highlight performance. “We were backing up a young pop sensation named Emiliano, who is from Tijuana, at that huge soccer stadium (Estadio Caliente) last Saturday, opening for some other Mexican pop stars. We did a 20-minute set and there were 8000 people in the audience.”
It was the biggest gig thus far in Miranda’s career. “It was awesome, because everywhere you looked there were people. The gig went really well, despite the fact that we didn’t get much of a soundcheck. We decided to stay the night in Tijuana, so we went back to the hotel after the show. I had two really important gigs back in the United States the next day, so we decided to grab a cab at 11am on Sunday to get a good start, because I had heard the news about the migrant caravan, and I knew there might be an issue.”
He was right, there was an issue. “We tried checking out the San Ysidro border, but we couldn’t get anywhere near it. It was already closed and there were barricades everywhere. Our driver immediately began plotting all the possible routes to the Otay crossing, but every corner we turned, we kept running into more and more cars. Eventually our driver convinced us to get out and join the three-mile line for pedestrians while he attempted to cross into the U.S with our instruments.”
It was to be a long afternoon. “About halfway through the line, the Federales started showing up in those pickup trucks with the machine-guns in the back. They made sure we were standing in a single file line. Our phones were dying, we only had our passports, no cash, no food or water. After almost six hours, we got to the head of the line, only to see that there were only two border agents checking the IDs.”
Before his phone died, Miranda was able to find someone to act as a last-minute substitute for both of his Sunday gigs. He is understandably cautious about future performances in Mexico. “It’s gonna take more money to get us to come back, and we need to negotiate compensation to cover lost time if the border closes again.”