Setting Up Concerts And The Heroes Who Work On Them

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There are many ways to see a band but one of the most spectacular is to see them live in concerts. However, not many know what happens behind the scenes in order to put the show on in the first place.

Beginning at around six in the morning, the crew arrive, ready to start the process of setting up the set and stage for the show. The riggers, specialized members of the crew, climb high into the ceiling in order to place the points for the motors to hang upon. These points, made from steel rope and connectors called shackles, will keep the entire rig in place once the lighting is ready to be lifted later on.

The crew that remained on the ground will then unload the trucks. Packed tightly, they carry all that is possibly needed for the entire tour. All the lighting equipment, to dressing room needs, the instruments and the speakers. The faster all is unloaded, the quicker the show is ready to go. The crew are always aware of how much time there is and work hard to get it all done in a timely fashion. This is why most of the show will actually be set up by the time the last case rolls off the trucks.

Heavy truss is rolled off the truck and linked together to make an intricate network overhead that supports all the lighting, cables and video screens necessary to make the show run smoothly. It is amazing just how much cable it takes to make everything work, boxes and boxes are rolled off the trucks and into the concert space. From the main power feed, which is made of five heavy duty cables, right to the thin delicate strands that send the computer signals that make moving light spin and change colour, each cable is clearly labelled and has its own home in the rig.

Finally, the instruments are ready to be put into place. This happens pretty much right after the lighting truss has been lifted into position on the motors that were hung earlier in the day. The Backline, as the instruments and their equipment is called, is usually the last part of the equipment to be set up.

The crew remains until everything has been tested to ensure that it works properly. The few who will be running the show during the performance itself, will return early in the evening, just before the show. The rest of them will be called back later in the night.

Towards the end of the performance, the entire crew will assemble backstage, ready to jump into action the moment the show is finished and the performers have been escorted to their dressing rooms. The crew is normally set into departments so that everyone has adequate help to strike the gear. Those who are responsible for the backline will hurry up the ramps to the stage as soon as possible. Once they've finished this task they will become Pushers, who take care of moving filled cases back to the trucks again.

The show comes apart as fast as possible. It is taken apart and put away. Cables are sorted back into their cases while the riggers are busy overhead removing the points that they placed earlier that day. Each motor is lowered back into it's case carefully to prevent accidents.

Arriving early in the day, hours before the performers or audience is even close to the venue, the hands, or crew, are the hidden heroes of every concert. By the time they finish putting the entire rig away again, it will be the early hours of the next morning.

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