The Local Roadie Club.....
This is a shout out to DIYaudio members who do live production/crewing.
Please feel free to submit your experiences/reviews of shows that you have worked....might be good info for the stereophiles here who have never been backstage or have seen the equipment and logistics that go into big event live shows !.
Photos, sound snippets, anecdotes ought to be fun contributions.
Black Sabbath - Perth 04-05-2013
So for starters, I am working as truss follow spot operator on the Perth, West Australia Black Sabbath show tomorrow night, and then do the load out....just normal local roadie stuff, another band/performer ticked off the bucket list !. :cool:
These guys are in their mid sixties....Ozzy Osbourne, totally cooked nutcase is the lead singer...last chance to see the band live/alive I expect !.
The last time they were here was 1972....reviews of other Aus shows have been good, I'll see what they are like from above stage.
The last song in their playlist, Paranoid is the one I want to hear live, also Iron man.... metal anthems lol.
1. War Pigs (Paranoid, 1970)
2. Into the Void (Master Of Reality, 1971)
3. Under the Sun (Vol. 4, 1972)
4. Snowblind (Vol. 4, 1972)
5. Electric Funeral (Paranoid, 1970)
6. Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath, 1970)
7. Behind the Wall of Sleep (Black Sabbath, 1970)
8. N.I.B. (Black Sabbath, 1970)
9. End of the Beginning (13, 2013)
10. Fairies Wear Boots (Paranoid, 1970)
11. Symptom of the Universe (Sabotage, 1975)
12. Drum Solo
13. Iron Man (Paranoid, 1970)
14. God Is Dead? (13, 2013)
15. Dirty Women (Technical Ecstasy, 1976)
16. Children of the Grave (Master Of Reality, 1971)
17. Paranoid (Paranoid, 1970)
My years touring with Yes were almost too well rehearsed and prepared. Still, if you're going to be playing night after night, with about four hours sleep a night (+ what you grab in the plane) it's better if you can do the rig in your sleep.
More interesting have been festivals where American artists have turned up not knowing the difference between 115 volts and 230, nor knowing that power transformers heat up considerably more on 50 Hz than 60. (and that Hammond organs give even more interesting problems)…
Even some live recordings.
Between Song Banter...
Yup, when you have seen the same show more than once, the banter and jokes between songs are not quite so funny anymore !.
Fun stuff is when the band do things that are unusual, or little private joke variations in songs between the band musos.
A local blues/rock band that I know and cherish excel at throwing in little wild cards here and there...makes the shows fun for audience and band alike.
Probably most audiences have no idea of the tightness of the production schedule and time limitations and curfews that are set down long before the performance.
Been There, Done That.......
I did road work in prehistoric times - the 70s.
Most of it was crazed, mania, and horrific often boring beyond belief, full of massive screw ups, and the like.
I will claim credit for the first ever stage set up connected entirely by color coded cables and chassis (no thought involved doing set up).
perls To Swines.....
Yeah, well screw that... I was universally despised by the other guys on the crew, since I was "new" and they gave me about 2/3 of the stage to do, including the keyboards figuring I'd barf it up and drown... which the previous guy had. It was a massive rats nest of cables.
Tried it their way once. Bought some colored electrical tape and a scissor. Took my 2/3 side down to 1/3 of the time to set up as their 1/3... pizzed them orf badly.
Big advantage was that during a show if a cable went south - and they did - I could just pull one end and then find the other by color, BAMM! Done.
Well anyhow that was then...
In '76 Yes had an impressively big rig - 4 semis and a three ton - and the tour was night after night. So we did rehearsals and sound checks two weeks before the first gig, setting up everything – PA, back line, lights ceiling, Dean machine (he wanted everything but the musicians concealed behind semi-organic scenery; by the end of the rehearsals half of it had been rejected as 'impracticable' and stayed behind in darkest Pennsylvania (Claire territory, Amish country. I swear I was so jet lagged I was getting up at the same cow-milking hour as them), risers, laser, 35mm film projector… what have I forgotten? We didn't have the kitchen sink, but I could probably have built one. Flight cases were colour coded by musician, numbered and contents listed. Moraz had 24 keyboards with him, I had built a keyboard loom containing all power cables, signal cables and control cables, all numbered and coded. Even the total Wallies in the Union crew in Cleveland, who started by insisting that as non-members we had not the right to touch a cable (and one of them attempted to insist nor tune a guitar, before his chief took him to one side to explain the facts of life, and quite possibly the temporariness of it if he went on like that), managed to screw up the plugging.
We ripped down the entire system five times during the rehearsals, wound down all the cables, loaded everything into the trucks, marked how to load it so that the right things come off first, but heavy things were still at the bottom, then unloaded it and set it up again. The rotating drum riser was practically rebuilt so it couldn't tangle its multiway cable, overhead drum wedges got spring mounted so they wouldn't shake the filaments of the PARs apart quite so fast, various other mods were made (especially a hard bypass switch for Chris Squire's effects; the matrix system had been build for him by someone who had never toured, and I must have had to half rebuild it five times over the tour).
So when the trucks pulled out for Roanoke, Virginia, we all knew exactly what needed doing, and if somebody had died there and then the show would have gone on.
See? I knew you shouldn't have set me off.
Speaking of hammonds I have a little tale on that subject.
So, at the time I am house tech at a London venue, and one of the local promoters has himself a little international tour date booked in, US band, no biggie.
Anyway, band rider mentions a hammond and needing 120V, no problem thinks me, hire a suitable transformer, job done.
Band turns up and it swiftly becomes apparent that what was not mentioned on the rider is that this bloody hammond is a tone wheel jobbie with a syncronous motor and plays decidedly flat when run off 50Hz.....
Nowhere did the rider say anything about needing 60Hz power, just 120V!
Lateral thinking is applied, a rather large crown PA amp is procured together with an audio frequency signal generator, amp in bridge mode, american mains socket bodged to output and signal generator set to 60Hz, band were looking a little dubious, but it got the gig up on time.
On the subject of production riders:
If you are touring your own sound engineer and they insist on a Digico with a whole pile of XTA outboard, and if your tour manager insists then that is what will be hired, it does not mean that I have a clue how to use it......
If your 'sound engineer' then turns out to be nothing more useful then the lead guitarists "special boyfriend", who has not a clue but put the gear list together from reading major band riders, then I will laugh but will still not have a clue how to drive that gear, the tour manager (and accountant) will however get to hear the story.
Finally, please, an accurate rider, with stage plan and tour manager contact details that work is a good and happy making thing, even more so if it relates to this years tour and not the one two years ago before you gained the second keyboard player, 6 backing vocals and the drummer added 4 extra china cymbals and started singing lead on a few numbers (Grumble).
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