The Local Roadie Club :cool:

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.

Dan.
 
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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.

Set list:

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)

Encore:
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.

Dan.
 
Been There, Done That.......

Hi Chris.
My years touring with Yes were almost too well rehearsed and prepared.
Some interesting history there I expect ;).

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.
Yup, have done statewide pub venue tours....two hours sleep, and then try to get more sleep in the bus on the way to the next show.....exhausting :yawn:

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.

Add 250v local supply :eek:.

(and that Hammond organs give even more interesting problems)…
Even some live recordings.

Do tell. :eek:

Dan.
 
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).

Regards, Dan.
 
My touring days were in the late 1960s and early 70s. Not so big names as the above stories, though I did mix sound for Gary US Bonds one time. Is that a big name? Har.

We always had in jokes. The problem with in jokes is they usually only amuse the ins. But in one band we used to do Filling Me Softly with his Song, the Roberta Flack number. We often introduced it as and sometimes even sang it as "Filling me softly with his dong. No one ever noticed.


They say no one should ever see how they make sausages and laws. Same thing for music. I think the last thing stereophiles want to see is how music is made. All those notions of pristine accurate reproduction of the stage environment, blah blah, would be shattered when they see all the massaging that is done during the recording process and on stage.
 
In '76 Yes had an impressively big rig - 4 semis and a three ton - and the tour was night after night.
That is still a decent size show.....add locally hired trussing, staging, lighting and PA system on many of the shows I usually work on.

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.

Neil Young and Guns'n'Roses did two day rehearsals here before starting their Aus tours.
Nothing too drastic...Gunners was backline setup in a local theatre, Neil Young was a full concert setup and shakedown at one venue before packing the whole lot up and resetting at the concert venue.

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.
Same, same, backline cases are still done with colour coding/numbering.
I don't see looms too often, but for KB section is not uncommon.

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.

Yeah, I hear that Unions have screwed US live show industry.
There is none of that here, road crew guys just pick a bunch of locals for each of different sections....staging, lighting, backline, audio etc, and when one section is complete we jump on in with another section.
Works well, and us guys get to see all sections of the build.
Yank road crews seem pretty happy with it too.

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 road crews usually know exactly what gets backed where and load outs go like clockwork......but not always, lol.

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).

Yup, until you have been on tour, don't expect to have any real idea of what is practical, or what the gear gets subject to !.

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.

Yeah, the shows that come here have usually been travelling for months and have everything sorted....that said, some shows start new tours here in Perth.

See? I knew you shouldn't have set me off.

"Sorry about that" ;) .... and thanks for your entertaining recollections.

Dan.
 
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.

Had a similar problem recently....an online UPS was specified to provide 60Hz power. My smart phone came in handy to download the user guide so we could set it up correctly. Your Crown amp solution is a winner, you would have been famous/hero after that one !
I had to help a local major nightclub venue tech recently. During afternoon sound checking, it was revealed that one mid was dead in each of the side of stage PA hangs, and constant buzz out of a speaker in another hang.....and the tour manger was NOT happy about it !.
Two way radios and cleaning connectors in the installed amp rack cured the buzz, dropping the hangs and swapping out cabinets got the tour manager happy.

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.

The audio operators I meet all seem to know what they have and how to use it.

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).
As far as I know all these things are sorted nowadays, but not always !.

Dan.
 
My touring days were in the late 1960s and early 70s. Not so big names as the above stories, though I did mix sound for Gary US Bonds one time. Is that a big name? Har.
Gary who ????, lol.

We always had in jokes. The problem with in jokes is they usually only amuse the ins. But in one band we used to do Filling Me Softly with his Song, the Roberta Flack number. We often introduced it as and sometimes even sang it as "Filling me softly with his dong. No one ever noticed
Haha, yes I have seen/heard 'Work all day' changed to 'Wank all day'....same deal nobody seemed to notice !.

They say no one should ever see how they make sausages and laws. Same thing for music. I think the last thing stereophiles want to see is how music is made. All those notions of pristine accurate reproduction of the stage environment, blah blah, would be shattered when they see all the massaging that is done during the recording process and on stage.

Yep, audio cables laid on lighting cables laid on power cables etc.....most listeners would be horrified !.....sort of a wonder that FOH sound is as good as it is (usually)!.

Dan.
 
Black Sabbath Last Stand....

I worked the local Black Sabbath show last night, truss spot one position, downstage truss, stage left, out over the audience and perfect bird's eye view of the whole stage, and on Ozzie all night.
Bass and guitar each had eight quad boxes, and the drummer has a huge kit.

The best directions I have ever had from an LD "Guys this will be the easiest show you have ever done. When the band come on, just keep your light on your musician until shows end. I will not be giving any directions and all talkback mics will be off during the whole show.....it's just too hard with a loud metal show like this. Ok guys, enjoy your show".

And that was it, the band came on, Ozzie appeared center stage and they got into it.
The LD was right....Ozzie spent pretty much the whole show leaning (supporting himself ?) on his mic stand, with the occasional shuffle to far stage left or far stage right....he doesn't move too fast so that makes the follow spot ops job easier !.

One thing I have not seen before is using Martin (Varilight copies) modified by adding an extension handle as the follow spots.
This idea worked REALLY well....perfectly smooth bearings, nicely balanced lamp head and cool running made this job a snack.
Also the LD had control over dimming and colour changes which allows creativity without having to use the talkback system.....a big winner !.

Anyway, the lighting was basic but good, the sound was great, ace guitarist, ace bass player and bezerk drummer....that guy is fit !, the crowd was happy and we all got to hear a few metal anthems from yesteryear !.

Good show, and then two hour load out (5 semis), the yank road crews love us here.

One more ticked off the bucket list !.

Dan.
 
Is it just me or do the US production riders often massively overstate the crewing reuirements?

Not that I object, it makes for a very easy day, but I occasionally see things like 6 sound, 4 ligts, 2 fly, 6 carpenters... For what is essentially a one semi minitour?

18 crew unloading one truck is just silly, and most of the UK guys will turn their hands to whatever needs doing, so those shows tend to fly in and out in a matter of hours.

Is it some sort of American union demarcation thing or something.

Regards, Dan.
 
The big thing on that tour in '76 was the multi watt CO2 laser. At the time that band was very *hot*, headlining stadiums here in the USA. Thing is a multi watt CO2 laser packs a *lot* of energy... it was water cooled with big hoses. The lead singer shot the thing off from a fiber optic bracelet on his wrist. Very dramatic... hit a very big mirrored ball... tremendous actually. FDA got wind of it and shut it down subsequently...

_-_-bear
 
Verboten SOTA Tech...

The big thing on that tour in '76 was the multi watt CO2 laser....
I worked at Brisbane World expo 88.....my intro to the entertainment industry.
One day, being a techie, I poked my nose into an open tech room with Varilights in various states of disassembly on the benches.
After 5 minutes or so of studying these things, the Varilight factory tech came back into his room and hurriedly shooed me out of his domain.
Apparently these were top secret at the time, and no unauthorised persons should see their internals !.
Nowadays Varilights are really seen, with Martin moving lights seemingly everywhere, road and installed.

Dan.