Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Cars and vans collect us and drop us off at venues, hotels and planes throughout the tour and our 2 wonderful teams of German drivers cover extraordinary mileage to accommodate this. When things go wrong, the tour management have to think fast and a simple yet distressing van break-in overnight meant we lost a vehicle this morning. My views on what should be done with the perpetrators of such abhorrent crimes should probably not be shared here.
Logistics fascinate me, which is partly why I write these pages. Seeing the production in full swing can be remarkable enough but to realise it is completely stripped down, packed, transported and set up again within a 24-hour period is bewildering. To Dave Hall and Kevin Hopgood, our Stage and Production managers, it’s all in a day’s work. Sometimes distances are too great to reliably get the gear to the next location in time, hence the days off.
Yesterday’s travel itinerary is a good example of the logistics of moving 6 trucks and 3 buses from one arena in Dublin to another in Glasgow, 391 kilometres away. Naturally there are bigger shows out there, many in fact, but the organisation is essentially the same. After show in Dublin, the load-out begins. (There are some more time-lapse videos on their way). The trucks are packed, in VERY specific order. All flight cases are numbered and must be loaded in sequence. Local crew are used to do the majority of the heavy lifting and one of our boys will direct each load in each truck. Laurence, our Keyboard tech is particularly experienced in this department and I often see him in the back of a truck if we leave the venue an hour after the show ends. The trucks leave the venue around 2am and in this case headed for the port in Dublin to catch a 6am ferry for a 7-hour crossing to Liverpool. They then drove to the Glasgow Hydro whilst, in this case, the crew take a commercial flight and arrive in Glasgow late in the afternoon of the day off. On show day, the routine is re-established and load in begins at around 7am with the floor being marked out. The catering, rigging and production is ‘tipped’ at 8am and the rigging starts at 8:30am whilst the lights are unloaded. At 10am the audio and tech risers are tipped and at 11am, the backline. Backline is another word for all the gear that goes behind the band…guitars, keyboards, amplifiers etc. At 3pm, the crew do what is called a line check. This ensures every audio ‘line’ (there are many) works perfectly before the band show up for sound check at 5pm. Dinner is served at 5:30pm and auditorium doors open at 6:30pm. We take to the stage at 8pm and the cycle begins again.
During sound check, one of Glenn’s basses underwent a little surgery. Kevin Rowe and Glen Saggers took the neck off the bass to straighten the neck, which was showing signs of a warp. In the pics, Kevin tweaks the action whilst Glenn Worf confirms she’s good to go.
Every show is unique, from the way the band play, the on stage dynamic, to the audience. Tonight in Glasgow was another exclusive example. The only thing that doesn’t seem to change is the appreciation we get back from each audience at the end of the show. Glasgow being no different. A great show.
Guy Fletcher’s full Tour Diary, including photos and more tour diary entries, can be found here.