#Ulog #36 - Behind the Scenes
We all probably have fond memories of rockin' out the night at a live concert. Some of those memories might be blurred - that's the nature of the beast. Having a good time with your friends and your party enhancers of choice. Great music fills the night. You stomp, clap, shout, cheer - show your appreciation in all kinds of ways, often paying big dollar prices for tickets and refreshments.
This post, however, is not about the performers, it's about the setup crew. The ones who arrive hours before the concert starts. I know something about this because my brother is a light man. All the big lights you see on this stage belong to him. All the racks, stands, hardware, cords, and the big computer box that runs the system. Plus a generator to power a lot of those things. He arrives in his truck pulling his large box trailer full of equipment. It takes hours to unload it all and assemble it on the stage. Then there's hooking everything up and running all the tests.
His partner in this business runs the sound system. All the speakers and sound equipment belong to him. It's the same routine, a big trailer full of equipment then unload, assemble, and test. The band arrives and they do sound checking to get everything just right. The main star, in this case, Whey Jennings (who is the son of country legend Waylon Jennings) arrives last, after everything is ready and walks on stage to perform.
Here's my brother, the "light man" in the black shirt with his coworker, the "sound man" in the white shirt, after the concert has started. According to them, things are going pretty smoothly for a typical night. The generator has only quit once, and only one capacitor has shorted out and needed replacing so far.
From the opening bands to the ending performance by Whey the concert lasted about five hours. It was a pretty hot day out, July in the midwest, but they carried on and seemed to be enjoying themselves. I know they get paid for their services, but these two do it for the love the music and the camaraderie they share. He has his favorite gigs that he does about six or seven times a year and the rest of the time he rents out his equipment. He's met some really great performers over the years.
After the concert is over, when everyone is hot and tired and heading home, these guys are faced with now tearing down all that equipment and reloading it into the trailers. That part is not nearly as fun as setting up in anticipation of the concert. So next time you attend a concert, give a little pause to think about the setup crew, and maybe give a shout out to them, they're the ones sitting behind those big black boxes with cables running everywhere!
As a finale to this post, I'll leave you with a little video I captured of Whey and the band performing "Can't You See?" that was made famous by the Marshall Tucker Band.
All photos and video were taken by me with my Samsung Galaxy Note5.
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