Paying tribute to the roadies and other crew members sidelined by the pandemic

Sean is has been on the road with all kinds of acts for much of his life. Like so many others, he’s currently out of work because no one is touring. And while much of the news coverage has gone to the performers, he’d like to give this shout-out to his fellow production crew men and women.

The Show Must Go On

We build things in a day. The goal is that for 90 minutes or better, as many people as can be packed into a room to see a performance. A unique moment in time where a group of people contribute everything they believe will captivate a person is unloaded on a paying audience.

It takes a myriad of skills. From carpenter to lighting, audio to front of house, backline to wardrobe, an everything in between, the crew works toward a singular goal, The Show. (Actually, it’s to be ready for sound check.)

When we’re done we hand off our work to the engineers and the performer who knock your socks off from dusk on.

Show’s over. The performers head back to the dressing rooms, the House empties and we’re back at it. Taking apart everything we built that morning, the end-of-night stumbling and stuffing of cases. Stacking and loading everything we find the way we found it back into the truck. Nights done around 2am, out the stage doors we go.

It’s a great gig and not many people get to do it. It will continue as it has from the amphitheater on. The lamps will still be fired up with gels and the cyclorama will be hanging behind drape long past us.

We all know there will be hands in place whether they’re ours or not to make the show happen. As people get older in the industry they begin to recognize each other. When you hear about a tragedy on the road it may have happened to someone you’ve met, worked with, depended on, even for just a day. It creates a common bond.

When we were told after the morning setup the show was postponed, we knew it was the right call. At the front end of Canada’s portion of a global pandemic, we were building an event for thousands of people in a single room.

That now leads us to a void, from a job that was barely sustaining as it was.

The hands that make the show aren’t in it for the money, the pay isn’t there. They’re there because to build the show, is to be part of the show. Through this stretch of downtime there will be a great group of people, sitting on their hands, hoping they can cover the bills until the stage door gets unlocked.

I hope they stick around. The show needs them.

Crew
Carp, Lighting, backline, audio, riggers
Forks
Crew chief
House manager
Stage manager
Merch
Front of house
Lighting engineer
Audio engineer
Video
Show producer
Camera operators
Follow spots
Stage hands
Wardrobe

All there for the show
Don’t get paid great
Weekend hours
Early Call times
Late strikes
Burns and turns
Sunset
Earlier shows in winter
Load in
Setup
Sound check
Doors
Show time

Drivers
Road crew
House crew
Production
Talent

Tour buses
Trucks
The show starts when the bay door opens
chalks on the tires
6 man the Ramp
On the truck – or – in the line
Double stacks
Triple stacks

Show Blacks
Steel toes
Hard hats
Multi tool (pocket knife)
C wrench
Flashlight
E tape

Stage left/stage right
Downstage/upstage
Legs and wings
Front of house
Wardrobe
Merch
Production

Cases
Barges
Marley carts
Hampers
Props
Distros
Feeder cable
Motors
Truss
Bolts
Washers
Ratchets
Gack
Snap hooks
Chain grease
Motor chains
Looms
E tape
Lights
Dimmers
Cables
Power/data
Edison/ 5 pin xlr
220
Twist locks
Snakes
Monitors
Audio mixer
XLR
Looms
Mic stands
Mics
Cable ramps
Gaffe Tape/ e-tape
Caution tape
Deck/Rolling decks
Drum risers
Keyboard risers
8×8
2 – 4×8 with clamps
Legs with wheels
Wing nuts c wrench tight
Drum carpets
Persian carpets
Amps
Bases
Middles
Heads
Monitors
Power
Backline
Drums
Keyboards
Organs
Pianos
Base guitars
Guitars
Brass instruments
Wind instruments
Parts
Percussion
Instruments
“The corral”
Pipe and drape
Quick change rooms
Mirrors
Light
Table/chair

Jobs will be there, will the veterans?
anyone can fill a spot
Must have Hands and feet
Knowledge is assumed
Teach by example
Monkey see monkey do
Trial by fire
Retiring veterans
Jaded crew
Bad crews ruin houses
Bad crews ruin tours

Specialized industry

Alabum releases
Season Tour Timing
Roadshows cancelled
Festivals cancelled

Drivers
Insurance
Advertising
The venues
Restaurants
Lodging
Rentals
Merchandise

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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