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Thursday, 03 July 2014 06:00

From behind the Spot Light

columnist David PocockI work in the entertainment industry as a stage technician and I have worked on a number of concerts.  In our industry we have an axiom, ‘the larger the truck count, the more elaborate the stage set-up, the more sound and light gear and “pyro” generally speaking, the lower the “real” talent’. 

 

Example, Elton John’s latest tour 6 trucks simple stage set, Justin Bieber’s last visit 18 trucks and a stage set-up that took TWO days, Neil Diamond’s last tour had something like 6 or 8 trucks, Motley Crue, 16 trucks.  This is not to say that the high truck count tours do not put on a spectacle but, in terms of “real” talent, “maybe not so much” where as the likes of Neil and Elton the show is based on the “real” talent.  All of this is to lead up to the general expectation when “Queen, + Adam Lambert” arrived with 16 trucks, a fairly involved stage, and LOTS of lights, to say the least most of us stage hands just shrugged and muttered,”Just Another Frigging Rock Show”.  WOW were we wrong!

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Expectation one, Adam would be trying to “be” Freddie Mercury and do the standard songs.  Expectation two, the members of Queen in attendance would be tired and just going through the motions and support what ever.  Expectation three, the whole thing would be over shadowed by LOTS of lights and over amplification, to cover for the lack of real performance.

In order of Expectations.

In some universe, Freddie is smiling and resting easy knowing his legacy is safe.  Where, yes, Adam wore a number of “Freddie-esque” costumes to go with the various numbers, he did not try to BE Freddie, he was Adam doing the songs written by Freddie.  There were the “nods” to Freddie and the Queen of old but, by and large, homage was paid and the originals were respected with Adam being Adam as the performer.

The original members, Brian May, guitar and Roger Taylor, Drums backed up by Rufus, percussion, Neil, bass guitar, and Spike on keyboards were very much present and accounted for.  Both Brian and Roger got up front and sang with every bit of the energy we’ve come to expect of Queen.

The lights supported the whole and added to the spectacle, but did not get in the way or obstruct the performance.  The sound was well engineered and did not leave one feeling battered.  Every note was clear and clean, the words were amplified but as clear as if talking in a good coffee shop. (Side note here, while operating a spot light you have to be LISTENING for direction as to who to light up and how they should be lit up, size of beam, intensity and colour, yes we are wearing a head set but still if the sound from the performance is driving so hard that you can’t hear?)

I will not provide “spoilers” suffice to say this concert covered most, but maybe not all, of the highlights of the “Queen Experience” through the various albums and there were some pieces “from the vault” as in “not released, though written for and by” the original group and a piece by Brian in homage to Freddie. 

You have to know that, the coffee break talk between stage hands a day after a concert will always reflect, “the good, the bad and the ugly” of the event.  Not too surprising then, that the next days conversations, at least about the concert itself, were in the positive, and this was from the younger hands as well as us older hands.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to go to this concert, by all means go you will not be disappointed, well except for the fact that 2 and a half hours went WAY too fast and the evening ended way too soon. 

My personal rating from “Behind the Spot Light”: 4 Spot Lights out of 5.

Last modified on Thursday, 18 September 2014 20:29

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