As the sky turned dark, the area backstage began to pop with towers powering up lights to help crews still organizing for the show. Also towering is the stage – from the back raised 6 feet off the ground. Grey boxes on wheels, normally under the protection of the cover stage, are being wheeled off the stage to a safe covering of plastic.
I veer off into a little court of sorts that is owned by Live Nation. They certainly have this down to an art. Their trailer is decked out with a couch, beaded curtain doorway, a netted gazebo and umbrella topped tables. The crew relaxing not only after a grueling day, but an action packed set of months.
I wander back to the stage – I was getting weird looks – I think they think that I was spying or something. I climb to the stage and see that we have major efficiency this year in the set preparation. The stage is an ingenious turn table. Ron Stern said that it is not the first year that we have had a stage like this. and it will lend itself to a time efficient concert. While one artist performs, the other preps on the other side. Then when everything is a go, the stage turns like a lazy-suzanne to a waiting crowd.
Backstage the mixture of Boston/New England accents and New York vernacular/accents is not only refreshing but humorous…
Sound check for Neil Young continues as crews roll black boxes label Danielle Evin and Mellencamp from one side of the stage to the other. While Neil has not made it to the stage – his tech Larry Cragg get everything into tune.
The audience and motion lights rotate in a practiced performance like a dancer prepping for a recital. Various stage techs whip out flashlights to check cords. Then a haze forms as the fog machine is tested. The sweat-laced crew stands in corners reviewing to-do lists, others search for rope – with yelps of “Rope!” Many others are positioning and marking levers with tape to remind themselves of placement tomorrow. Unraveled cords are sorted at one end while another cord is knotted.
It gets really quiet….Neil is approaching to sound-off on stage. The front rows of seats are quickly filled with crew, caters, staff and onlookers as Neil launches into Silver and Gold… Workin’ hard every day – Never notice how the time slips away – People come, seasons go – We got something that’ll never grow old.
No matter how many times I see the stage come to life, it certainly never grows old.