Logistical questions about the concerts

Started by SueC, May 02, 2021, 05:44:36

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SueC

...in case there's any technical nuts out there who are au fait with this, or general persons who've read links etc...

I'm currently watching The Cure in Helsinki 2019, thanks to @word_on_a_wing posting a link and us being able to download it before it disappeared from YT.  I've watched a fair few Cure gigs from my sofa like this and am getting a critical mass of questions I'm really interested in finding out answers to.

1.  Mr Smith and Mr Gallup appear to be engaged in actual conversation mid-song on several occasions.  How is this possible given the noise and the wearing of those concert earplug things they have - or are they just really good lip-readers?

2.  This is a question about Helsinki, but perhaps more generally.  Is this a permanent outdoors performance stage?  (It's so massive!) Or something that gets packed up and put away in the off season, or between concerts etc?  Whose stage is it?  Is this in some kind of harbour/industrial area?  I'm thinking that because it's such a concrete Legoland and not at all like I imagined Finland - plus that's the obvious place for a gig like this because of noise concerns near residential areas, and possibly the supply of enough electricity...which brings me to the next question...

3.  To run that kind of massive stage with all its screens, lights and the amplification, what kind of input wattages/amperages are we talking about?  How many kilowatt hours would a gig like this eat per hour?  What's a typical electricity bill for a whole gig?

4.  About the curved screens - they fit the stage curves perfectly - are they supplied as part of the stage?  Or the band's?  (Unless bands take entire huge stages around with them, but that would surprise me...) Are they adjustable to different curvatures? Or is part of the stage made specifically to accommodate them?

5.  Mr Gabrels wears a "telephone cable" while Mr Gallup is wireless.  The advantages of wireless are obvious.  But is a cable technically better in some way, or does Mr Gabrels like being on a leash / simply isn't bothered because he's got no intentions of walking around or turning on his own axis and perhaps has a low propensity for tripping over cables?  ...Mr Smith seems to be on a plain cable most of the time.  I suppose the difference between that and the "curly cable" isn't technical (sound-wise), but just about managing movement and preferences with that?

6.  I'm beginning to recognise quite a few bits of the stage set which are in all probability the band's - including the light towers in the background etc.  It seems to me that packing up all that stuff between concerts is a bigger job than moving house...how many standard marine shipping containers does it take to hold all this stage gear?  Presumably, instruments travel separately because more delicate etc and those would easily go in a standard removalist truck, depending of course how many guitars people are bringing... but:  I can't leave my acoustic instrument (violin) in a car because it is really sensitive to warping if the car heats up in the sun - and while electric guitars look pretty resilient and aren't made from really delicate wood, what about acoustic guitars?  Do they need the same kind of consideration as cellos, violas, violins etc?


(I'll be editing this post to add more questions as they occur to me.  :-D)
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Ulrich

Quote from: SueC on May 02, 2021, 05:44:36Mr Smith and Mr Gallup appear to be engaged in actual conversation mid-song on several occasions.  How is this possible given the noise and the wearing of those concert earplug things they have?

Often on stage it is not as loud as it is "out front" (hence there's a difference between onstage sound and in front of stage - many clubs or bands do have sound mixers for both!).

For the audience there is the "PA system" (public address), for the band members there are the "monitors" (or in-ear system) with which they are able to hear themselves and the others. Note that the latter might be not as loud as the PA.


Quote from: SueC on May 02, 2021, 05:44:36This is a question about Helsinki, but perhaps more generally.  Is this a permanent outdoors performance stage?  (It's so massive!) Or something that gets packed up and put away in the off season, or between concerts etc?  Whose stage is it?

In 2019 The Cure were playing "summer festivals", i.e. they didn't have to bring their own stage or PA system, everything's been set up before (as often festivals are happening over the course of a few days). The band's roadies bring in the band's equipment (instruments etc.), while the stage, lights and PA does belong to the festival organisers (who might lend it from a company specialised in stages)!

For specific info about Helsinki's "Flow Festival", look no further than here:
https://www.flowfestival.com/en/history/
Quote from: undefinedIn 2004, Flow Festival's story began in the old railway warehouses of Helsinki city centre. Organised by the music collective Nuspirit Helsinki, the festival's focus was introducing music that the organisers personally found exciting and bringing the hottest international talents to Helsinki. This meant that while the festival was undeniably in with its times, it wasn't one to only chase after the latest acts. The festival was named Flow. Organisers chose the name "Flow" to convey the expanding undertone that was taking over Helsinki and to promote innovative urban development. Since 2007, Flow has been organised in Suvilahti. The former power plant lot in Helsinki has created a globally unique atmosphere with its post-industrial ambience and strategic location.

In 2019, Flow took over Suvilahti from the 9th to the 11th of August. The main stage had a new feature: an unprecedented, gigantic panorama screen, giving an even more impressive audio-visual gig experience ... The Cure stirred Sunday night mayhem by serving the audience solid hits for over two hours.

Answer to number 3:

Quote from: undefinedIm Durchschnitt verbraucht ein Club pro Jahr 120.000 Kilowattstunden (kWh) Strom, was einem CO2-Äquivalent von knapp 67 Tonnen entspricht. Ähnlich energieintensiv sind Festivals: Ein Verbrauch zwischen 120.000 und 450.000 kWh schlägt bei der Kalkulation zu Buche.
Source:https://eventelevator.de/storys/gruene-events-gruen-hinter-den-ohren/

Quote from: SueC on May 02, 2021, 05:44:36Mr Gabrels wears a "telephone cable" while Mr Gallup is wireless. ...Mr Smith seems to be on a plain cable most of the time.

Apparently "wireless vs. cable" is a controversial topic!

Quote from: undefinedSeit jeher wird unter Gitarristen, mehr noch unter Bassisten, das Thema ,,Kabel oder drahtlos?" höchst kontrovers diskutiert, wobei Aspekte wie Funkfrequenzbereiche, Klang, Dynamik, Nebengeräusche, Reichweite, Dropouts und Batterieverbrauch im Vordergrund stehen...

Moderne Wireless-Geräte arbeiten heute mit Digitaltechnologie, deren Klang- und Übertragungsqualität von der Güte der AD- und DA-Wandler und deren Rechengeschwindigkeit abhängt. Latenzen von 1,5-3 Millisekunden sind heute Standard. Zur Verdeutlichung: In trockener Luft von 20° Celsius beträgt die Schallgeschwindigkeit 343,2 Meter pro Sekunde, nach Adam Riese bzw. Taschenrechner also 34,32 cm pro Millisekunde. Bei Kabelverbindung und 1 Meter Abstand vom Lautsprecher müsste somit eine Latenz von 3 ms wahrnehmbar sein. Ist sie aber nicht, oder? Auch die Angaben zu den Reichweiten der Systeme sind lediglich als Richtwerte anzusehen, da bereits 20 Meter vom Lautsprecher entfernt das Gitarren-/ Bass-Signal mit knapp 58 ms Verzögerung aufs Gehör trifft und man dabei groove-technisch ganz schön ins Schwimmen gerät. Kompensieren lässt sich dies allein mit adäquatem In-Ear- Monitoring.

Die inzwischen erstklassigen digitalen Wireless-Systeme dürften Gitarristen und Bassisten die Pro- oder Contra-Entscheidung erheblich erleichtern. Der damit erzielten Bewegungsfreiheit auf der Bühne und den nicht zu unterschätzenden Sicherheitsaspekten (Elektrik, Stolperfallen) ist außer klanglichen Gesichtspunkten eigentlich nichts entgegenzusetzen. Anderseits haben auch die Kabelhersteller konzeptionell und qualitativ erheblich nachgebessert. Eines fällt jedoch auf: Die meisten der Gitarristen und Bassisten, die für ihren exzellenten und dynamischen Sound bekannt sind, benutzen selbst auf großen Hallenbühnen Kabel.
https://www.gitarrebass.de/equipment/was-ist-besser-kabel-vs-wireless/

(Sorry, I tend to find more German than English sources via Google.)

For more info about the band's equipment, here's some links I found during/after the 2016 tour (incl. remarks from Paul Corkett, the band's "Front of house" engineer):
http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=8607.0

A bit more general info about touring:

QuoteEntertainment Logistics is a very organised and controlled space. What differentiates it from regular freight, is the lack of room for delays, damage or errors in scheduling. Every piece of equipment transported is paramount to the show. For cargo companies specializing in tour logistics, the planning starts with site inspections of the tour locations.
The best mode of transportation is then charted out for each of the venues, according to the equipment needed. The bigger the act, the more the equipment that needs to be transported. Most artists travel with their own audio, lighting, video, maintenance, & even catering equipment. The elaborate stage sets also need to be built, dismantled, packed & transported from venue to venue.
U2's 360 degree Tour employed 120 trucks to move the stage, the screen, the lights, the 250 speakers and more from venue to venue.
https://medium.com/speedbox-is-typing/the-logistics-behind-concert-tours-7656f488b6c8

How to become a roadie:
Quote from: undefined...the Front of House Engineer is working; she's mixing the sound for the audience. The Monitor Engineer is mixing sound for the band on stage. Guitar Techs will be looking out for the guitars, tuning guitars; the guitarist may use a different guitar just for one song, so maybe hand him that guitar for that song and so on and so forth
https://www.careersinmusic.com/roadie/

https://soundcharts.com/blog/mechanics-of-touring
And the way the rain comes down hard
that's how I feel inside...

SueC

Thank you, @Ulrich - that's brilliant!   :smth023  :smth023  :smth023

In Albany we've got a wind farm, which would be able to power a festival on a good day - if the ordinary citizens didn't use huge amounts of electricity.  It's covering about 60-70% of this town's electricity use on average - and the 18 turbines all come from Germany.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albany_Wind_Farm

Really interesting stuff you posted, and thanks for the extra links!   :)
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SueC

Quote from: Ulrich on May 02, 2021, 13:40:41Apparently "wireless vs. cable" is a controversial topic!

Quote from: undefinedSeit jeher wird unter Gitarristen, mehr noch unter Bassisten, das Thema ,,Kabel oder drahtlos?" höchst kontrovers diskutiert, wobei Aspekte wie Funkfrequenzbereiche, Klang, Dynamik, Nebengeräusche, Reichweite, Dropouts und Batterieverbrauch im Vordergrund stehen...

Moderne Wireless-Geräte arbeiten heute mit Digitaltechnologie, deren Klang- und Übertragungsqualität von der Güte der AD- und DA-Wandler und deren Rechengeschwindigkeit abhängt. Latenzen von 1,5-3 Millisekunden sind heute Standard. Zur Verdeutlichung: In trockener Luft von 20° Celsius beträgt die Schallgeschwindigkeit 343,2 Meter pro Sekunde, nach Adam Riese bzw. Taschenrechner also 34,32 cm pro Millisekunde. Bei Kabelverbindung und 1 Meter Abstand vom Lautsprecher müsste somit eine Latenz von 3 ms wahrnehmbar sein. Ist sie aber nicht, oder? Auch die Angaben zu den Reichweiten der Systeme sind lediglich als Richtwerte anzusehen, da bereits 20 Meter vom Lautsprecher entfernt das Gitarren-/ Bass-Signal mit knapp 58 ms Verzögerung aufs Gehör trifft und man dabei groove-technisch ganz schön ins Schwimmen gerät. Kompensieren lässt sich dies allein mit adäquatem In-Ear- Monitoring.

Die inzwischen erstklassigen digitalen Wireless-Systeme dürften Gitarristen und Bassisten die Pro- oder Contra-Entscheidung erheblich erleichtern. Der damit erzielten Bewegungsfreiheit auf der Bühne und den nicht zu unterschätzenden Sicherheitsaspekten (Elektrik, Stolperfallen) ist außer klanglichen Gesichtspunkten eigentlich nichts entgegenzusetzen. Anderseits haben auch die Kabelhersteller konzeptionell und qualitativ erheblich nachgebessert. Eines fällt jedoch auf: Die meisten der Gitarristen und Bassisten, die für ihren exzellenten und dynamischen Sound bekannt sind, benutzen selbst auf großen Hallenbühnen Kabel.
https://www.gitarrebass.de/equipment/was-ist-besser-kabel-vs-wireless/

(Sorry, I tend to find more German than English sources via Google.)

It's great when some people actually remember their high school physics!  :smth023  That's really interesting.  About the last point, that most guitarists/bassists who are known for their excellent and dynamic sound use cables even on big stages:  On the one hand, maybe they do hear a difference themselves.  On the other, maybe it's like drinking a bottle of wine after reading on the label that it "contains notes of berry, chocolate and oak" - which predisposes you, via the brain's response to suggestion, to taste actual notes of berry, chocolate and oak because you are looking for them (unless you have no imagination, or are a totally objective empiricist, or you have oppositional defiance disorder, or it's complete BS :-D).

Or - maybe it's influenced by associations - people doing what their own favourite guitarists/bassists growing up did, or cables are like a nerd club label of the "cool kids" amongst guitarists/bassists - or it's a great excuse to not walk around for miles or dance (sort of like some people actually enjoyed COVID lockdown  :winking_tongue)...

Is a 3ms latency something you'd actually notice?  I wonder what the threshold is.

That bit about tripping hazards and electrocution risk made me wonder about the wider occupational hazards of being a musician.   :angel  An outlandish list, like when in high school, you and your friends make a list of "101 alternative uses for tampons" - e.g. creative earrings for artistic types that can be coloured individually like Easter eggs, nose plugs when you have a bad cold, ear plugs when you don't want to hear about sine and cosine, perhaps an insertable mouth muff for someone who's talking about boring stuff (use several), mobiles for around the house and garden, tassels for jazzing up a kaftan, etc etc.

So in the spirit of that, and starting with the serious things:  Apart from those obvious two and acute or cumulative hearing damage (or both) - adverse health effects due to disruption to Circadian rhythms, back injuries from incorrect lifting of musical instruments, injuries to the nasal epithelium from string finger callus during nose picking, predisposition to melancholy from overexposure to elegiac poetry, risk of eye injury from strings snapping when not wearing safety glasses, regrettable consequences from mistaking your amplifier for a cappuccino maker or vice versa when inebriated or emerging from sleep, incurable generalised misanthropy from meeting too many record company types, screaming fans, music critics etc etc...

(...anyone want to add to the list?  :angel)


Oh and, "...und man dabei groove-technisch ganz schön ins Schwimmen gerät":   :lol:  :yum:   I love it when people spice up their technical writing so you don't fall asleep.  :cool
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