Tech Talk: “On Tour: Tait Stages” or Watchable Reality TV

Posted on July 10, 2013
Mike Graham comfortable in the spotlight.

Mike Graham comfortable in the spotlight.

Written by Mike Graham, product manager for CHAUVET Professional

I was flipping through the guide a few weeks ago and stumbled on a reality show that cannot possibly be staged. Reason being: it’s all about building stages. “On Tour: Tait Stages” gives a pretty realistic view of what goes on from planning a show all the way to the first few load ins. The AXS TV website describes it as “a documentary series following the employees of Tait Towers and its clients with a behind-the-scenes peek into the world of designing, building, and touring stage sets.”

While I have never tried to pull off anything as complex as what Tait Towers does every day, I can find this show easy to relate to as the process, no matter the scale of a show, is still the same. As I consider myself an industry professional, my wow factor is set pretty high—I am not easily impressed. However, I can freely admit how extremely impressed I am with how this show is put together. The access that Tait Towers allows the camera crew is pretty stunning.
Tait Towers Bon Jovi Hexs

Without revealing any top trade secrets, I think it is cool that they show as much as they did during the planning stages of the Bon Jovi “Because We Can” tour. Specifically, the scenic design going through revision after revision while trying to get elements built so that the build process would not fall behind. Without ruining the ending for you, they did succeed. As for budget, well, they never brought that up.

During the Madonna “MDNA” load in, they showed how they label their scenery carts. They not only have their logo on it (so you can see who it belongs to), but also its stage location, the items that are on the cart, as well as a 3D CAD rendering showing how the items on the cart go together and how they are used in the final assembly. For me, this one bit of insight was worth watching the whole show.

It was really cool to see how the different teams of designers, fabricators, accountants, MP900402515and clients all work together. It is extremely apparent that there are major stressors at play during the filming.  Deadlines do not change, even when the plans do. Problems come up in the real world, and they have to be dealt with before they get out of hand. Watching someone else deal with these never-ending issues is a great learning experience for all of us.

This show gives us an inside look at the touring industry from an insider’s point of view. While watching, I am taking away from it as much useful information that I can. For someone outside of our little world, it is good entertainment and should make people realize that the show does not appear from nowhere.  It takes time and effort to make it look awesome. It is also vindication to anyone whose parents told them there is no money in rock and roll.

For anyone with an interest in this industry — and I would assume that you do, as you are reading this technical tip — I would strongly suggest checking this show out:

ON TOUR: TAIT STAGES – Bon Jovi’s “The Hexes” – Part 2 from Dialogue Pictures on Vimeo.