The Absurd Logistics of Concert Tours

The logistics of concert tours are complex and fascinating. They involve planning, coordination, transportation, and execution of hundreds of people and tons of equipment across different countries and venues.

One of the main aspects of concert tours is the stage setup. The stage is where the artist performs and interacts with the audience. It has to be visually appealing, functional, and safe. The stage also has to be adaptable to different venues and locations, which means it has to be easy to assemble and disassemble. Some artists have very elaborate stage designs that require multiple sets of gear traveling simultaneously. For example, U2 had three sets for their 360° Tour, which featured a massive circular screen and a claw-like structure. Beyoncé’s Formation tour of Europe needed seven Boeing 747 cargo planes to transport all the stage equipment across countries.

Another aspect of concert tours is the sound and lighting system. The sound system has to deliver high-quality audio that matches the artist’s style and genre. The lighting system has to create the right mood and atmosphere for the show. Both systems have to be synchronized with the music and the stage movements. The sound and lighting equipment are usually packed in custom-made steel cases and work boxes that protect them from damage during transportation. They are also labeled and organized in a specific sequence for easy loading and unloading.

A third aspect of concert tours is the customs clearance. This is a crucial step for international tours, as it involves dealing with different regulations and paperwork for each country. The tour logistics team has to prepare all the necessary documents in advance and ensure that they comply with the local laws and requirements. Any delay or error in customs clearance can cause serious problems for the tour schedule and budget. For example, Guns N’ Roses had to cancel their show in South Africa in 1993 because their equipment was held up at customs.

These are just some of the aspects of concert tours that make them challenging and interesting. Concert tours are a huge undertaking that require a lot of planning, coordination, and teamwork. They also showcase the creativity and talent of the artists and their crew. The next time you attend a concert, you might appreciate more the effort and dedication that goes into making it happen and are not angry about the ticket price.