Vienna. Load-In day.
I have guests at this show, two friends who've come out from London and also some theatre people that I worked with here. Being techno-trainspotters, they'd asked for a look around the load in, so we headed out to the stadium around 3pm this afternoon.
The 'production' load-in comprises all the universal gear that goes to every show. There are three sets of the steel skeleton and these leapfrog across the continent, being erected over a period of three days in each venue. Following this, the universal production consists of everything else, mostly consisting of all the expensive stuff that we can only have one of (or if we had two of, they'd be half the size). This includes the video screen, the entire lighting, sound and video systems, the pylon, the stage and outer runway, the bridges, the generators, all the office set ups, the entire catering set up... pretty much everything, really.
Incredibly, the production load-in starts at a leisurely 9am on the day before the show (I've done theatre tours where load-in has had to start earlier than this). A year into the tour, the systems just fly into the place and it's pretty awe-inspiring to see. My mates loved watching the process. When we arrived, the video screen was still being assembled, one gigantic section after another, but within an hour it was moving up and down, opening, closing and showing pictures. Meanwhile, the stage itself was being put together, bridges were being craned into position and barricade was being built absolutely everywhere, it seemed. When you watch the process with fresh eyes, the speed of construction just doesn't seem feasible.
Once we'd had our fill we took the metro back into the city centre (on the U2 line, I kid you not) and found ourselves some dinner. It was great to reconnect with the process today. Made me realise what an extraordinary team we have out here.