Bon Jovi Set Up Takes More Than A Prayer

7 years 3 weeks 4 days ago Monday, May 23 2011 May 23, 2011 Monday, May 23, 2011 9:39:00 PM CDT May 23, 2011 in News
By: Austin Kim and Tara Grimes
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ST. LOUIS -An iconic superstar returned to St. Louis for the first time in nearly a decade Sunday night.

Jon Bon Jovi and band mates stopped by the Scottrade Center on the last leg of their North American tour.

Before the 8 p.m. show, crew members spent the day preparing for the concert. Some uncoiled 500 feet of cable, others pulled equipment out of six semi-trucks, and many constructed the entire set.

"We show up at 8 or 9 o'clock in the morning," Chris McDaniel, a local stagehand hired by the band, said. "And we won't get out until 3:30 or 4 in the morning."

"It takes about seven or eight hours to set everything up, four to five on a good day," BonJovi.com representative DaRin Ryan said.

The Bon Jovi tour pours millions of dollars into one show. The band carries $7 million of dollars worth of video equipment. Perhaps one of the biggest features of the set are five robotic arms which carry LED light screens that swivel, worth $3 million all together. These arms weight approximately 7,000 pounds each, made from refurbished car factory parts. The screens have Plexiglas, making it possible for the Bon Jovi frontman to perform on them.

Setting up takes a lot of man power as well. The band also hires 75 of stagehands that will travel with the team. They also hire 70 local workers, mainly carpenters, from each city on the tour.

Over the seven-foot-tall stage is a state of the art video screen that can separate into 96 smaller screens that can rotate over the stage. The screen also has its own custom software.

Crew members said those who attend the concert may not realize what goes into building the set, but it is the small details that make all the difference.

"I don't think people would realize all the minor details that really into it," stagehand Tim Kopeck said. "Like a lot of people would think 'you're just setting up a stage, you slap it together.' Well there's a lot more to it. You have to make sure everything's supported. You have to make sure that everything's in the proper place because if one thing is out of place, it could cause the entire stage to fail."

But it's not just the stage that needs to be set. Even duties like cleaning the band's dirty laundry is a designated job. Although touching the band member's clothes may seem like a glamourous job, wardrobe attendent Kevin Humphrey said it requires attention to detail and isn't always pretty.

"It's sweaty and skanky," Humphrey said. "You just kind of let that go. That's when you realize they're normal human beings like us."

To keep the crew members happy throughout the day, Levy Restaurants catered to the group, as well as the band.

"We get what we call a writer," executive chef Jeff Seaborn said. "It could be anywhere from five to eighteen page list of requirements that goes with catering to the general group or dressing rooms. We've had Sammy Hagar wanting just all red M&M's. We had to pick out all the red M&M's because he's the red rocker."

But at the end of the day, crew members said each job is just as important as the next.

"Everybody's got a job to do and everybody's busting their butt to do it," Ryan said.

St. Louis was the last stop on Bon Jovi's North American tour. The band will perform in Europe later this summer.

Reported by: Austin Kim and Tara Grimes

Videographers: Daniel Posey and Patrick Cornell

Photos by Tara Grimes:

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