"The great thing is the expressions on the boys' faces. When they finally got to see it all together here in Dallas for rehearsals it exceeded their expectations." Rob Brenner has been Tour Director for The Jonas Brothers for a little over two year now. You can sense from the way he talks that he's already awash in the Brothers' renowned youthful exuberance. "That's what reminds me why we all do this."
The latest outing for the Jonas Brothers runs across the summer; the tour was more than 90% sold before they even rehearsed their first song, but it's not that which was beyond expectation. "It's the stage set from Tait Towers. John Labriola and I did the overall design," explained Brenner. "John covers lights and video, I focus on the set, but it's the boys who bring us the concepts."
The Boys' concept is a large scale, in-the-round performance platform that Tait Towers have constructed. The Brothers' initial concept remains implicit in the form of a central main-stage 60'x70', with smaller 24' square B stages diametrically opposed at what would be the goal ends of a hockey rink. "They wanted access to their fans," Brenner continued. "This way there's no one stuck at the far end of an arena that gets to spend the whole night watching the video screens. The Boys work hard to visit all areas of their audience."
"Where Taits have contributed to make this more than we could have wished for is in the mechanics and the stage effects. They developed foam guns for our last tour; that created a great party atmosphere. This year the Boys really wanted to take that further; they visualized some form of elevated platform that could take them out over the audience."
A visit to the Tait Towers' shop in Pennsylvania proved advantageous. "When we go up there Adam Davis and the rest of his team always have great ideas on how to fulfill those wishes. Utilizing existing devices from their stock we ended up with a 360° rotating arm that rises and swings the boys, with the foam guns, out some forty-eight feet over the audience from one of the two B stages."
Which leaves the other end of the audience a little short changed? "Far from it. We have a water gag down there that's really special. It's actually a circular water screen from Pyrotek in Canada. Taits provided a B stage water management system that pumps to a reservoir below stage. After show we de-couple it, wheel it to the Zamboni parking bay, and vent the whole lot down the ice sluice."
Brenner's realization of the Brothers' ideas sees the three stages filled with band elevators; a rotating center circular lift with fixed annulus around its perimeter that allows the performer to step on and off the moving area; and yet another lift central to the water stage. "Touring this band is different from other acts," concluded Brenner. "This is an expensive show to stage; we have 19 semis on the road, and we don't have the long runs typical of other tours to defray those costs; we have to stop in September while the boys go and make a movie. But having access to Tait's pool of expertise, and their existing stock of devices overcomes the investment payback dilemma. Like I said, this exceeds expectations."
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