Summit Steel has just completed one of its busiest phases at The O2 arena in London, where the Kent based company provides the venue's in-house rigging services.
The all-action schedule included a 12 night residency by Bon Jovi and shows by Leona Lewis, Aerosmith, Rod Stewart, George Benson & Marti Pellow and Al Green & Michael McDonald, with the real logistics-twister presented by the dates for Leona Lewis's 4 shows and Aerosmith's one, all dotted within Bon Jovi's run. Leona's show entailed 4 separate ins and outs - 3 of them either side of Bon Jovi's, with Aerosmith slotted right in the middle of both of these!
In the Summit office, the technical requirements and logistics for the busy contract are co-ordinated by project manager Simon Frost and administrator Kate Parsons.
Looking at The O2 schedule for this specific time, and realising how hectic it would be, they took those three main shows - Bon Jovi, Leona Lewis and Aerosmith and assessed their requirements as a whole, ascertaining what could stay in and what would have to be de-rigged and re-rigged.
The Bon Jovi show was the most complex in terms of rigging, involving 117 points - 33 dead hangs and 84 bridles - and totalling 52.3 tonnes of flown production equipment. It also entailed a 40 ft wide upstage trussing section with tracking for the video screen staying in the venue, and being flown out to 25 metres so the other shows could be easily and comfortably rigged and accommodated underneath.
Simon Frost and Bon Jovi's chief rigger Mike Farese worked closely together to ensure that the operation ran as smoothly as possible.
Eight spreader trusses were dead hung from The O2 arena's roof beams, and this allowed the video tracking truss section to remain in the building without affecting the rigging of any of the other shows.
All Bon Jovi's bridles were pre-built and labelled up in the US to save time on the load in - a task that needed the show to be positioned totally correctly in the venue to succeed, so all the bridles were spot-on. The custom written load analysis software enabled Frost to calculate the length of each bridle leg and send the info to Farese, who had the bridles assembled at their last show in North America.
The tactic paid off, with only a minimal amount of adjustment being necessary when it came to rigging the first show - and it was a great feat of foresight and co-ordination.
The Leona Lewis and Aerosmith shows had to fit in around Bon Jovi, therefore it was essential that these 3 shows were considered as a whole.
Leona's show involved 85 points, 15 dead hangs and 70 bridles and weighed 28.3 tonnes, while Aerosmith had 50 points (11 deads and 29 bridles), weighing 26 tonnes and luckily, both shows featured straight trusses for lighting and video, and standard PA rigging out of the roof, with 4 and 3 hangs a side respectively for Leona and Aerosmith.
Where possible, Summit keeps the same riggers working on the same shows for continuity and efficiency with teams structured to be overseen by experienced rigging supervisors to ensure a swift and safe operation.
Each show is assessed individually and based on the number of points required, with Summit recommending the optimum number of teams, working on each team rigging approximately 6 points an hour. This is averaged out over the load in, and varies according to whether the production needs the points to be in the air by a certain time - and how much budget they have allocated for this to happen!
Simon Frost says “Constant communication and co-operation between all parties ensures that everything stays on track and is a testament that pre production planning is vital.”
Kate Parsons confirms that "Thorough preparation and planning together with getting a strong, consistent team of riggers was a crucial factor in the successful turnaround of these shows, enabling everything to run smoothly and efficiently.”
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