Last Fall Weird Al and his band visited Buffalo as part of his Apocalypse Tour. I had the honor of doing video production which involved 3 large screens, a motorized camera on the grid of the stage, and a camera operator. Coincidentally, the camera operator fell from the elevated box he was on, taking the camera with him. He didn’t get hurt, but amused everyone in attendance.
It starts with getting the stage plot. This tells us how big, how many, where, and other important stuff regarding the construction of the stage, lights, videos, and placement of “stuff.”
This is showing where risers are, where line arrays are hanging, video wall placement, and where lighting is located.
The grid gets built first.
Then the towers get built and put up. The grid, when lifted, will glide up to the top of the towers.
The top of the grid gets lined with all the cabling before getting lifted high above the stage.
Steve photobombs the raising of the grid pic.
With grid loaded with lights raised, we get to building the scaffold and staging.
With the deck installed, we leave the grid only slightly raised and head home after a long day one of the production.
Day two is the day of the gig. The Weird Al truck is arriving late morning. We have to get everything else prepared before that arrives. Pictured here are all of the amps that will power the loudspeakers and sound. The screens are up, the curtains, the grid is raised.
This would be where I would be working from. Laptop, motorized camera interface, Roland VR-5 for video feed and switching, and a scaler/processor. I was positioned to the right of the stage, behind the big drapes and one of the video screens. I was receiving a few video feeds and would switch between them during the show. While one was on screen, I’d move the motorized camera to a new position and crossfade to that feed.
Before the drapes went up, here’s a shot that shows both screens that flank the stage and the big video wall on the center.
The area at center is FOH, (front of house), where the audio and lighting is mixed. You can see tests on the 3 screens here. Video on the sides and the Weird Al logo on the center wall. Al’s dressing room was behind where the logo is. It was as wide as the stage and had all of the costumes. It was pretty cool seeing the red leather jacket from “Eat it” and the fat suit from “Fat.”
Spotting mics on the drums. Shure KSM 137 condensers on the cymbals. About $650 a pair. SM57 on the snare. About $100.
YPA goose neck, instrument mics for the toms.
This was John “Bermuda” Schwartz’ drum head. The artwork was done by Drum Art. Seemed appropriate for this tour.
The guitar rack. Jim West uses Furman power, Radial JD6, Marshall preamps, DBX 160 compressor, Mesa Boogie… and more.
Guitar pedal board that interfaces with the rack.
Switcher for the guitars and banjos.
Steve Jay, the bass player, sort of keeping it simple. I loved the masking tape along the bottom with the abbreviations of the set list.
Here’s Bermuda on the drums.
Another blurry picture. This one “Amish Paradise.”
Weird Al would dress up as anything.
The gang dressed up like Jedi.
The big finale. Bobafet, R2D2, Darth Vadar, Yoda, and a Storm Trooper while the guys are dressed up like Obi Wan.
For anyone who is a Weird Al fan, I think this show was a blast.