One of the most frequently asked questions about live shows is: [insert name of artist here]??
The simple answer is always the same. And what did you think you found behind the scenes anyway? Caligula-Strength orgy with groupies? A wild party with all kinds of liquor and food? A table full of cocaine? Or were you thinking of hanging out with the band in their dressing room before they went to work? “
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To be honest, most of what I’ve heard or read about what’s happening behind the scenes is a complete lie. Yes, things were pretty loose in the pre-MeToo era (read: 1970s and 80s, or so I’ve heard). But today’s concert business doesn’t have much time or patience to tinker with people who don’t belong behind the scenes. Schedules are tight, security is tight, and privacy is a top priority.
However, these questions come in more and more, so let’s start with a little history and do a little school education.
Backstage was relatively easy in the 1950s and 1960s. With 10 spots to the guards, safe business card credentials, or a pretty face in the case of a female, it was enough to break through the barricade. But as the tour business became bigger and more complex, artists, managers, promoters, and venues began to crack down.
The modern behind-the-scenes path was invented by Dave Otto of Cincinnati. As the touring industry exploded, it became necessary to restrict access to behind-the-scenes workers, some VIPs, and special guests. The best solution was to tag people with visible IDs.
Otto came up with a way to print the graphic on a flexible rectangular rayon with an adhesive lining. These patches adhered very well to all kinds of clothing. Due to their flexibility, they worked well on body contours and did not fall off once applied. The second time I tried to peel off one, the glue didn’t work. Sharing is not recommended, as there is usually a rule that the path must be permanently pasted in a clearly visible area.
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These passes have become a kind of currency since they were first introduced in 1973. This was even more valuable than the front row ticket, as it allowed passage to areas where humans simply couldn’t adventure. It was an invitation to the hidden glory behind the curtain. And yes, in the old days things could be very strange and illegal.
Fast forward to today. Today, not all behind-the-scenes paths are the same. In fact, there are different flavors. This is a basic guide to the most common types of paths.
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The lowest sort, the path at the bottom of the barrel, Previous show Also After the show. One of these takes you to a designated area behind the stage for a limited time before the act begins or after the gig is over, often taking the form of one of Dave Otto’s stick-on patches. increase. You and dozens of other people (often contest winners and low-level industry players (like me)) are wondering if anyone in the band will bother to show up and you You will be placed in a closed area that parades around. Quick Meet and Greet (or Grip and Grin, a more intimate variation than ever before). This act may be a simple photo shoot or selfie.
Eating and drinking? Sometimes, but don’t count on it. If something is available, it’s sparse, mostly chips and wilted raw vegetables, and is picked up quickly. And when the act is gone, you will be kicked out. Thank you for coming. Enjoy the show.
Still, I’m leaving with a nice little souvenir on a jacket that has been ruined with glue.
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The next chain is VIP pass. This is often the first level the path is laminated with plastic (and clearly marked VIP in all capital letters for maximum envy value) and hung on the strap around the neck.They are usually suitable for green rooms under A green room where the loser before or after the show is munching on celery.
This is usually the area where performers spend a little more time with passholders. Here you’ll find people from top record companies, local musicians who are highly regarded by the band, non-music VIPs (politicians, very big businessmen, etc.), and connected local friends. can do. And family.
Food and drink spreads will be fresher and of higher quality than those in low level green rooms. And frankly, this is where behind-the-scenes access begins to get interesting. Because you may actually get a meaningful face-to-face time with the performer. or not. When it comes to behind the scenes, there’s nothing certain.
Need to detour to Photo pass. This isn’t really a behind-the-scenes pass, as only certified photographers have access to the space at the foot of the stage once the gig begins. They have three songs to get their shots before being hustled. Thank you for coming. And I want to approve the shot you want to use.
next Local crew Passed. They take you across the VIP Green Room, but they don’t automatically enter the dressing room. Local crew pass owners include staff for catering, security, emergency care, and certain levels of promoters. You may interact with some rock stars, but you are expected to act and work professionally. There is no fanboy / fangirl action.
A little above that Operator Passed. These are laminates that allow you to go to many places in the venue without having to worry about security. You are usually there to work as a local subcontractor for the army of roads that travel with the act of causing things to happen every night. Depending on the situation and where you are in the working crew’s food chain (there may be strict hierarchies), you may need escorts to reach certain areas such as dressing rooms and stages.
Finally, there is the Holy Grail of All Passes: All Powerful All access Passed. With one of these puppies, you can go anywhere you like, including on stage before, during, and after the show. Or on a truck in the loading bay. Or next to the front of house mixing board. Or in the dressing room. An all-access pass means that you are a god and have magical qualities.
Obviously, however, all access passes are rarely distributed. They are reserved for performers, managers, road managers, stage managers, instrument and PA technicians, husbands / wives, boyfriends / girlfriends, and perhaps close family members, and head promoters. that’s it.
Once or at another time in my career, I was given all of these passes. ‘I saved them all too. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, being behind the scenes is that it’s not a crackdown. The real party is after the show at the hotel. Or by private jet.
For some reason, I haven’t been invited to any of them yet.
Alan Cross is a broadcaster for Q107 and 102.1 the Edge and a commentator on Global News.
Subscribe to Alan’s new music podcast continuous history now on Apple Podcasts or Google Play
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Behind-the-scenes pass beginner’s guide-nationwide
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