Stageco takes to the road with the Stones
Thursday, 19 October 2017
rs-nf-1© Mark Cunningham/Stageco
Europe - Stageco continued its long-term association with The Rolling Stones on the band’s current tour No Filter.
The staging company created the two steel tower and roof systems that have been leapfrogging around Europe since the start of September when the tour opened at Hamburg’s Stadtpark Festwiese.
The Rolling Stones production manager Dale ‘Opie’ Skjerseth engaged in what he referred to as “my A team”, featuring creative director Patrick Woodroffe and set designer Ray Winkler from Stufish Entertainment Architects, with Jeremy Lloyd of Wonder Works co-ordinating the technical design elements and working with Stageco’s project manager Hedwig De Meyer and R&D engineers Tom Frederickx, Patrick Martens and Kai Eppinger, to create two complete steel, tower and roof systems that have been leapfrogging around Europe since the start of September when the tour opened at Hamburg’s Stadtpark Festwiese.
From the outset, the band’s main wish was for a tidy and streamlined production, with sleek contours but absolutely no hint of behind the scenes steelwork. Spreading 60m wide, the resulting set features four monolithic 22m high x 11m wide LED video screens, a 28m long T-shaped catwalk and B-stage, and a bespoke, cantilevered, transparent-skinned ‘roofette’ that hovers above the band.
Stefaan Vandenbosch, the leader of one of the two outdoor Stageco crews (Kevin De Meyer managed the other), commented: “Each system fills 17 trucks. Working with our own team of 14 along with 15 local climbers and 15 stage hands, it takes two and a half days to load in with six fork lifts and a pair of cranes, and we are averaging about 18 hours to pull it all down and put back into the trucks to head to the next venue.”
Stageco collaborated with Belgian engineering company Wicreations, who developed and fabricated the aluminium-clad transparent band roof with drainage. It’s formed from four curved 12 metre-long steel roof beams that each break down into two sections.
“The roof travels with us and we build it for each show, along with our towers, pulley beams, lifting cables and the trussing support system for the video screens, while the wind bracing system and motion control hoists [connected to the black steel base of the towers] are provided by Wicreations,” said Vandenbosch. “The way the screens are rigged means that any wind pressure on them is borne by their supporting black steel towers. Personally, I love the three-dimensional effect of the screens – they give the impression that the band are playing in front of four tall buildings.”
Each of the roof’s 12m sections accommodates nine Martin intelligent lights that are key to Patrick Woodroffe’s lighting design and travel in custom-built beams. Interconnected to the black steel superstructure of two of the four central video towers, the band roof was flown on the indoor arena shows and continued to be a major part of the performance area, with modified construction. For these arena performances, Stageco assigned an additional crew led by Martin ‘Tinus’ Beckers.
Stageco handled all the scaffolding and stage decking requirements and supplied and built the spot/delay towers, platforms and covered front of house risers – for this tour, lighting/video control and sound each had their own riser.
“Due to the way our two systems have been allocated to the overall touring schedule, I have been in charge of three of the seven outdoor dates, while Kevin De Meyer looked after the others,” commented Vandenbosch. “For my crew, the run started with Munich’s Olympic Stadium [12 September] and Zurich’s Letzigrund [20 September ], both of which I worked at earlier this year on the Robbie Williams tour and they are very easy stadiums from a load-in and building perspective. The Olympic Stadium in Barcelona is the last of my three shows and it’s been a little more difficult because there is only one entrance and you have to unload everything outside, put it on small trucks and bring it in that way.”
In his role as technical design co-ordinator, Jeremy Lloyd was perfectly placed to appreciate the interaction of Opie’s chosen task force. “All around, it was a great collaboration,” he said. “We didn’t spend a lot of time in meetings. A lot of it is about trust and knowing what can be done in the time. Because I know these people, I know what we can do.”
The Rolling Stones’ No Filter European tour ends in Paris on 25 October when they will be the first band to perform live in the city’s newly-opened U Arena.

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