Behind the Scenes - What goes on beyond the glamour of concerts & tours?


Mark these dates on your calendar! With international acts such as Ed Sheeran’s Divide World Tour (26th April 2019), Jason Mraz’s Good Vibes Tour (11th May 2019, Westlife’s Twenty Tour (10th August 2019) and Backstreet Boys’ DNA Tour (30th October 2019) happening within the year, we are fortunate to get to enjoy these wonderful concerts live in Singapore. However, do you ever wonder what goes on behind the stage for these large-scale performances to be executed flawlessly?

Planning a tour is no mean feat. From the planning phase up till the actual performance, every effort is made to ensure that the tour runs smoothly. Before the tour even begins, artistes need to decide if they are even ready to go on tour. For young artistes who are new to the scene, a successful tour may launch their careers off and straight to stardom. Therefore, every decision along the way has to be made with the utmost care and thought in order to ensure a successful tour.

It is unthinkable to go on tour without the support of a crew. A tour manager usually hires the rest of the crew on behalf of the artistes. Depending on the budget at hand, a tour crew may range from 25-100 people. At the very least, a tour crew needs to include a tour manager, a production manager, an advance person, a stage manager, a sound engineer, a monitor engineer, a sound crew, a lighting operator, a lighting crew, and a backline crew.

Deciding on tour locations is a choice that requires thorough consideration as well. To maximise the revenue earned during the tour at each stop, tour locations need to be geographically strategic, house a suitable venue, and include a wide range of audience. Metropolitan cities are usually the best fit for touring artistes. Transportation then becomes the next problem for tour managers upon deciding on the tour locations - if the crew is planning to tour far away from home, additional transportation costs have to be factored in as well.

Musically, artistes have to make sure that they have enough material to present to the audience before deciding to go on tour. This might include new or upcoming albums that require a promotional campaign. As the expectation for a live performance differs from a recorded performance, artistes also need to make sure that these expectations are met. Therefore, it is not uncommon to encounter new arrangements, guest appearances, interdisciplinary collaborations and special effects in a live concert.

During the actual performance, a lot of support is given to the artistes at the back end. A big portion of this goes in the way of the sound engineers to ensure the quality of the sound heard by the audience during the concert. A monitor engineer works in tandem with the sound engineer to allow the performers to hear themselves while performing on stage. For most concerts held at night, lighting and visual effects add more value to the performance. A lighting engineer is there to ensure that all of these are executed perfectly.

So, the next time you’re attending a concert, don’t forget that there’s a whole team of people giving their best behind the scenes to ensure a smooth and successful performance. In the meantime, stay abreast of the concert picks of the week and latest news in music education by following our Facebook Page!:

Play on and Tinkle Away!!