Get Used to Tight Spaces

Opening up for a major artist may leave you no room on stage

You may end up supporting/opening up for a larger headline band. You may also find that by the time the headline band has set up its touring PA, lights, backline, and power distribution, the stage for the evening is full of black boxes. When this happens you will have to set up all your equipment and find somewhere to stand to perform, in a thin strip across the front of the stage. ‘Traditional’ four- or five-piece bands have the drummer upstage centre; this position is blocked off by the headline artist gear and you are faced with the choice of either a drummer-less show or placing the drummer on either extreme stage left or right. The new position of the drummer may cause problems with timing and cues.

Anticipate the situation by rehearsing as if you were forced onto a small strip of stage. Set up in your rehearsal space with all the musicians in a straight line as if across the front of a crowded stage. Determine who should stand next to the drummer for timing (usually the bass player or other percussionists, and who can get away with being at the other end of the stage, out of sight of the drummer. That performer will need extra drums in their monitor wedge as they are losing out on the direct sound of the drums.

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