Having produced probably 1,000 events since 2003, I know the headache of artists needing wildly different setups. With really big shows, it doesn’t really matter, because you can have a set-break with a performance on a smaller stage. But for nightclubs, it’s such a nightmare.
The worst was people showing up 5 minutes before their playtime with a huge pile of gear, expecting to take the whole stage apart. This is after not sending a stage plot, rider, or even showing up early enough to get it sorted. I’m talking, people walking in at 12:55am and insisting on taking down the decks to put in their high-end controller which does literally the same job.
I even had the displeasure of sharing a stage at a festival with a guy who tore apart the decks and mixer and set up his own rig, and patched directly into the PA. I had soundchecked the night before and had been assured everything would be set up the same way, so I only showed up with ten minutes to spare, a little drunk at 6pm, ready to slay.
To my horror, all of the equipment I’d used the night before had been moved offstage, replaced by the guy’s massive NI mixer, NI controller, and 19″ laptop. I really didn’t want to use the NI mixer instead of the 900, but I started hauling the gear from behind the stage over to the desk/table/bar/whatever.
Going to plug into the NI mixer with the first CDJ which I had squeezed a little bit of room for a the edge, the performer said “hey what’s up?” and I was like “well I need to play on the decks, right? I have a USB, I’m up next.”
He snaps my hand away. “Nah man, this is my mixer, I’m taking it as soon as I’m done, going back to my tent.”
I was shocked. I asked him if he could move some of his equipment over so that I could set up the right mixer. He protested, but I insisted. I managed to get one deck set up and mix out of his last track. There was not an inch of room left on the table, and I still only had 1 CDJ on there.
The crowd seems to be digging my first track, so I get lost in the moment for a bit, and then I notice that there are only 2 minutes left in my first track, while the last guy has been standing beside the booth, receiving adulation from his fans.
I rush over to him, “hey you’ve gotta get your stuff off of here.” He ignores me.
So I rewind the track (sounds fucking horrible and kills the moment completely) and start taking down his stuff. The last guy notices and comes over to me.
“What do you think you are doing?”
“Well I really need to make some room, you know that this was supposed to be set up for me, right? This should not be happening right now.”
This guy had missed his set the night before and had insisted on being re-booked right before me. The whole concept for this stage vs the other is that it was a tight, continuous groove with the same booth all weekend. The other stage went between live artists and DJ/producers with their own setups, with two areas for performers playing to the same crowd.
Who should I have been mad at? I did eventually get everything set up and running, but I was so flustered I played one of the worst sets of my life.