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Promoter Béchir counts cost of P!nk cancellation

TAKK Entertainment’s Andre Béchir has spoken out after P!nk cancelled her Switzerland concert at short notice over health concerns.

The US superstar was due to perform at Bern’s Wankdorf Stadium last night (3 July), promoted by TAKK, as part of the European leg of her record-setting Summer Carnival Tour, but announced the day before that she would no longer be able to perform.

“I am so sorry that I have had to cancel my show in Bern,” she said on Instagram. “I do everything I can to ensure I can perform for you every night, but after consultation with my doctor and exploring all options available, I’ve been advised that I’m unable to continue with the show tomorrow.

“I was looking forward to being with you and making memories with you and sharing our show with you and am so disappointed that we have to cancel.”

The concert will not be rescheduled, with all tickets to be refunded. And due to the lateness of the cancellation, Béchir indicates the amount not covered by insurance is in the six-figure range.

“We have insurance for such cases, but it certainly won’t cover all the costs,” Béchir tells Berner Zeitung. “We will now renegotiate with all partners. But we will be left with a very red number.

“If she can, she will perform. But her health comes first”

“If the concert had been cancelled a few days earlier, it would have been much cheaper.”

Nevertheless, the veteran promoter acknowledges that P!nk would not have cancelled without good reason. “If she can, she will perform. But her health comes first,” he notes, as per Nau.

Béchir leads CTS Eventim-backed TAKK ab Entertainment AG, which was established last year, alongside TAKK Productions founder Sebastien Vuignier and IQ New Bosses alumnus Théo Quiblier. Béchir’s abc Production was amalgamated with Gadget and Wepromote by CTS shortly before the pandemic hit.

P!nk’s cancellation marked the second time in three years that a TAKK-promoted gig at the Bern stadium has been axed at the 11th hour. The Rolling Stones were forced to pull out of their June 2022 show at the venue after Mick Jagger tested positive for Covid-19. But Béchir insists there are no hard feelings towards the city.

“We are still on very good terms with Bern,” he adds. “Especially with the authorities, such as security director Reto Nause and those responsible at the Wankdorf Stadium. Everyone involved was very understanding about the cancellation. We have a very cooperative relationship.”

The Summer Carnival Tour is due to resume in Denmark this Saturday at Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium.

 


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P!nk’s record-breaking ANZ ticket sales celebrated

Australia and New Zealand’s love affair with P!nk shows no signs of abating after the singer’s Summer Carnival Tour took her ticket sales in the territory past three million.

The US star, whose real name is Alecia Moore, will have been seen by nearly one million people on the tour’s ANZ leg by the time it wraps up at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on 23 March.

The 20-show run represents the most stadium dates ever performed by any artist in the region on a single tour, with the sales taking P!nk’s total ticket sales to more than 3.1m during her six Australasian tours – the largest career sales ever achieved by any international performer in Australia and New Zealand.

“P!nk is one of the most amazing live performers to ever walk onto the stage,” says Live Nation Australasia chair Michael Coppel, P!nk’s long-standing promoter in Australia. “I’ve been very privileged to share in her epic 20-year journey in Australia and New Zealand, where she has played more than 200 shows.”

P!nk broke the attendance records at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium and at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium, and also became the first female artist to headline at Eden Park, New Zealand’s national stadium. The two Auckland shows shattered the attendance record at the venue.

“There is a palpable mutual love affair between the Australasian audience that love seeing her perform live, and an artist who clearly loves being here”

Live Nation Australia joined P!nk’s manager Roger Davies and record label Sony Music Australia to congratulate the 44-year-old on her achievements.

“There is a palpable mutual love affair between the Australasian audience that love seeing her perform live, and an artist who clearly loves being here,” adds Coppel. “Congratulations, Alecia, on yet another stunning record-breaking tour and on an incredible career, with even greater success surely to come.”

Following the conclusion of the ANZ dates, the Summer Carnival Tour will resume in Europe in June before switching to North America in August.

The team behind the tour gave a unique glimpse behind the scenes of the global trek at the recent ILMC Production Meeting (IPM). Revisit the panel report here.

 


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Behind the scenes of P!nk’s Summer Carnival

The team behind P!nk’s Summer Carnival Tour gave a unique glimpse behind the scenes of the global trek at the recent ILMC Production Meeting (IPM).

Marshall Arts’ Barrie Marshall, Craig Stanley and Anna De Neiderhausen were joined by Gaffer Award-winning production manager Malcolm Weldon for the special session, moderated by Okan Tombulka of eps at the Royal Garden Hotel in London.

The speakers discussed the planning and execution of the tour, which now stretches until late 2024 and has already broken multiple records. Just last weekend, P!nk – real name Alecia Moore – became the first female headline artist to grace Auckland’s Eden park in New Zealand in the venue’s 120-year history, hosting more than 100,000 fans over two nights.

Weldon, who joined the panel remotely from the ANZ leg of the jaunt, started off by explaining how the singer’s live vision (and renowned acrobatics) comes to life.

“They come up with the ideas and the concept, and I try to pull it off”

“It all starts with [P!nk], [show director] Baz Halpin and [manager] Roger Davies,” he said. “They come up with the ideas and the concept, and I try to pull it off. It’s their dreams and so my job is to make sure that I can get it from point A to point B to point C, to try to make sure that I can give her the same show every night.”

He continued: “The biggest challenge that we have is because of the acrobatics, everything that’s above us has to correlate precisely on the ground. It’s not like a rock and roll show, where it’s just some guy standing there playing guitars or beating on drums, it’s a theatrical pop show. So you’re trying to get all of those elements to align every show, they have to be where they have to be.

“The majority of everything she asked for is there. The only time that we can’t give it to her is when we’ve done some festival dates – because the show is an intricate show and certain things wouldn’t work – but that hasn’t caused too much of a problem. With Alecia, once you can explain to her why she can’t have something on a certain date, she understands. She may not like it, but she understands.”

Below is a selection of other takeaways from the in-depth chat…

Picking the right cities…
Barrie Marshall:
“A lot of it’s done by Roger Davies, because he knows exactly what he wants to do and where he wants to play. In the case of Alecia, she’s so successful… there’s no problem where you’ve got some countries that are weaker than others. It’s quite useful if we can start here [in the UK] sometimes, because a lot of the equipment comes from here… so that means access is easier. Although things have become so sophisticated now, it seems to me that you can get most equipment you need in most territories, so it’s not critical.”

Venue availability…
BM: “I find it difficult because the pandemic changed many, many things. There were no shows, everything stopped. Everybody was at the bus stop and the bus never came, so there was no way to accommodate people’s needs. We all stayed at home and waited, tried to do things, but waited until it was clear enough for us to go back to work. That meant then there were for two and a half years, maybe three years, a backlog of artists who definitely wanted to get out and tour, so you tried to put three years of touring into a year. It’s beginning to ease up a bit, but it’s still very difficult, so venues are in great demand.”

“It is complicated because now there’s so much legislation and each country is different”

Licensing issues…
Craig Stanley: “A few years ago… we would leave it until fairly late to be able to pass all the information to the licensing authorities, recognising that the artist is also making up her mind – quite rightly – of the show she wants to present. Now, you start your licence applications six, seven, eight months ahead, and then through Europe it’s exactly the same story. But it is complicated because now there’s so much legislation and each country is different. Even within Germany, Munich is just a different universe in requiring certain paperwork. Here in the UK, Scotland is completely different to England. You think you’ve got everything down, and then the licensing officer changes and you have to go back to square one.”

Anna De Neiderhausen: “We have to appease the local authorities, so we are ultimately the middleman. Sometimes local authorities are a little bit unrealistic and maybe don’t really have the experience, [whereas] some of them really are all over it. So it’s just finding that balance trying to not make Malcolm’s life hard, but at the same time, making sure the show goes ahead.”

CS: “Part of my role is to go around Europe, and the advance trip is absolutely crucial. Malcolm and his team are brilliant at actually going there, meeting with the local people and explaining what he needs, understanding their problems, and we find some middle ground.”

Malcolm Weldon: “In 2023, I felt like I was a step behind because we didn’t know what the show really was until we got to Bolton and built the whole show, so you’re kind of learning as you go. And then as you get more shows under your belt, you go, ‘Okay, this is what this is.’ And then you leave Europe and go to North America, and now you’re on a different stage and you’re playing baseball stadiums, which no show of this size should be playing. But they bought tickets, they’re showing up and so we make it happen.”

“You can’t change the ticket price once you’ve charged for the ticket. You have to somehow try and make those budgets work”

Maximising capacity…
BM: “
One of the great advantages with Alecia is her performances are phenomenal, she’s never in one place for very long, so therefore the sightlines in the stadium are such that you see her a great deal of the time. That’s a big advantage to having an artist who’s performing in a certain position all the time, more or less. She moves around a lot and she’s very aware of her audience. She has a great sense of humour and also has a particularly unique way of talking to her audiences, it’s very personal. And the screens we’ve got now are superb so the quality of the video content is phenomenal.”

Budget concerns…
BM:
“You can’t change the ticket price once you’ve charged for the ticket. You have to somehow try and make those budgets work. Artists put a lot of money in to production and give the very best they can, and they don’t want to fall short. And Malcolm, in his position, can’t and won’t let the standard down.”

MW: “I [was once working with a very famous artist] and I was trying to stay within budget. They went outside the budget, so I said, ‘That’s going to be more expensive if we do it this way.’ And that artist told me, ‘Don’t worry about how I spend my money, Malcolm.'”

“It’s very easy to think you’re just selling the show, you’re actually supporting the artist’s career”

The importance of the collective…
MW: “It’s a total group effort. If you have somebody on the crew whose job is just doing towels and water, the most important person to the artist at the point when they got sweat in their eyes, or they’re thirsty, is the person that puts out the towels and water. It’s all a group effort.”

BM: “We all work for the audience and the artist at the end of the day, so we all contribute to that and we all have respect for that. We just all have to look after each other in the best way we can and we’ll get the best results.”

CS: “It’s also about… working with our colleagues and understanding how the marketing is done. The marketing is to sell tickets absolutely, but it’s also about respecting the artist and working with the record company. It’s very easy to think you’re just selling the show, you’re actually supporting the artist’s career. One reason why Marshall Arts has incredibly long relationships with the artists – we’ve worked with P!nk for 22 years – is understanding what the manager, as well as the artist, needs to actually help build the career. And now we’re at the stadium level, we don’t take anything for granted.”

 


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ANZ records tumble for P!nk’s Summer Carnival Tour

P!nk’s Summer Carnival Tour is poised to break the record for the most stadium concerts by any artist touring Australia and New Zealand.

The American singer launches the Live Nation-produced run, which will stop in 10 cities for 20 shows across 44 days, with two nights at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium this weekend (9-10 February).

Summer Carnival is already the biggest selling AU/NZ tour ever for a female artist and is set to place her among the top three biggest selling artists ever in the region, with close to one million fans expected to attend her dates in Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Townsville, Dunedin and Auckland.

“I said it was going really well but ‘I’ve got a challenge for you. Ed Sheeran did 18 concerts on his last stadium tour, and if you do add one more city, you’ll break his record,’” Live Nation Australasia chair Michael Coppel tells the Daily Telegraph. “She said ‘Let’s do it!’

“At this point we are over 850,000 tickets and she will sell 900,000 before we’re done, which will probably make it the second biggest tour ever in Australia [trailing only Sheeran in terms of ticket sales]. It will be the biggest ever tour by a female artist.”

The imminent tour will also see P!nk reach the milestone of more than three million tickets sold across her career in Australia and New Zealand – comfortably the highest number of tickets sold in those countries by any artist.

“One of the reasons Australians loves P!nk is she has put the time into coming here for more than 20 years,” says Coppel, who recalls the star’s first visit to the region in 2004.

“She sparked something with Australia because she is who she is, and the albums got bigger and bigger, and the tours got bigger and bigger”

“That first tour was a real struggle,” he explains. “She didn’t have an audience here yet, we sold 25,000 tickets over six shows, and we lost a lot of money as the promoter. But then she sparked something with Australia because she is who she is, and the albums got bigger and bigger, and the tours got bigger and bigger.”

Joining P!nk as special guest on the tour will be multi-platinum award-winning Australian singer and songwriter, Tones And I.

“P!nk was really keen on having Tones open because she wants to be empowering of female artists,” adds Coppel. “You’ve seen in America she had Pat Benatar and her good friend Brandi Carlile play.”

The blockbuster trek is also returning to Europe between 11 June and 25 July, before returning to North America.  P!nk also recently announced a second outing in North America for 2024, dubbed P!nk Live.

IPM will also delve behind the scenes for the Inside P!nk’s Summer Carnival session on 29 February at this year’s ILMC. Key individuals from the production and team will walk through the tour to discuss just how it came together, the key challenges it has faced, and how the production has delivered such monumental impact.

Confirmed for the panel are Okan Tombulca of eps, alongside Marshall Arts’ Barrie Marshall and Craig Stanley, while production manager Malcom Weldon – the recipient of this year’s IQ Gaffer Award – will join the discussion from on tour in Australia.

 


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Malcolm Weldon: The Gaffer

Harbouring teenage dreams to be a producer, Malcolm Weldon found himself becoming a stage manager and then production manager by default. But the recording industry’s loss has definitely been live music’s gain. Gordon Masson talks to 2023’s winner of The Gaffer award, who will also participate in IPM’s Inside P!nk’s Summer Carnival session on 29 February at this year’s ILMC…

Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Malcolm Weldon decided very early on that he wanted to pursue a career in music, and his unfailing work ethic saw him working multiple jobs to get a foot in the door. But live music was not on his radar.

“I loved jazz music, and I would study the liner notes on records to find out what all the associated jobs were,” he tells IQ. “I played bass, but by a certain age, I figured out that I wasn’t going to be the kind of musician that I aspired to be – Jaco Pastorius or Stanley Clarke. Instead, I made up my mind that I would become a recording engineer and producer.”

Determined to fulfil his dream, Weldon enrolled on a college course and worked every hour he could to pay for his tuition. “That was back in the early 80s, and it cost close to $10,000 – that was a lot of money for a poor kid from South Central LA. But I worked multiple jobs to put myself through school, and somehow, I managed it.”

That perseverance is something that has been a mainstay of Weldon’s career for the past 40 years and counting. “I mainly got it from my grandmother. My family were from Oklahoma and migrated to Southern California in the late 1940s, and my grandmother just had an amazing work ethic. Those were very hard times for people of colour, back then, but she just told me as a kid, ‘Whatever it is you want to do, you can do it if you put your mind to it and work hard.’ So that’s what I believed.”

Earning himself the credentials to be a recording engineer was one thing, but actually finding a job to match those qualifications proved to be a frustrating exercise.

“I didn’t want to do live. I just figured I’d be at the theatre for a couple of months until I found a gig, but that never came through”

Gran Designs
But luckily, Weldon’s grandmother – the fantastically named Sweetie Magnolia Ruff – intervened, with a little help from the force…

“My grandmother was a housekeeper and nanny for this family in Beverly Hills, the father of whom, Stanley Freberg, was one of the premiere comedy writers in Hollywood. My grandmother helped raise their daughter, Donna Freberg, and they became really close so that even when my grandmother retired, they stayed in touch.

“Once I got out of school, I kept looking everywhere trying to find a job, but I couldn’t get one. Then my grandmother told me she had been speaking to Donna, who said I should call her, because her husband, Todd Fisher, the brother of actress Carrie Fisher – Princess Leia in Star Wars – might be able to help.

“I really didn’t think my grandmother had the slightest clue of what I was doing, so I didn’t really pay her attention. About a week later, she asked me if I had called Donna, and I told her ‘no.’ So she forced me to call Donna, straight away. It turned out her husband had a recording studio complex, and he used to do all these live tapings, so I found myself working with Todd. There was a church congregation that used one of the studios, and when that church started to grow, I moved with them to another studio, and then when they outgrew that, I followed them to the Beverly Theater, and that’s kind of how I got started.”

Even having landed the in-house sound engineer gig at the theatre, Malcolm had not given up on his recording engineer ambitions and continued to work the nightshift at a grocery store as he awaited his big chance.

“I was still trying to get into the recording business. I didn’t want to do live. I’ve just figured I’d be at the theatre for a couple of months until I found a gig, but that never came through,” he says.

“Having worked in the theatre, I was used to rolling up my sleeves and helping out everywhere”

Meantime, his enjoyment of the role in the Beverly Theater grew and before he knew it, he had been the building’s sound chief for seven years.

That position came to an abrupt end when the venue closed. “I was forced to go on the road,” he says. “I had already been out with a little gospel group called the Winans who used to come through the theatre and who had asked me to go out with them for a couple of days or a week and stuff like that. After that, I did another offshoot called BeBe & CeCe Winans, and that led to a jazz artist, who also came through Beverly Theater, called George Howard.”

Starting out as Howard’s front of house engineer, because of budgetary constraints Weldon soon found himself stepping up his role to also mixing monitors, as well as setting up all the backline for the saxophonist.

“Having worked in the theatre, I was used to rolling up my sleeves and helping out everywhere. When I wasn’t doing my sound stuff, I would help with building renovations, so I did all the painting, screwed seats back into the floor, and a bit of carpentry here and there, so that was something else I was able to offer when I went on the road.”

A Foot Out The Door
Keen to learn as much as possible, Weldon pleaded with tour manager Marty Hom to take him on the road. “He would come through the theatre every year with different artists, and we always got on. Eventually, he asked me to help him out at a little event in LA called the Asian Pacific Festival. I think he wanted to see how I was outside the theatre and how I handled myself, so he hired me as a stage manager. It was a good move because sometimes people perform very differently when they are in an unfamiliar environment. But I guess I did a good job because a couple of weeks later, Marty offered me a gig working with Paula Abdul.”

“I’d come from a live jazz world. But I had seen some pop acts performing to backing tracks, so I didn’t quite realise what the situation was”

At the time, Malcolm admits he knew nothing about the artist. “It wasn’t the music that I listened to,” he says. “But at that point, she was growing and quickly became the Taylor Swift or Beyoncé of that time: she was on every magazine cover, and her albums were huge.”

The first work with Abdul was as part of the Club MTV Live tour in 1989, which also starred the likes of Tone Loc, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Was (Not Was), Information Society, and Milli Vanilli.

On the back of that tour, Weldon found himself working on the live shows for controversial lip-synching German duo Milli Vanilli. “It was interesting because at that point, I did not know about that kind of thing because I’d come from a live jazz world. But I had seen some pop acts performing to backing tracks, so I didn’t quite realise what the situation was,” he comments.

But having impressed Hom on the Club MTV set up, he was asked to return for Abdul’s Under My Spell world tour, meaning he found himself applying for his first passport as the production visited the likes of Japan, Korea, and the Philippines. “I was pretty young, when I think about it: I was 27 or 28, so it was an amazing experience.”

Indeed, as Malcolm began to get in the routine of life on the road, he began to forget about his recording engineer aspirations.

“I’m not just a production manager: I do whatever needs to be done at the point when I need to do it”

If I Had A Hammer…
Earning an early reputation as a reliable stage manager and carpenter, Weldon’s career began to morph, thanks in no small way to his willingness to get involved across all production disciplines, and he found himself involved on shows in a stage manager, quasi production manager role.

Talking about his desire to learn on-the-job skills, Weldon notes, “I see every opportunity to learn as another stepping stone for myself, and I think that’s true with a lot of production managers. For instance, I remember working with Chris Kansy when he was a guitar tech, and now he’s PM for Coldplay, Roger Waters, all that stuff.”

Weldon’s own promotion to production manager came at the behest of legendary artist manager Roger Davies. “I had been stage managing for a number of years for Roger, who I first met on a Janet Jackson tour in 1994. After that I stage managed Ozzy Osbourne shows, and then I went out on a Tina Turner tour. She was also managed by Roger Davies, so I was stage manager for that and a bunch of his tours.

“Eventually, Roger asked me to be production manager for Janet in 2000/2001, and that’s primarily what I’ve been doing since. But I still put my hat on as a stage manager or a site coordinator from time to time. I’m not just a production manager: I do whatever needs to be done at the point when I need to do it.”

As someone who regards every day as an education process, Weldon namechecks a list of people that he recognises as mentors. “Bobby Thrasher, who is also known as Boomer, was the production manager for Springsteen and for Billy Joel, and I worked under him for a while,” he tells IQ. “I also worked under Jake Berry, who is just a legend, but it’s not just all the different production managers, it’s also tour managers you learn from. I tend to take a little bit from everybody – ‘I dig what that person does; I’m not going to do what that person does, I’m gonna do it this way instead…’ so you take what you see as the best practices and adopt them to create your own persona.”

“The only reason I became a production manager was so that I could hire and fire people”

Higher & Fire
While Weldon remains as humble as ever, he has deservedly earned a reputation as one of the live entertainment industry’s elite production managers. But his motives to become production chief were not because of any personal ambition.

“The only reason I became a production manager was so that I could hire and fire people,” he reveals. “That’s literally true because I’d been a stage manager for so many tours where I’d try to get everybody to listen to me and do what I needed them to do. But it’s difficult, because they may have their own agenda and every department is trying to do their own thing. And because you didn’t hire them, you’re just stuck with them.

“I knew the only way to get around that would be to become the production manager. Now, I can bring in the people that I want to work with, knowing that they’re going to do it my way. If they don’t, there’s the door!”

Detailing some of his work ethic and philosophy, Weldon says, “Working as one, our common goal is making sure, at the end of the day, whoever the artist is, they know that everybody behind them has done their best.

“One of the main tasks of the production manager is to get everybody to work together, as opposed to each department just thinking about themselves. For example, when you start in the morning, if you have a lighting guy running cable across the floor that he may not need for an hour or two, you have to ask, ‘Why did you run that cable across when I gotta get all this other stuff across? If you’re going to run it, put a cable ramp down.’ It’s those little things that can add up throughout a day, so trying to get everybody to work together in concert to have an end goal is my biggest task.”

“Anyone who works with me knows that I’m not going to ask anybody to do anything that I wouldn’t do. But unfortunately for them, I’ll pretty much do anything to get things to work”

With more than 40 years’ experience, Weldon has amassed a contacts book of the industry’s finest crew and has assembled his own core personnel on whom he knows he can rely.

“You learn pretty quickly who the best people are, but I’m a production manager who’s really a stage manager with the power to hire and fire people, so I still think of everything in stage manager terms. I’m thinking how everything gets put into the carts, how the carts go into the trucks, how the trucks get unloaded, what order the trucks should come in, and what order stuff comes onto the floor.

“Unfortunately, for some people, I’m an old-school production manager, like Jake Berry, where I’m involved and engaged with loading. I’m not a production manager who sits in an office all day; I don’t even know what I would do in an office all day. But I know a lot of my guys would prefer me to go to the office,” he says.

“At the same time, I do try not to micromanage because that can also be incredibly irritating. Bottom line, I try to lead by example. Anyone who works with me knows that I’m not going to ask anybody to do anything that I wouldn’t do. But unfortunately for them, I’ll pretty much do anything to get things to work.”

The riggers, however, are safe. “I don’t climb. I’m not going up in the air; I’m sticking down on the ground,” laughs Malcolm.

“It does not matter how good you are, or you think you are, you’re only as good as your team. It’s like casting a movie: you’re trying to find the best possible cast”

That’s The Way Live Goes
Already armed with a dream team of crew he loved working with, Weldon assembled some of the finest talent in the business for his first PM job with Janet Jackson. “I just was lucky enough to get some of those people. And some of them are still working with me,” he reports.

“I had this gentleman that I kind of came up with in LA as a stagehand, called Kurt Wagner, aka Slap. He’s one of the best guys in the business: just a good, hard-working gentleman. Slap helped me from the start and although we kind of split up for a while because he left to work with Opie on the [Rolling] Stones, I was able to sneak him back for a little bit, so he’s my site coordinator for this P!nk tour.

“As a production manager, it does not matter how good you are, or you think you are, you’re only as good as your team. It’s like casting a movie: you’re trying to find the best possible cast.”

But Weldon is always on the lookout for new people to add to his crew and has earned a global reputation for mentoring scores of up-and-coming production talent. “I’d rather have somebody who has a good attitude and a good work ethic over somebody who can be the best at what they do but they’re just an asshole,” he says of his recruitment sensibilities.

“I’ve seen tours where one person with a bad attitude can slowly permeate throughout the crew like a cancer. You could have people that never had a problem with anything, and then, next thing you know, they’re complaining about something goofy. And you’re like, well, where’d that come from? It came from that one bad seed.”

“There’s no reason to be in the venue when you don’t need to be there. Even if it was only two hours or an hour, just to have your own private time is important”

Keeping It Together
Weldon is also renowned as being one of the best organised PMs in the business, taking great pains to make sure his crew members are not left waiting around for hours on end when they could be resting.

“That kind of thing can cause problems,” explains Malcolm. “Having everybody come in all together often means each department doesn’t have the tools they need to do their job yet because each department has a certain order of the day. You do rigging first, you get the power in, the lights come in and stuff starts to float up in the air, and everybody that goes underneath it all starts to build. There’s no reason to be in the venue when you don’t need to be there. Even if it was only two hours or an hour, just to have your own private time is important.”

However, he acknowledges, “The artists and managers only have a certain amount of time within the year where they need to make their money, so the tours are much more compressed these days, meaning that there’s less time for the crew to do everything.

“Between the promoters and managers, they understand that this is how much money needs to be made per week, and therefore, we need to do this amount of shows per week to sustain the tour. Often, the thought that people need sleep and time away from the venue is not necessarily taken into account and that falls upon the production manager to figure out.”

What About P!nk
At press time, Weldon was overseeing elements of P!nk’s Trustfall production equipment undergoing maintenance and servicing before being packed into shipping containers for the journey to Australasia where the tour resumes in February for a 20-date stadium run.

“P!nk, or Alecia as we know her, is the biggest star down there – she just does phenomenal business in Australia: there is no one bigger!”

“P!nk, or Alecia as we know her, is the biggest star down there – she just does phenomenal business in Australia: there is no one bigger!” states Malcolm.

Indeed, P!nk’s spectacular shows have been wowing audiences in Europe and North America over recent months, and when it comes to her aerial routines, her acrophobic PM explains that the aerobatics originated in arenas and have since grown in scale for stadium and festival shows. “It comes from the artist’s desire to get out and be as close as possible to the fans at the far end of the arena or stadium,” says Weldon, noting that the technology involved is very similar to the spider-cam systems used by sports broadcasters to get closer to the action, with P!nk effectively taking the place of the camera equipment.

“It’s all programmed – every move that she’s doing, there’s no way you can do what we do without it being automated,” he says.

The importance of that daring performance to the Trustfall show means that Weldon’s site coordinators and advance teams are key to the tour’s success. “I consider my head rigger, Gabe Wood, to be the best in the business, and we try to go to each building before we get there, just to make sure there’s nothing like pillars or anything in the way of the aerial part of the show. So, in stadiums for instance, we make sure we can get her up high enough to fly over the top of the delay towers. But at the same time, there are other things that are up there – lighting fixtures can often get in the way – so we’re trying to make sure there’s nothing in the way of the flight path.”

Another challenge for Malcolm and his crew are the trampolines that are used during the show by P!nk and her dancers and acrobats. “That set piece is 49 feet wide by 14 feet deep, so it’s a big space that it takes up on stage that you can’t do anything with – it’s just a dead area: once it’s built, it pretty much kills that part of the stage,” he explains.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re working with your best friend, if you see them every single day for 12 or 18 hours a day, they are bound to get on your nerves”

The production chief pays tribute to carpenter Judy LeBeau who has been tasked with the trampolines set-up and maintenance. “It can be split apart into two separate trampoline areas, and when it is split, we can raise the video wall, and that’s how we bring in all the support gear and whatever else has to come on,” he adds.

But the main challenge on the Trustfall tour, according to Malcolm, is quite simply the routing and making sure personnel get adequate rest.

“It’s a tight schedule – we work every single day,” he notes. “It doesn’t matter if you’re working with your best friend, if you see them every single day for 12 or 18 hours a day, they are bound to get on your nerves. So, the challenge is to give crew members time off, away from the venue, away from their co-workers.”

As a result, Weldon has set some procedures in stone. “All load-ins on the stadium runs start at 12 noon. Even if we arrive at the venue at six o’clock or eight o’clock in the morning, I won’t load in until 12 to give people as close to eight hours of sleep as possible.”

While stadiums often require three sets of steel, in Australia, the Trustfall tour will rely on just two sets. “The steel will leapfrog from stadium to stadium, and we’ve been able to plan for just two sets because we’re doing double dates in each city,” adds Malcolm.

“I hate postponements because I don’t want to build it all and then have to tear it down and then have to come back at a later date”

Post Australia, P!nk has already confirmed a return to stadia in Europe next year, while there’s also the matter of some North American dates that need to be rescheduled following recent postponements in Tacoma and Vancouver.

“I hate postponements because I don’t want to build it all and then have to tear it down and then have to come back at a later date,” says Weldon. “It’s a pain for everybody, starting with the patrons that bought a ticket. But it also means you have to figure out a place in the calendar that will allow you to go back to that city to make up that date, which can be especially tricky for stadium shows where the window for availability in a calendar year is very short.”

But he is in no doubt that the artist will do her best to make sure her fans are not disappointed. “Alecia has an amazing work ethic,” states Weldon. “She’s expecting everybody to show up and put their A-game on because she is putting her A-game on, every show. So we’re all doing the most we can to prepare for her so that she can do her best.

“She’s also a very kind and generous person who cares about her crew, and her band, and dancers, and everybody else around her. And she tries to provide as much love and respect for all of us, so that we all feel comfortable.”

Something Beautiful
However, when it comes to the best artist he’s ever worked for, Weldon doesn’t hesitate in his answer. “Tina Turner. She was just an amazing person – one of the most humble, kind, generous human beings I’ve ever met in my life. And you would think she’d be the opposite of that, through all the hardship that she went through in her life, but she was incredible. I don’t know if it was through her Buddhism, or whatever it was, but she just embodied kindness, and when she walked in the building, she would say, ‘Mal, how are you? How’s everybody doing? How’s the crew?’”

“Prince was an enigma. Nobody that I’ve ever worked for, or ever seen, compared to his artistry on stage. I’ve never seen anything like that”

Weldon’s importance to the artist can still be found online, with Turner singing Happy Birthday to Malcolm live on stage in Stockholm in April 2009.

Recalling another artist, who wasn’t quite so humble with his crew, Malcolm tells IQ, “Prince was an enigma. Nobody that I’ve ever worked for, or ever seen, compared to his artistry on stage. I’ve never seen anything like that. We did a bunch of shows in Madison Square Garden, where he literally had the band leave, and it was just him on stage, playing a guitar and a piano at the same time, totally captivating the audience like you could not imagine – especially a New York audience who can be a bit jaded, but he blew them away.

“But then, earlier that day, he had pissed me off, because he would ask for something last minute and it would be something I’d have to try to create out of nowhere. And then he’d be back in my face asking where it was. ‘You just told me; I’m working on it.’ And Prince would come back with, ‘Then why are you sitting here talking to me, when you should be getting it?’

“He was infuriating. But then you’d see what he could do on stage, and it was impossible to be mad at him.”

Outside of his work life, Malcolm admits to enjoying the simple pleasures. “I like gardening, I really do,” he says. “I like hiking and anything that basically allows me to enjoy fresh air because I’m always in a venue or in a hotel or an airport or bus. So, when I relax, I gravitate to anything to do with the outdoors.”

“Coming up in the business, and being a person of colour, I found out how hard and difficult it was for me to be seen and to get a gig”

Otherwise, any downtime he finds is spent with family.

“I have a wife, Laverne, two kids, and four grandkids, who are very important to me. My son, Nicholas, is a camera operator/video director, while my daughter, Camille, pivoted in a whole different direction. She graduated with a degree in clinical psychology and worked with kids with disabilities, autism, and all that kind of stuff. And then she decided to go back to school to get a doctorate and a degree in business so she could open her own non-profit. But she realised that after she would have gotten out of college, she would have probably owed over a quarter of a million dollars. So, she decided to take a little break, and she fell back in love with music, and now she’s a DJ.

“As a father, all you want is your kids to be happy. It may have taken Camille an extended route, but she’s happy, so it’s all good.”

Women Up
With that female influence at home, the historic influence of his grandmother, and the fact that he has worked closely with the likes of Janet Jackson, Cher, Tina Turner, Sade, and latterly, P!nk (all clients of Roger Davies), it’s perhaps not surprising to learn that Weldon is also a big champion of having more women on the road.

“Coming up in the business, and being a person of colour, I found out how hard and difficult it was for me to be seen and to get a gig,”he says. “But because of that, I want to try to take some of the stumbling blocks away for other people trying to find a career.

“There have been many times when I’d walk into a building and people would look around everywhere before they’d come to me to ask me where the production manager was”

“At the same time, I’ve found that women can multitask a lot better than men. You can tell them, ‘This is what I want you to do.’ And they go off and do it. And you tell them how you want it done, and you know you can leave them to it. Whereas, a lot of times, guys think they know everything. You know, it’s like a guy who’s driving to the beach with his wife and kids. And the
wife is asking, ‘Why don’t you look at the map?’ And he’s like, ‘No, I don’t need to,’ even though he’s lost in the forest.”

Elaborating on some of the prejudice and ignorance he has encountered, Malcolm opines, “Just because it’s the entertainment industry, doesn’t mean it’s different to anything else in society – it’s the same people. As a person of colour, I had to work twice as hard. I’d get up early to be the first to report for duty, and I’d make sure I was one of the last ones to leave, just to show the weight of my convictions and what I was capable of.

“There have been many times when I’d walk into a building and people would look around everywhere before they’d come to me to ask me where the production manager was. But I’ve dealt with that ever since I was the sound guy at the Beverly Theater – I would be the last person that they would think of as the house sound guy. That’s just life; I try not to dwell on it.

“It still happens. Fairly recently, I came across a gentleman at a venue who was ignoring my requests to move some equipment. When it eventually dawned on him that the boxes needed to be moved so that we could get on with things, he came to me to ask where the production manager was… He knew he was in the wrong, so there was no need for me to rub his nose in it.”

That calm demeanour has served Malcolm well over the years, and he is quite rightly regarded as one of the safest pair of hands with which to entrust an artist’s touring vision, and a deserving recipient of The Gaffer Award for 2023.

 


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Hot tickets: Ten blockbuster tours for 2024

Dominated by Taylor Swift’s record-shattering Eras Tour, 2023 was an unprecedented year for the concert industry, with business up double-digit percentages in virtually every metric.

Total grosses for the Top 100 Worldwide Tours were up 46% to a $9.17bn (2022’s total was $6.28bn), according to Pollstar’s year-end charts, while attendance was up 18.38% in total tickets sold to 70.1 million (2022: 59.2m).

But 2024 could prove to be bigger still. Here, IQ runs through ten of the blockbuster outings planned for the next 12 months…

 


TAYLOR SWIFT
Eras has already been crowned as the first tour in history to surpass $1 billion in revenue, but is projected to take its total to more than $2bn by the end of this year. The run resumes in Asia next month in Tokyo, Japan and lands in Europe in May, when highlights will include a sold-out eight-night stand at London’s Wembley Stadium, before returning to North America in the autumn. 

Territories: Asia/Australia, Europe, North America

Dates: February-December

 


COLDPLAY
More than nine million tickets have been sold for the Music of the Spheres tour, which began in March 2022, according to Live Nation. Coldplay recently confirmed an additional run of Australia and New Zealand dates for October-November 2024, which will see the band perform in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland for the first time since 2016.

Territories: Asia, Europe, Australia/New Zealand

Dates: January-November

 


ED SHEERAN
Sheeran’s + – = ÷ x (Mathematics) Tour was the seventh highest-grossing concert run of 2023 according to Pollstar, generating US$268,017,633 from 54 stadium shows in Australia & New Zealand and the US and Canada. His upcoming itinerary includes stops as far afield as Bahrain, the UAE, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and India, along with a slate of festival dates.

Territories: Asia, Europe

Dates: January-September

 


BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND THE E STREET BAND
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band sold more than 1.6 million tickets for their 2023 European jaunt, and are coming back for more this summer for a run of stadium concerts sandwiched between two tour legs in North America. The tour includes a number of US dates rescheduled from 2023 while Springsteen recovered from peptic ulcer disease.

Territories: North America, Europe

Dates: March-November

 


P!NK
P!nk further extended her Summer Carnival Tour late last year after shifting more than three million tickets for the stadium run so far. The ANZ leg, which kicks off in February, is already the country’s biggest-selling run ever by a female artist.

Territories: Australia/New Zealand, Europe, North America

Dates: February-November

 


FOO FIGHTERS
The Foos begin the year by wrapping up their Australian and New Zealand shows later this month. A European stadium run will follow in June alongside some high-profile festival headline spots, before a US and Canada trek later in the summer.

Territories: Australia, Europe, North America

Dates: January, June-August

 


GREEN DAY
Green Day are marking the anniversaries of their seminal American Idiot and Dookie albums by heading out on a global stadium tour. The Saviors Tour comprises more than 30 dates in North America and Europe, including festivals such as Rock im Park/Rock am Ring (Germany), I Days (Italy) and Isle of Wight (UK).

Territories: Europe, North America

Dates: May-September

 


DRAKE
The multi Grammy Award-winning Canadian will be joined by rapper J. Cole across many of the dates on his It’s All A Blur Tour – Big As The What? Tour. While the arena run is currently limited to the US, Drake has teased adding a European leg.

Territories: North America

Dates: January-March

 


BAD BUNNY
The Puerto Rican’s 2022 World’s Hottest Tour lived up to his name as Bad Bunny became the highest-grossing touring artist in a calendar year up to that point. The 29-year-old streaming sensation returns to the road next month for 47 arena dates across 31 cities throughout North America.

Territories: North America

Dates: February-May

 


KAROL G

Reggaeton superstar Karol G will make her long-awaited European tour debut this summer. The Colombian singer-songwriter will bring Mañana Será Bonito (Tomorrow Will Be Nice) to arenas and stadiums across the continent after completing a 27-date trek across 14 cities in Latin America.

Territories: North America, Latin America, Europe

Dates: February-July

 


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P!nk extends Summer Carnival after 3m ticket sales

P!nk has further extended her Summer Carnival Tour after selling more than three million tickets for the stadium run so far.

Produced by Live Nation, the tour returns to North American stadiums for a 17-date outing, kicking off on 10 August at The Dome at America’s Center in St Louis and wrapping up in Miami’s LoanDepot park on 23 November.

It will feature special guest Sheryl Crow, along with The Script and KidCutUp, as support across all dates.

The tour has already grossed $350 million (€324m) across dates in Europe, the UK, North America, and forthcoming Australia, and New Zealand shows.

The trek launched in Bolton, UK, in June this year and went on to gross $125m and sell one million tickets on the European leg. Stops included two concerts at BST Hyde Park in London, two at La Défense Arena (cap. 40,000) in France and two at Olympiastadion (74,475) in Germany.

European promoters involved in promoting the tour include Marshall Arts, AEG Presents/BST Hyde Park, Paris La Defense Arena, Live Nation/Werchter Boutique, Mojo, Peter Reiger Konzertagentur, Barracuda Music and Live Nation Poland.

P!nk led Billboard‘s monthly Top Tour chart for October after grossing $51.2m from 10 US shows and 271,000 ticket sales, split between two separate tours.

The 44-year-old singer played four Summer Carnival stadium concerts before heading indoors to arenas for the Trustfall Tour, making her the first artist to head the list via multiple tours. The Summer Carnival gigs generated $30.9m and sold 190,000 tickets, while the six Trustfall shows earned $20.2m from 81,100 tickets.

P!nk’s 2024 North American Summer Carnival Tour will stop at:

Sat Aug 10 | St. Louis, MO | The Dome at America’s Center

Wed Aug 14 | Toronto, ON | Rogers Centre

Sun Aug 18 | Philadelphia, PA | Lincoln Financial Field

Wed Aug 21 | Foxborough, MA | Gillette Stadium

Sat Aug 24 | Chicago, IL | Soldier Field

Wed Aug 28 | Missoula, MT | Washington Grizzly Stadium

Sat Aug 31 | Edmonton, AB | Commonwealth Stadium

Wed Sep 11 | San Diego, CA | Petco Park

Fri Sep 13 | Las Vegas, NV | Allegiant Stadium

Sun Sep 15 | Los Angeles, CA | Dodger Stadium

Tue Oct 01 | Hershey, PA | Hersheypark Stadium

Thu Oct 03 | East Rutherford, NJ | MetLife Stadium

Sun Oct 06 | Syracuse, NY | JMA Wireless Dome

Sat Oct 12 | Indianapolis, IN | Lucas Oil Stadium

Wed Nov 06 | Arlington, TX | Globe Life Field* ^

Mon Nov 18 | Orlando, FL | Camping World Stadium^

Sat Nov 23 | Miami, FL | loanDepot park

 


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P!nk, Burna Boy line up more UK/EU stadium shows

P!nk and Burna Boy have both announced more stadium shows in the UK/Europe after milestone concerts in the country this summer.

Earlier this year, Burna Boy became the first-ever African artist to headline a UK stadium with his performance at London Stadium (cap. 60,000) on Saturday 3 June.

The Afro-fusion star will return to the very same stadium on Saturday 29th June 2024 for a special performance alongside his band, The Outsiders, as part of the I Told Them… Tour.

Spaceship Entertainment, Whytelion and Coko Bar will promote the Grammy Award-winner’s return show, with tickets on sale this Friday (24 November).

Also in June 2024, P!nk will return to the UK with her blockbuster Summer Carnival Tour, which this year spanned 64 dates and grossed US$350 million.

Following her two sell-out headline shows at BST, P!NK will return to London with two nights at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

The 16-stop 2024 run includes stadium shows in London, Dublin, Liverpool, Cardiff, Glasgow, Bern, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Brussels, Leipzig, Stuttgart, Mönchengladbach and Stockholm.

Following her two sell-out headline shows at BST during the summer, P!NK will return to London with two nights at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (62,850).

The Script, GAYLE, and DJ and producer KidCutUp are due to support the star on the Summer Carnival Tour 2024.

The Summer Carnival Tour recently completed a North American leg where P!nk performed to 1.75 million fans with sold-out record-breaking shows across the country.

Its next stop is Australia and New Zealand, with shows in Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Auckland and more.

 


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