Latest News Headlines

ELO across the ocean

ELO across the ocean
ELO across the ocean

UK & USA – They may have their own distinctive flying saucer but sometimes, for Jeff Lynne’s ELO, taking the boat is the smarter option. “The thing was, we were down to the wire,” was production manager Richard Wearing’s terse assessment. “We simply had no time from the band finishing prior commitments here in the UK to going onto ELO in the States. The only way to get any proper production rehearsals for the US tour was to set up everything in Neg Earth’s LH2 production facility here in the UK, then put it in a sea container and ship it straight to the US‎.”

Not an insignificant call? “There are pros and cons on the financial side, yes it was a cost but there was no time to do anything else. When we got there we had just one set up day then straight into the first show.”

Fortunately, since the triumphant return of Jeff Lynne and ELO, which first began in the UK almost six years ago, they have always used the widely experienced services of Chris Vaughan as tour director, his company CV Productions, of which Wearing is a key part, steering the production management role. “That well-established relationship worked both ways,” said Wearing. “We in turn have built strong relationships with all the key production suppliers, Video Design, Skan, Brilliant Stages and Neg Earth in particular. If we’d had time we would have looked at other ways, but there are more important considerations than just gear; even with the gear you've got to find the ideal product. For example, we'd used Video Design before and knew their system worked and worked well. This tour is not dissimilar to the one two years ago in terms of the video element. Take the long view and it makes a lot of sense to keep the suppliers you know. Day to day, having a similar team meant we arrived in the US with a crew who were all very much, good work colleagues. That first show in the US just slipped in as if we'd been on tour for months; that's testament to how good a job Alex Leinster the boss at Video Design does and how good the teams are he puts together. It all just worked. Because that experience and the friendship already forged from previously working together is all in place, it works. That takes time to build up with new companies. And then there's the big question of engaging new US suppliers at extremely short notice – basically 24 hours to set up and go – would they go that extra mile when we need them to? Video Design certainly do: Alex and his guys are brilliant for that.”

Which proved to be a defining skill when the tour moved back across to Europe? “The risk was the same coming back; again, Alex was right on the ball. When we got to the first venue in Stockholm it was as if we'd just done a long over-nighter from the US eastern seaboard. Looks easy but wasn't; the shipping schedules slipped so we had to get the containers offloaded in Belgium, that was the closest we could get to Sweden. We then had to cross-load onto trucks and use double drivers to make Stockholm in time: Alex helped with all that with a cross-load crew to Belgium, an excellent job. He never drops the ball.”

“Nor do CV Productions,” chimed Leinster. “The fact is all such complex logistical operations require not just a skill in coordination, but a good eye for detail as well. For Video Design we make our contribution as friction free as possible, Chris and Wez are expert in creating a touring environment where everyone else wants to do the same.”

17th October 2018

© 1999 - 2021 Entertainment Technology Press Limited News Stories