With a relatively stripped-back production that maintained more of a focus on the music rather than extravagant staging, legendary rock band Bon Jovi took a capacity crowd on a journey through 30 years of hits during their recent Abu Dhabi appearance.
As one of the first huge events to kick off this season, Bon Jovi fans came from far and wide to the du Arena, Yas Island, in October to be entertained by the legendary rock band, making its second appearance in the emirates courtesy of Flash Entertainment.
With the arena brimming close to capacity, over 25,000 fans danced and sang their hearts out to a stream of hit songs including It’s My Life, You Give Love a Bad Name and — of course — the band’s most well-known anthem, Livin’ on a Prayer.
While it may have been the penultimate show in the band’s ‘Bon Jovi Live!’ tour, the show signalled the start of the new 2015 season for Flash Entertainment which, with The Dave Matthews Band and Mötley Crüe concerts following shortly after, looks set to be as busy as ever for the Abu Dhabi-based behemoths of the live events world.
Amid the madness, Sound & Stage managed to catch up quickly with vice president of operations, Lee Charteris, to find out a few more facts about the Bon Jovi gig.
How long was the build-up for the concert and were there any special considerations or challenges along the way?
We had a three-day production load-in, then the band and their equipment came in on show day. This is obviously the second time we have presented a Bon Jovi show, so comfort levels were high and the guys were fairly relaxed about our team and suppliers, knowing that they would be well looked after.
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What equipment travelled with the band and were there any adaptations or special provisions that you needed to make for the venue?
The band came with backline, monitors and FOH control. We constructed a four-tier, 40m deep by 60m wide VIP platform. The show was a pretty much a straight ahead rock show, made special by the use of two 7.8m x 10.8m (7.5mm resolution portrait) IMAG screens. Upstage centre screen was replaced by a touting backdrop.
With the venue close to capacity, did you bring in extra security measures or crowd control to assist the flow in and out of the venue?
This is a standard crowd size for the larger concerts on Yas Island. Our working relationship with G4S (security), AD police and National Ambulance means that we are well set for such numbers. The arena will easily accommodate 40,000 people so we could cope easily with the 25,000+ attendees. In truth it was a nice reminder for us, and all Abu Dhabi stakeholders, as we approach the F1 after race concerts that see a larger attendance than this on a daily basis.
Promoter/producer: Flash Entertainment
Event operations director: Lee Charteris
Operations/production manager: Haidar Shukry
Project manager: Maxine English
Project associate: Rebecca Nunnen
Arena Event Staff technical production manager: Haidar Shukry
Production assistant/accreditation: Francesca Berger
Site manager: Gordon Vaz (Noizee Productions)
Stage manager: Nigel Beaton (Gulf Crewing Company)
Artist liaison: Jane Martinez
Production runner: Mohammed Asif (Fourth Dimension)
Joint operations centre: Carolyn Manliclic
Sound coordinator FOH: Robert Eatock (Delta Sound)
Lighting coordinator: Damien Jackson (PRG Gearhouse)
Production and Site Contractors
Audio: Delta Sound
Lights: PRG Gearhouse
LED Screens: PRG Gearhouse
Power: Michael Kennedy, Neal Large (eclipse)
Scaffolding/fencing/plant hire/barriers: AES
Radios: Delta Sound
Arena Food & Beverage: Royal Catering/Hippy
Backstage crew catering: Royal Catering
Production/site crew: Gulf Crewing Company
Accreditation: Security Solutions - Jo Willoughby
Ushers & merchandise sellers: W.O.W
Site cleaners: Veolia
First Aid/medical support: National Ambulance