If you’ve ever wondered what happens behind the scenes of a major concert tour, wonder no more. Eric Church invited the CBS This Morning cameras to follow him for 24 hours from Fresno to Los Angeles during the most recent leg of his The Outsiders World Tour.
Seventy percent of an artist’s income depend on live shows, and Church has been touring non-stop since September. Mark Strassman got a rare look at the work, and money, involved in an arena road show. The entire segment can be viewed below.
Church’s entourage includes a crew that works at least 18 hours per day on show nights assembling the stage, lighting rig and sound system in about six hours and tearing it all down in two. The production and crew travel the country on 12 buses and 14 semis. The estimated cost of fuel for all of the vehicles to travel the 220 miles from Fresno’s Save Mart Center to the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles is at least a quarter of a million dollars.
According to Church’s management firm, Q Prime Entertainment, the tour will cost $19 million for its nine month trek. The stage alone cost $3 million or $100k per week. Trucks and buses cost $3.9 million. The lighting, audio and video costs $2.5 million and it costs nearly $2 million more to pay the crew who collectively accumulate over 2,000 man hours of work each night for fans to enjoy the two hour show.
“These guys, they’re my family,” Church tells Strassman. “They would have my back in any situation, and I would have theirs. They’ve busted their ass since 7 am, and they’ve been out there doing what they do. And I feel like when I walk out there, I get to, for them, spike the ball.”
“They would have my back in any situation, and I would have theirs.”
It was just last weekend in Salt Lake City that Church was practically band-less and crew-less as much of his entourage was hit with a bad stomach bug and couldn’t perform their duties. Instead of canceling the show and ruining concertgoers’ Saturday night, Church gave fans a stripped-down performance reminiscent of his days as a scrappy club performer.
The production and stage was scaled back – only four spotlights and a minimal floor lighting package showcased Church in this unique setting. Guitar players Jeff Hyde, Jeff Cease and Driver Williams joined Church for a few songs. Opening act Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale joined Church onstage for a remarkable acoustic rendition of “That’s Damn Rock and Roll.” Church worked all six mic positions (scaled back from the normal 14) performing to every section of the 360 degree setup.
“Well, so I am. Here’s the deal, yesterday we had the stomach flu strike our band, our crew, everyone. We had no one to hang video, lights, nothing. But I’m still here. I’m still standing. We’ve talked about how every show on the Outsiders Tour is different. Well tonight, will be the most different one. Shit there’s nobody left, its just me. I’m going to give you everything I got. We have a couple band guys that feel ok to get up and down here. Here’s the deal – on Memorial Day we’re going to come back and play the full show. I’m not going anywhere, I’m here to play. Its gunna be crazy.”
That bonus show will be performed on May 25th with supporting acts to be announced at a later date.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.