Tuesday, June 28, 2011

rock show: life on the road (part 1)

Life On The Road

Last week, I posted about a new series we're doing here at Bubby and Bean called Life On the Road.  The series will chronicle bits and pieces of my fiance Robbie's career, which keeps him (you guessed it) on the road, for a total of six months a year.  To give you a little introduction, here's an excerpt from last week's post:

Robbie is the Stage Manager for a band.  He helps make rock shows happen.  He meets incredible people and has unforgettable experiences all over the world.  He also lives on a tour bus (and sometimes airplane) with 12 other guys, works 16-20 hours day, and sleeps in a 3-foot wide bunk.  He wakes up in a new place everyday, but rarely sees beyond the back of a truck and side of the stage.  A few times a year I'm able to travel to meet him, but most often, he spends a lot of time away from home.  We'll just say that it's far from the idealistic group sing-alongs echoing through the bus of 'Almost Famous.' As creative people yourselves, I think you'll find this behind-the-scenes look into the music industry very intriguing - and probably much different than you might expect...

You can view the inital post in full right here, but that essentially sums it up!  So without further adieu, I'd like to introduce you to to my soon-to-be husband, champion Stage Manager, house chef, and expert robot dancer, Robert Hunter Williams.

on stage

Hello friends and readers of Melissa's rockstar blog.  You always hear people calling into radio shows saying, "long time listener, first time caller."  Well here I am, long time reader, first time blogger.  My name is Robbie, and I'm the Stage Manager for a professional touring band called Umphrey's McGee  You read a lot about things like design and fashion on this blog - things you don't find in the back of a semi trailer full of music gear - but there is an art to producing a traveling rock show. 

Part 1 of this installment takes place in a 48ish hour period, beginning the night of Friday, June 24th in Louisville, Kentucky, and ending the night of Sunday, June 26th in Columbus, Ohio.

On The Road: Louisville

Ready to work in Indianapolis
load-in in Indianapolis
Indianapolis show

show time in Columbus
Columbus, end of show

These photos were snapped on my iPhone on the midwest leg of our current tour.  Many thanks to my lady for taking my images and notes and working her design magic to tell the story.  It's an interesting story to be able to tell, with a crew of 8 working together to make it happen.  Everyday is different and every venue is unique.

I hope you enjoyed the initial backstage glimpse of life on the road.  I have a busy few weeks ahead, with shows at Red Rocks Amphitheater and Boulder Theater for 4th of July weekend, the Dave Matthews Band Caravan, a tour of the northeast, and some other stops in between.  I'll be sure to snap some more photos along the way.  See you then...


  1. Very cool! They are going to love playing Red Rocks! The acoustics are amazing!

  2. Really cool post. Looking forward to more!

  3. thanks robbie and melissa! that totally fascinated me. of all the concerts i go to, i had absolutely NO inkling, of all the behind the scenes, work involved. i always blamed the band, when we'd miss part of a set, cause we expected them to run late. assuming they were backstage getting stoned. i guess it really does take that long to get set up. or that certain venues really do kick them off stage if they play too long. go on, & rest sometime, you two workaholics. ;)

  4. Really cool! I'm glad you're including this in your blog. He must come home exhausted and delirious! Those 36 hours must be spent mostly sleeping, haha.

  5. Wow this is really interesting and I just loved the way to layed it all out melissa.
    Being a tour manager sounds tiring! But super fun I guess.

  6. Wow! First, what a beautiful post!! You 2 obviously make the perfect team! :-) I love how you put it all together to tell the story. Second, this looks hard!! Fascinating, but man it looks exhausting! When do you even find time to talk to each other when you're apart?? I don't think I could handle all that time apart. But I guess love conquers all :-) You guys are going to make some very creative babies, that's for sure :-).


  7. seems like a lot of fun, but a lot of work! talk about long days...



  8. so cool! it must be real hard work but so worth it! thanks for sharing :)!

  9. This is so cool! It's really interesting to learn all that goes on to produce these shows we go to. I'm looking forward to more. PS Could you two possibly be any cooler of a couple?? ;)

  10. That looks familiar. I toured as an Equity stage manager with Broadway shows for 10 years and am currently working as a local with the IA. =)

  11. what a cool series this will be! he seems like a very busy and dedicated guy :)

  12. Sounds like an amazing job! Great stage pictures!

  13. Great post! His job looks like it's equal parts amazing and difficult. I can't imagine my hubby being gone for that long, but it seems like you both really love what you do! I always wondered what went on backstage to make a concert happen. Thanks for giving us a peek!

  14. It's interesting to hear this side of things! Usually when people write about life on the road, you hear from the band members, not the people doing all the heavy lifting.

    Thanks for sharing!

  15. Nice to meet you Robbie! I have a question, do you ever get sick of hearing the same songs over and over? Or are you too busy working during the show to notice? Also, I don't think I could sleep on the bus; it looks like it would make me claustrophobic, but I guess you get used to it?

  16. I'm a big fan of concerts and fests and this was such a fascinating "behind the scenes" view of all the hard work that goes into putting on shows. Thanks for sharing this & I look forward to future installments!

    - Mandi

  17. I am already looking forward to the next post... I love going to concerts, but this makes me appreciate them so much more! Thanks for sharing :)

  18. Thank you guys for this amazing response! Robbie's psyched that you guys are interested and definitely plans to post again soon.

    Mary/Hideaway - he's back on the road once again but told me to tell you that he doesn't get sick of listening to the same songs, because he's so busy and focused that most of the time, the music itself isn't really even something he's aware of. (He's been known to rock out side stage from time to time though :)).

    As for the bus, I can tell you from my own experience sleeping on it that is it NOT comfortable, and it totally makes me claustrophobic! I can't fall sleep on it at all, but that's mainly because I start to feel nauseous when the driver goes around corners, etc. Robbie worked for another band years ago before he started with UM, and he said the first three nights he didn't sleep. Now he's used to it, but man does he appreciate coming home to his own bed. :)

    Thanks again for the support, and look forward to another post in a couple of weeks!


  19. Amazing! I had no idea how much work went into a show. It truly is an art itself behind the scenes! Love how you told the story through photos. Looking forward to more.

  20. Wow! And I thought our college choir tours were a lot of work. This is insane! I would go nuts with only 4 hours of sleep a night.

  21. What a great idea to share this on your blog. I look forward to more!

    Thanks so much for following my blog! I love yours too, and I'm your newest follower!

  22. Oh, what a schedule! Busy, busy, busy and so interesting to follow! I wondered if this behind the scenes glimpse wouldn't take some magic off rock concerts, just like the series revealing hard to figure out magic tricks... :) but it all looks great!

  23. this might be my favorite post i've read so far. i think all of us who work in art can relate to this on some level, even though this looks utterly exhausting! i knew a lot went into putting on a show but i hand no idea how much. i'm really excited for part 2!


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