A By-The-Numbers, Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Production For Dallas’ Guns N’ Roses Show.
Guns N’ Roses will make its redemptive return to the Lone Star State tonight for a grand affair called the “Not In This Lifetime” tour at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
It is not the first Guns N’ Roses to happen in town in recent memory — in 2013, a version of the band featuring just Axl Rose and some also-rans played at the House of Blues — but tonight will serve is the first local gig from the majority of the group’s founding members since its iconic guitarist Slash quit the group in 1996 and since bassist Duff McKagan bounced in 1997, leaving a desperate Rose to attempt to stretch out the band’s lifespan with replacement players. The last time these three properly shared a stage in Dallas was in 1992, as part of the band’s “Use Your Illusion” tour.
Now, though, with nostalgic winds filling their sales and dollar signs surely in their eyes, the three men most responsible for the GNR sound are back at it and touring. Following a few triumphant festival appearances in April, the group announced “Not In This Lifetime” tour, which will stretch all throughout August.
“They’re getting along great,” tour production manager Dale “Opie” Sjkerseth said yesterday at AT&T Stadium during a media walkthrough showcasing the scale of tonight’s concert. “It’s like nothing’s ever changed.”
One thing that certainly remains at the heart of GNR is ambition: The “Not In This Lifetime” tour’s production includes a monstrous, high-tech stage set-up from production company TAIT that aims to provide an extravagance worthy of the band’s anthemic sound — one that GNR designed itself and includes a 71-foot-wide main stage, which comes attached with risers, LED lights, and a fully-automated video screens.
“The guys helped put the show together and everything they’ve asked for has been given to them,” Sjkerseth said.
Sjkerseth’s main production focus is to improve on the arena-rock movement of the ’80s and revitalize it for a 21st century audience. Sjkerseth also aims to bring Guns N’ Roses’ gritty rock essence back to the rudiments of the stage, with a leveled attention to spectacle.
“We all got together and talked it through,” said Sjkerseth. “They asked for these ideas that they gave to us and we put them together and developed them into technology. It’s much better than in ’92 because it’s the age of technology now.”
That said, not all technological aspects of AT&T Stadium will be put to use tonight. An email sent to ticket-holders last night warned that the venue’s massive own video board will not be operating during the show.
Still, there may be enough else going on to make that not matter. Below, let’s take a by-the-numbers look at what’s going into tonight’s production.
• A crew of 125 people are building the stage.
• Lugging this show across the country takes 20 production trucks plus 16 steel trucks, for a grand total of 36 trucks.
• And that’s before even getting into the tour buses, of which there are 15.
• Tonight’s stage took 36 hours to build over the course of three 12-hour shifts.
• The stage will feature 2 video screens divided into variations of either three or six columns.
• It will also include 1 piano lift for Axl.
• There will also be a shit-ton of fireworks.
• In total, the band has planned a 2.5-hour set list.
• After the show, the crew plans to break down the set-up in 24 hours.
Got all that? Cool. Now check out some pictures of the crew putting some final touches onto the stage yesterday.