Starting at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on May 8th was Taylor Swift’s latest stadium tour, ‘Reputation’, her fifth and most ambitious by far, with Stageco – literally – tak¬ing centre stage. Designed by Baz Halpin of SilentHouse Produc¬tions, the set’s main feature is a 172’ x 40’ V-shaped video wall that curves and continues into the stage floor to create what the artist describes as “an optical illusion”. While Tait provides the decking for the main stage, catwalks and two B-stages that extend, left and right, into the audience, Stageco builds the steel foundations and other structures including the delay towers. There wasn’t a great deal of time to get with the other vendors on the same page and make it all happen at a rapid pace. At a production meeting late November 2017 everything was laid in front of the various suppliers, and it was then clear that Stageco would be having a lot of critical technical engineering input. By March, we were at Rock Lititz for the four weeks of technical production rehearsals. Building only half of the system there because, believe it or not, the building’s roof height is too low for this design. Standing at a vertigo-inducing 30 metres high, this is one of the tallest structures ever built by Stageco. The V-shaped wall supports very heavy moving video screens and points downstage, giving the opportunity to deliver immense sight lines. There are also I-Mag screens to the sides and even in the ‘cheap seats’, Taylor is always in view. Although the stage space is 55m wide, because each side of the ‘V’ is 33m wide, it means she has a span of almost 66m of performance space to work within, and that’s before she ventures out on to the other two stages. Following a similar concept employed by Stageco for U2’s Joshua Tree stadium tour last year, Eighth Day Sound’s PA is hung on six radiating cantilevers, three per side, that extend 13m from their towers, with the off-stage pair positioned 2m lower. Due to the lengths of the PA arrays, the cantilevers are higher and further downstage than they were on U2. Six months in the planning, the tour arrived on the back of the album of the same name – a pop masterpiece that has shifted more than two million units worldwide. Having already featured in recent videos by ‘Tay Tay’, snakes have a large presence in the show, with a 30-foot cobra rising up behind the artist early in her performance, followed by more reptilian references and Medusa-like effects. Another effect that adds further excitement to the show is a flying gag that occurs twice during the show. Taylor is on zip wires that are connected to the front of house towers. It took quite some time to get them precisely engineered for this purpose. Stageco is fielding four steel systems, each transported in19 trucks. For most of the world tour, two teams of 14 are on the road. When part of the American system moved overseas to cover the six shows in June at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium, Croke Park in Dublin and London’s Wembley Stadium, they were all built using one set of steel but the process was subject to compressed load-in times due to the busy summer entertainment programs at each venue. Over the course of seven months, reputation will take on 51 shows in 35 cities, worldwide. Our guys won’t make it back home until the first week of December because our next big logistical challenge will be the Australian concerts, followed by Tokyo. We’ll have three different shows in the space of seven or eight days, so that will be very interesting!