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Update: First-Hand Account Of The Power (Not Sound System) Issue At Aerosmith Concert In Sturgis
A report from someone who was on the scene...
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aerosmith concert
A photo by Ben Shipmen taken from the backstage area during the Aerosmith concert prior to the power system failure. (More photos below)

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I just received the following update from Ben Shipman of AVA (Audio Video Associates, St. Louis), who was on hand with the sound crew for the Aerosmith concert a few days ago in South Dakota, providing more information and photos from the power (not sound system) failure. (My original post is here.)

Thanks much to Ben for these materials. Matt Lawson of DiGiCo produced the illustration, by the way.

Take it away, Ben:

Before the Aerosmith concert, we had completed five and a half nights of successful shows at the Buffalo Chip Campground Amphitheater, in Sturgis, SD, without any technical issues, other than the wind blowing over a ground-stacked subwoofer with some wide-fill boxes stacked on it before a show a few days earlier. 

This year, we powered the 24 Renkus-Heinz Versys VLX3 mains with eight MC2 Audio E45 and eight E90 amps processed by XTA DP448 processors.

Aerosmith carried two DiGiCo D5 monitor consoles and an SD7 at FOH position to deliver the best sounding rig of the event!

Ten great songs into an eighteen song playlist, we fell prey to a little house wiring mistake. Shown in the illustration and enclosed pictures below, there was a clean 200 Amp fuse box being fed from a transformer overhead just to the rear of the stage. 

About 100 feet away, was a second, identical 200 Amp fuse box that Sure Sound & Lighting tied their A/C Distro box into. 

Somewhere along the line, an electrician decided they would never cook during a concert, so he peeled off ABOVE our fuses and fed an adjacent 200 Amp breaker panel for the dressing rooms, a full in-house catering kitchen, a BBQ restaurant AND a Domino’s Pizza! 

Our full FOH and Monitor rig should have drawn under 160 Amp a leg.

Standing at FOH, taking pictures of the SD7 in operation, I heard the PA go down, and frantically forced my way through a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd to the stage to investigate. 

When I got to the Stage Right amp rack, I discovered half of the amps were dark. I immediately turned them all off and ran to Stage Left to do the same. 

Meanwhile, the electrician standing by quickly replaced the blown fuse at the transformer location with a spare.

We powered back up just in time for Joe Perry to announce the end of the show. I made it off stage in time to see Steven hauled off stage under cover and rushed into an ambulance and off to a waiting copter and flown to the Rapid City Hospital. 

I completely missed his fall from the 6’ high or so thrust they hauled in with them and built for the show.  I don’t know whether it was the recent leg injury, damp stage or a simple miss-step that caused him to fall, but I hardly think the loss of power to the PA can be blamed.

We all wish Steven a fast and complete recovery and return to a much-anticipated KISS/Aerosmith Tour.


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Comments (7) Most recent displayed first | All comments in chronological order
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Posted by audio visual one  on  08/12/09  at  11:26 AM
Come on you guys. you know that this is not there first concert for this hall so this has been going on for years. With some of the biggest sound and lighting companies running off this box.When we come to this neck of the woods we will ask for a the past we have rewired the service feed before the show went on @ $300.00 a hour that pays my electrician for the day we get all money up front.
Posted by Jamie Reed  on  08/12/09  at  07:13 AM
...Oops! Sorry for the spelling, I forgot spell check!
Posted by Jamie Reed  on  08/12/09  at  07:03 AM
From what I see I question what happened. Did the (fuse)fault happen at the primary or secondary side of the transformer? I would never let a show go to sound check with the shape of the service to beginn with. Fro the two pictures above I see: Multiple conductors under a single lug. Missing grounded conductor (Neutral)buss Aluminum conductors impropoerly installed (torgee,oxide inhibitor, multilugged, size, etc...) 200 amp service would require 4/0 aluminum conductors) Missing ground bar, gounding and bonding. Missing bonding screw ( Needs to be green) Missing bonding bushings Open knockouts Missing labels One more thing... I like the tape to hold the cover closed....

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