So just how much planning and consideration goes into a production like TSO’s tour, and just how can so many appearances be made possible?

TSO tour and production director Elliot Saltzman told Pollstar all about the specifics of organizing the operation, where it came from, and where it’s going.

First off, the tour consists of two bands, Saltzman said. TSO was originally a single band that was split in two because of high demand for shows during a relatively short period of time.

One band takes on the East Coast as another takes on the West Coast, but they play virtually identical shows. By identical, that means lights, sound, stage production and pyro are all the same. The most noticeable difference would be the cast on each leg of the tour.

Saltzman said the planning for the production side of the tour begins in late August or early September each year.

“Our West Coast tour manager, production manager and production coordinator, as well as the East Coast tour manager, road manager, production manager and production coordinator come to New York City and we start doing the tour, production-wise,” Saltzman said.

This year, after nearly two months of planning, the production coordinators left for Lakeland, Fla., October 20, where the entire cast and crew set up side by side to rehearse until November 3.

“We actually have both systems – sound, lights, stage production, everything – set up at once,” he said. “Basically, we have 16 trucks full of sound, lights, pyrotechnics and lasers in one venue. Then, we check everything for a long time, because once we hit the road, there’s no room for any mistakes or any problems.”

Part of that drive for perfection is aided by the fact that both sides of the touring company work with a very select group of vendors that have been committed to the tour for years, Saltzman explained.

“I started cutting the deals seven years ago,” he said. “I have the same lighting vendor although it went through a name change. I have the same trucking company and the same sound company, the same pyro company and the same laser company as I’ve had since the beginning.

“I spent seven Christmas dinners and Thanksgiving dinners with a good 80-85 percent of these people,” Saltzman continued. “That’s more than I spend with my wife.”