– Helene Fischer stadium tour 2018
Megaforce built the stage, eps delivered 100,500 chairs, among a lot else
When Helene Fischer took a break from her year-long arena tour this summer, it wasn’t to go on vacation, but to perform 14 shows at 12 stadiums in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Promoter Semmel Concerts sold 550,000 tickets for the stadium tour, which was one of the biggest concert productions to ever hit the road in Germany. Pollstar spoke with the people involved in the production, including eps managing director Celine Kühnel, Megaforce CEO Michael Brombacher and Semmel Concert’s production manager Holger Schleicher.
“Usually, when we’re on the road with a production of that size, it’s a U.S. or UK production,” Kühnel said. She must know, seeing that the other tours she oversaw in 2018 include Ed Sheeran, Beyoncé and Jay Z, as well as Guns N’ Roses.
As opposed to her international colleagues, Helene Fischer only has three markets to tour, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, rather than the entire world, which puts the entire project into perspective.
Over the course of 14 dates, eps provided 170 entrance gates, 10,500 meters of barrier systems, 18,000 square meters of ground protection, 9,500 meters of crowd control barriers, 57,000 square meters of turf protection, 30,000 square meters of heavy duty flooring, and 100,500 chairs.
Yes, chairs. The stadium tour had floor seating, which only added to its uniqueness.
Depending on its size, each stadium required between 6,000 and 12,000 chairs, which had to be meticulously positioned to ensure that guests would quickly find their seats. “It was a real challenge to get all the chairs in place in time for each show. It took a lot of preparation, and a lot of staff,” Kühnel recalled.
Eps is usually the first on site, given that it delivers the base infrastructure, including heavy-duty floors for the stage, which was custom-built by Megaforce. The German production experts created a design stage that’s 30 meters high, 60 meters wide and some 25 meters deep, or 60 meters deep, if one includes the arrow-shaped runway, which included a pool. A total of 1000 square meters of LED was used, including on the giant H that made up the center of the stage.
Three cranes were necessary to assemble the giant steel beams used in the construction, and 60 trucks were necessary to transport it. Because of Fischer’s tight routing, it wouldn’t have been possible to assemble and disassemble the stage before and after each show, which is why Megaforce built three stages.
Megaforce CEO Michael Brombacher was working with very short lead times. To turn Fischer’s ideas into reality, Brombacher had eight weeks, plus another seven weeks to marry the stage with lighting by Vince Foster, sound by L-Acoustics, video content by The Good Company and kinetics by Brilliant.
“Based on the mass of materials it was one of the largest project in our company’s history,” Brombacher told Pollstar. “Even during test construction, I was impressed by its sheer size. Seeing the 30-meter high PA cantilevers, I was awestruck.
“I saw the show for the first time in Munich. The whole thing looked even more impressive in combination with a full Olympic Stadium, of course.”
– Helene Fischer
Making sure everybody in the stadium gets to see her up close
According to Semmel Concert’s production manager Holger Schleicher, Fischer’s stage was about the same size as the one the Rolling Stones used on their last No Filter tour. Since the technical production elements (light, sound, pyros, lasers, stage lifts and additions) as well as the independent power supply didn’t exist in triplicate like the stage, it had to be transported from city to city.
“The technical and traveling crew alone was 100-strong. You have to, of course, add the artists, caretakers and the entire organizational team. The build-up was realized with the help of an additional 200 production hands and within 30 hours in a shift operation,” Schleicher explained.
The enormous safety regulations and requirements of the past years made Schleicher’s job even more demanding. During one part of the stadium show, Fischer would get on top of a pickup truck and perform while riding around among the crowd. “This was particularly challenging, since the far-reaching safety aspects had to be considered,” he explained.
“The weather situation has changed in the past years. We’re planning with completely different safety hazards than we used to a few years ago. “In that regard, inserting and securing the huge LED walls is a challenge, because they pose an enormous wind load.”