That name cracks me up. ‘Spacebar’ is the tour industry term for the position of Programming Engineer. It is a massive oversimplification, while at the same time, if you do your job correctly, that is exactly all you do during the show. The dark side of the spacebar are the moments, always unexpected, where you keep the space ship from spinning out of control.  

The modern day touring production is like a digital three ring circus. From the audience perspective the sound, lights, video, lasers, pyro, and performance are quite a sight to behold. Behind each show, there are scores of people, miles of cables, a jammed wireless spectrum, and a 16+ hour work day, that are rarely witnessed by anyone outside of the space ship. At the Spacebar, all must go right, or a lot can go wrong. It is one of the critical pressure points for each show. 

Photo Credit: Roger Niederberger,  Clair Bros. Audio

Photo Credit: Roger Niederberger, Clair Bros. Audio

Thanks to companies like MOTU, Alclair, and iConnectivity, managing the Spacebar with a show, like the El Dorado World Tour, is as easy as it can be. Most think that tracks are the main purpose of the Programming Engineer. They are not wrong, but that is only 25% of your job. Time Code, Troubleshooting, and Connectivity, are the other 75%. Without all of those areas in balance, there is no show. Period.

With every gig, you learn something new, and get some unexpected adventures along the way. One of those with this tour, is confetti. Depending on the air currents in the venue, it is either a nice thing to look at, or you get buried in it. I feel for FOH (Front of House), since they are surrounded by big stadium-fill confetti cannons every night, and get covered on a daily basis. The pyro guys at Strictly FX have helped me out though, and found an umbrella for me to shield the Spacebar with, protecting it from falling pyro powder, and attempting to keep out as much confetti as possible.

Europe is behind us, we are mid way through the US leg of tour, and will soon be heading to South America. I’m sure many more adventures await! With a great crew, solid routine, and a helpful umbrella, the Spacebar will keep sailing smoothly along! 


- Hans

Photo Credit: Dave Peluso,  Strictly FX

Photo Credit: Dave Peluso, Strictly FX