Friday, November 30, 2007
Elton Plays Canberra Tonight!
Site manager Matt Harris, along with 80 other workers, was kept busy at Commonwealth Park yesterday preparing it for Sir Elton John's first Canberra concert tonight.
"I've been here since Monday," Mr Harris said, "when we laid the ground out. Tuesday, the marquee turned up and we put the scaffolding in; Wednesday, the seats rolled in and the generators were brought up. The piano arrives today [Thursday]."
At noon yesterday, though, there was no piano and no hint of celebrity glamour, just a lot of hard work taking place with the crew working 14- to 16-hour days to ensure everything is ready.
Giant screens on the sides of the stage stood silent and dark, waiting for tonight when they will play their part in entertaining the people who will fill the sea of white plastic chairs 7700 of them and the general admission area, which will accommodate at least another 1500 fans.
Sir Elton will arrive on his private plane, after Mr Harris and the other workers have finished, and he'll be on to his next venue, in the Hunter Valley, while they're dismantling their hard work.
"I've been doing it for seven years, full time, with my own company, Global Events Management," Mr Harris said.
He's worked for Sir Elton's promoter, Michael Chugg, before, on Robbie Williams, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, WaveAid and other tours and events.
He said the most important part of his job was simply, "Getting it ready; making sure it gets started on time ... making sure it's all set in place before the doors open."
When he's finished here, by Tuesday, Mr Harris will be taking some time off for a special production of his own: his wife, Tania, is expecting their first child on December 8.
Sir Elton John is performing in The Rocket Man Solo Tour at Stage 88, Commonwealth Park, tonight. The gates will open at 5pm with Eran James performing from 6.55pm and Sir Elton from 8pm. Tickets are still available from Ticketek on 132849 or log on to www.ticketek.com.au for details.