Waking up at 7am I start to get ready for the next 24 hours of loading in, working the show and loading out. As I lace up my pumas I remember buying them a year ago as a congratulations gift to myself for getting the job of Center Stage Director. I can’t believe it has already been a year. My final event for Center Stage is beginning. Driving over to Convo I feel the excitement in the air as I park and walk into Entrance A. Everyone is ready including Wiz Khalifa’s sound and lights engineers and Campus Consciousness. I meet the tour manager and show him the dressing rooms while catering is setting up. Load in begins as we unload production. Everyone is needed to take materials down to the floor. The day zooms by as production goes up.
1:00 we pauses take a break and send some people away to get lunch. Barricades finally are set up while line check goes on. Center Stagers are running around everywhere plugging in sound and putting up lights. At 5 we are in show time mode everyone changes into their event staff t-shirts to prepare for the 3,000 students coming at 6:30. Since this is the first time Convo has sold out I cannot wait to see how great it looks with every seat filled.
We have our meeting at 6:00 with everyone you could ever think of: professional security, building managers, police, volunteers, execs and the managers of the Campus Consciousness Tour. Everyone breaks into their groups and moves to their locations for doors opening at 6:30! I start to walk around Convo checking on the students coming in. The building managers decide that lighters are not allowed inside the venue; some entrances had a decent amount.
Merch is being sold, ushers are seating people and ticket takers are you know… taking tickets. 7:30 brings set time for Mansions on the Moon. Nothing special but we didn’t get to choose the third artists with the Campus Consciousness Tour. Everyone waits anxiously for Mac Miller to take the stage at 8:30. Mac Miller blows JMU away but the real performance is still coming. Wiz Khalifa rolls up to our side entrance ready to take the stage. He brings an entourage featuring DJ Ebonics, Will his tour manager and Amber Rose herself. Playing a 60 minute set including Black and Yellow, No Sleep, Roll Up and some old songs from his ep Flight School, the stands were literally shaking as 3,082 people screamed and danced along.
The concert ends leaving UPB stunned with how smoothly it went. While Zach takes care of the meet and greet I head back to the stage to start tearing down what we just put together less than 10 hours ago.
Light fixtures are removed, sound wires are packed up and everything comes back up the ramp. From 11pm to 1am we work nonstop to removed everything from the floor. By 1am all that is left to take care of are the spot lights. I have worked 6 shows in the Convocation Center prior to this concert and NONE of them finished load out this quickly. Willy, the unofficial manager of Convo, helps us take down the spotlights with the fort lift and I feel a weird sense of being VIP when he lets me ride along side. By 1:30am we were ready to leave and head to IHOP. Turning around to leave Convo for the final time I remember all the other load outs and really appreciate the past 4 years and all the things I have learned from planning concerts. I could not think of a more perfect way to end my time with Center Stage.