My wife and I were stage crew volunteers for the Super Bowl half-time show. I was not expecting it to be such a magical experience. But, it certainly was. I think the following letter from Cap Spence, Super Bowl staging supervisor, beautifully sums up the experience.
Dear Indianapolis (and beyond) Stage Crew Volunteers,
We know how you feel.
Now that the sparkle of sequins, flash of the lighting, ringing in your ears has faded away, you begin to wonder if it really happened, yet you know it did. So much time, drama and feelings invested and it is over in less than 13 minutes.
You are happy and you are sad. So are we. Just another part of show business. It happens to us as well. On every gig. This part is always shot through with joy and sadness. It is also, in show business as in life, inevitable.
We have returned to our homes or to another project. Your beloved staging and lighting carts have been stripped of their state-of-the-art electronics. The wheels and some re-usable parts of the stage are in the back of two semi’s somewhere between Lucas Oil Stadium and Torrence, California. The video tiles headed home to Orlando, Florida. The rest of it has been dismantled, cut to pieces and fills six 60 yard dumpsters somewhere in Marion County.
You did an incredible job from the very first night. Everyone was very pleased and for that, the credit goes to many, but it could not have happened without you. Of that, one can be certain. Once again, The Super Bowl Halftime Show enjoyed better domestic TV ratings than the game with just over 114 million viewers, the most watched show in US television history.
We hope you made new friendships or renewed old ones. Many Halftime cart crews still get together on a regular basis, especially around Super Bowl time.
As we all go forward, try to remember a few things we shared
- In life, as well as when plowing with a mule or setting a Super Bowl Stage, pick out your destination, keep your eyes on it and go there. Otherwise, you are just….well, you know.
- The value of stories. The human mind is not made for emails and instant messages which say C U soon or luv U 2. It is hard-wired for stories and what they teach us. We are hopeful you have a few Super Bowl stories of your own.
- How to stand around and wait and wait and wait. (We call this standing still at breakneck speed.)
- Drink water. It is good for you.
- The most critical measurements in this show, the precise positioning of the stage, were made by George and Graeme using a yellow nylon truck strap.
- When presented with unexpected circumstances, use your thumb.
- What it feels like to unplug from the Internet, cell phone, iPod, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, TV and video games for a while and look into the eyes of another human being. See them. Feel their presence and count on them to do their part. To mutually strive for and accomplish a very complex and difficult task, under the most rigid of timelines, at absolute ground zero of the hottest, most intensely focused media spotlight in the television world. Madonna was there with us. That place where magic is.
Thanks, again Indianapolis Volunteers. We are crazy about you!
Super Bowl Half-time Staging Supervisor