Total Production

Tina Turner

December 2008 Issue 112


Still simply the best after 50 years... as Diana Scrimgeour discovered in California.

Eight years since Total Production magazine documented her farewell global outing on the Twenty Four Seven tour, soul legend Tina Turner, 69, has returned to live action with an extravagant 36-date North American tour, to be followed in the New Year with a string of ‘hot ticket’ dates in Europe. The itinerary that rolls out over the next six months will surely be the last chance to see this truly iconic figure on such a scale, and her two-hour show makes a high-octane, high-heeled nonsense of her age.


    Diana Scrimgeour visited the production in Anaheim and Los Angeles to report exclusively for TPi on a celebration that spans the Acid Queen’s 50 explosive years in showbiz.

Since Tina Turner opted not to make a new record, her new show relies on the strength of a legacy born on the road in the late 1950s. Turner has reconvened her faithful band and they have recreated a memorable catalogue of hits which, set in the context of Mark Fisher’s lavish set and Barry ‘Baz’ Halpin’s production design, results is an almost perfect arena show that delivers both spectacle and triumph.

 

    Born in Nutbush, Tennessee in November 1939 as Anna Mae Bullock, Turner felt as if she had been touring forever when she retreated in 2000. “I started when I was 20,” she said. “To be home and out of the business felt good. I didn’t miss the press, the lack of privacy, living in hotels.”

    So why come back? “I wouldn’t want to diminish my credibility, so if I’m ever going to do it, now is the time. I’m in shape. And once I saw some of the Bob Mackie costumes, I started getting excited.”


    While Tina has not been in complete retirement since 2001, performing a few times a year at small, exclusive, private shows, she has certainly downsized her workload. It took the catalyst of performing a blistering duet with Beyoncé at the Granny Awards in February, coupled with encouragement from her friends Oprah Winfrey and Sophia Loren, to persuade her that the time was right to return to the road.

    The dynamic look of the new show is the result of a creative team effort between set designer Mark Fisher, Turner’s long-time manager and executive tour producer, Roger Davies, choreographer Toni Basil (of ‘Mickey’ fame) and Barry ‘Baz’ Halpin who is credited as creative director, associate producer and lighting/production designer.


    Wheels were set in motion when Fisher received a call from Roger Davies. “We’re very lucky in this studio [Stufish] because we work with people who can really do it. Tina is a wonderful example and it’s been a pleasure because of that,” said Fisher.


    “I went to see Tina in March, and compiled an original a set list after that conversation. It was the intention from the very beginning to divide it into four sections: rock’n’roll, the film stuff, the unplugged bluesy section, then the big up-tempo things at the end and the encore with the cherry picker Claw.


    “We knew we wanted to reprise the biggest scenery that had been done from her past tours which we regarded as the big staircase from Tina’s early ’90s tour, the Iris from the Goldeneye tour of the mid-’90s and the Claw which was used in the 24/7 tour of 2000. Fortunately, the Claw still existed in storage at Upstaging and the Iris was on Tait’s workshop wall.


    “Toni Basil got involved as choreographer and came up with the idea that we should have a cage for the Mad Max sequence, so having designed a cage we had four gags, and we had a budget, so we cut the idea to replicate the big staircase, and kept the cage.


    “We presented the Iris differently because in 1995 it was hanging on two sides of the screen and tracked into the middle, did its stuff and then tracked away. This time we lifted it up from behind the stage as there was room to do that.


    “Our man from Stufish, Nick Evans, did all the technical co-ordination very well; he liased with Bart Durbin to ensure all the lighting worked and worked with Tait to make sure the set was delivered to rehearsals on time.”


    Mark Fisher’s history with Turner goes back a very long way: “In one conversation with me she said something along the lines of ‘I basically haven’t stopped working since I broke away from Ike’. I first met Tina in the early ’80s and, working with Barrie Marshall, designed her first major UK solo shows in 1983.


    “Roger was her manager and Barrie and Jenny Marshall were her promoters here in London. We did shows at the Hammersmith Odeon and the Venue in Victoria where we did two shows a night.


    “We took the old Pink Floyd mirrorball from the ’75 Wish You Were Here tour and a pile of aluminium spaceframe which was built for Jean Michel Jarre’s concert in China and was stored at Britannia Row’s warehouse. We took it all down, put it on the stage and made a backdrop that Tina performed in front of.


    “In putting this tour together, I went to see Tina three or four times at her home in Zurich and she is a delightful, funny, intelligent woman who was getting bored, I think, but wasn’t quite sure whether it would work.”


    Baz Halpin, who started working with Turner on some of her one-off shows about two years ago, co-ordinated all creative aspects of the show in addition to being the lighting designer.


    He said: “As the small shows came and went, Tina got more excited with each one and seemed to be enjoying the working aspect of it and being out on the road with the band and dancers. I had already been working with some of Roger’s other acts — Cher, Pink and Joe Cocker — so when the tour idea came up he asked me to start putting together some ideas.


    “She wanted it to be very much a retrospective tour, a recap of her 50-year career. While we repackaged a lot of Mark’s older designs, the show is not overly production-heavy. I was adamant that the show should be paced very rigidly so that it didn’t become sensory overload too often, because we knew that Tina’s obviously a super high energy performer and she’s incredibly intense, so we divided the show into sections, and into two halves divided by a 30-minute intermission.


    “The whole rehearsal period was very calm because in terms of scripting the show we had it nailed down six months before — going into it we had all the gags, timings and running orders worked out and we were very prepared, so by the time Tina arrived for rehearsals we were able to put her on each section and run the show as it was.


    “Coming from the LD/production designer perspective I’ve done many shows where you’re waiting on that information, and you can see — because of the time lag —  why the production can’t catch up, so I was conscious of avoiding that confusion. We were so prepared that we gave everybody a day off before the first show. We were in danger of being over-rehearsed and we wanted to keep the energy, anticipation and nervousness there.”


    The resulting show is a masterclass in how to stage theatrical rock’n’roll production. Spoilt for choice with an extraordinary back catalogue of songs spanning half a century, Tina and her team planned a show which is a true celebration of the all the qualities which she is so famous for: her voice and stage presence, her dancing, and her forays into the film world.
   
STRUTTING
The show is paced so that drama is never far away. For the opener, ‘Steamy Windows’, she descends from 30’ up in the air on a small, personal zip-lift to hit the stage for the rock’n’roll section, showing that despite being in her 70th year she can strut her stuff and sing the house down better than any other female performer, with high energy support from her four backing dancers known as her ‘Flowers’.


    During this section, the video wall splits for the first time and Tina appears as the Acid Queen — her gloriously trashy alter-ego from The Who’s Tommy film — complete with a flashing pinball machine reference. She struts playfully through ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’ and ‘Private Dancer’ before the production picks up pace for ‘We Don’t Need Another Hero’, featuring Fisher’s ‘Mad Max Thunderdome’ cage, footage from the 1985 movie, and Tina in full Aunty Entity regalia!


    There have been some comments in the media hinting that the bells and whistles production of ‘Hero’ is unnecessarily OTT. Baz Halpin explained the reasoning: “Tina is a theatrical performer in every sense. She’s been her own choreographer for years, she always had a hand in the costume design and I think the audience members who know Tina for her all-round persona from the movies and the various stages in her career love to see her up on top of the cage dressed as Aunty Entity from ‘Mad Max’.


    “By the time you get to the end of ‘Hero’ and the intermission you could almost leave as a satisfied punter because you’ve had so many tricks and gimmicks and gags.”


    Another aspect of the show are the ‘Ninjas’ who Toni Basil found to provide filler action in the interludes when Tina is off the set, changing costumes.


    Said Halpin: “Tina doesn’t like the idea of male dancers. Her dancing style is very much her and the Flowers — she’s always had ‘her girls’ and that’s the way it is, but she wanted some male input. The audience don’t get the Ninjas at first, because they first appearance is in a mock fight with security. Tina absolutely loves what they do, she loves the acrobatics and some of them are so artistic.”


    The second half starts with the acoustic section that includes her hit ballad rendering of The Beatles’ ‘Help!’, the slinky ‘Undercover Agent For The Blues’, the soul groove of Al Green’s ‘Let’s Stay Together’ and earthy funk of Ann Peebles’ ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’. Then the barstools are kicked away and the band launch into a fireball Rolling Stones medley, featuring long-time Stones backing vocalist Lisa Fisher taking over lead vocals on ‘It’s Only Rock’n’Roll’.


    Halpin said: “We spent a long time looking for a way to get out of the unplugged section. I think it was Roger who came up with the idea of a Mick Jagger tribute, which Tina thought was perfect.”


    All stops are pulled out for the final section, starting with the big production number ‘Goldeneye’, featuring Tina entering through the Iris, followed by video screen splitting into eight sections accompanied by the rear wall lighting effects for ‘Addicted To Love’, ‘The Best’ and ‘Proud Mary’ with the audience on their feet and the house rocking.


    The encore of ‘Nutbush City Limits’ and Tina sweeping out over the audience on the Claw is the icing on the cake, with the gentle ‘Be Tender With Me Baby’ closing the show.

PRODUCTION & RIGGING
Previously Turner’s stage manager, this is Malcolm Weldon’s first tour as her production manager, coming directly from loading Cher and Bette Midler out of Vegas. He has worked extensively alongside her former production manager Jake Berry, and though Berry was involved in this tour through the rehearsals, the ongoing crew gag is that his official credit is ‘Assistant To Malcolm Weldon’!


    Weldon discussed the production logistics from his perspective: “For me, the biggest challenge is just trying to get each department to work together as one group — to make everybody think about what they are doing and how it affects the next person coming along behind them.


    “I do things a little differently from other production managers. I look at it from the point of view of being a ‘production manager as stage manager’. I’m not an office guy, I’m still a box pusher on the floor! I try to get the equipment off the trucks and spread out on the floor where it needs to be. So when we’re ready to give the hands out to each department it’s all done in an organised way rather than a couple here and a couple there.


    “The challenges to co-ordination come from the fact that Tina works from a feeling perspective, how she feels for each tune and where she wants it to go. She started before there was any computer technology so it’s still the music as opposed to technology running the show. Tina is the show director, she runs the music and she is a part of every element of the show.


    “There’s a lot of automation and that’s one of the biggest things you have to get your head around because when something goes wrong with it, it goes wrong BIG. You have to rely on your crew chiefs and your crew are the marines — every one of them is special. They’re the first ones in and the last ones out, so you rely on them and how they see each problem. We’re doing back-to-back shows and sometimes multiples, so Tina’s working even harder than the crew.


    “One of the key elements of every tour, especially one of this size, is the rigger. To me he is probably one of the most important people on the tour, because if it’s still all sitting on the floor it doesn’t matter how [stage manager] Seth Goldstein and I try to organise it — it’s still on the floor! I believe Bart Durbin is one of the best in the business, it just doesn’t get much better and it starts from there.”


    Head rigger Bart Durbin, who works alongside fellow riggers Steve ‘Elkie’ Chambers, Paul Ingwersen, talked about his main concerns: “This show is very tight in its configuration. You only have a few inches between trusses so you have to be very careful as you’re rigging the show.


    “Everything on this moves, upside down, inside out; it all moves in some fashion and everything that happens correlates to something else so if you move one piece you have to consider what the next piece is going to be... it just goes on and on.


    “The stage itself is 52.5’ deep and 70’ or so wide, and the rig itself is 70’ deep by about 100’ wide. The floor ends at 85’ and then you’re up in the seats. The flown weight is about 105,000lbs, although it’s not as heavy as some other shows I’ve done.


    “The downstage lift is an airlift and the upstage is a scissorlift, the rest are all computer-controlled Vario-lift variable speed motors. I don’t have a lot to do with the Iris — the carpenters put it together and we just fly it. It’s not that technical, just a bunch of actuators that make it work like a camera lens. It’s a very nice effect but not that complicated. Sometimes the simplest things look the best.”

SOUND
Dave Natale has been Turner’s FOH engineer since 1985 — the word ‘veteran’ springs to mind. His relationship with Roger Davies stretches back even further, having met him in 1982 while working with Olivia Newton-John. I asked whether, at the beginning of a tour if there is any point before production rehearsals when he has an idea of how the show is going to be played?


    He said: “Tina will assume I know what I’m doing on every song because I’ve mixed them all before and a change in tempo doesn’t concern me. She’ll have a comment here and there about how she ‘hears’ the show, but there’s no big discussion because whatever she wants she’s right about. She doesn’t start fires to watch everybody run around. She’s very specific [gesticulating] that means ‘This, up’, it doesn’t mean ‘Everything else down’.


    “During production rehearsals, Roger comes and stands out front and listens all the time — every show, every rehearsal. He usually says nothing which I guess means it’s fine. He’s definitely hands-on. I like that, it’s cool.”


    The audio equipment is supplied by Clair Brothers/Showco and Natale is using pretty much the same kit as on the 24/7 tour. As he said: “It’s all the same, it hasn’t changed — all you have to do is look back at the issue of Total Production from the last time round!”


    His desk is the analogue Yamaha PM4000 and outboard processing includes Lake Contour crossovers and TC 1128 EQs. “I have three Aphex 612 noise gates on the toms and kick drum; two Manley electro optical limiters, one on Tina’s wired vocal mic and one on her wireless. There’s a Lexicon PCM 91 for reverb and a Yamaha SPX 990 but in these huge places it’s anything but dry so why add more reverb to the free reverb?”


    For mics, Tina and all the singers are using Shure SM58s; the guitars, congas, snares and Leslie (hi) are on SM57s with  a few AKG 424s and 451s. There are Sennheiser 409s on the toms, a Beyer M88 on the kick, DIs for keybs and a Sennheiser 421 on the Leslie (lo).


    Natale continued: “The only thing that new since the last tour is the PA: we’re using Clair Brothers’ I-4 line array which I had on the last Rolling Stones tour and on Fleetwood Mac and Mötley Crüe tours.


    “We always had S4s before that. The system is driven by Crown 3500 amp racks and somehow I seem to get a disgusting amount of bottom end out of this PA without using the subwoofers.


    “In the front on each side, it’s 16 I-4s deep with 16 of the new I-5B sub-los. On each side there are eight I-4s and eight I-5Bs for the side hang, and in addition, as they’re selling around a lot further than they thought, we have four extra I-4s each side that point upstage because it’s going around 240° and beyond.”

MONITORS
Monitor engineer Martin Strayer worked on the 24/7 tour and also a few one-off gigs in the mid-’90s. While last tour there were two monitor guys, one for Tina and one for the band, Strayer is now riding solo: “There’s definitely a lot to pay attention to. I mostly just have to keep an eye on Tina — she’s the one with all the speakers and she’s moving around the most. We’ve done seven shows and we’re starting to get into a good rhythm.


    “As far as communication goes she just looks at me and doesn’t say a whole lot. If there’s something she needs to tell me, she’ll point. She’s a real pleasure to work with.”


     Strayer is mixing monitors on a space-saving Digidesign D-Show Profile console. “It’s a smaller version of the original D-Show which in my opinion is the best-sounding digital desk out there.


    “I’m using Sennheiser eW300 IEMs with either Future Sonics, Ultimate Ears or Sensaphonics moulds for everybody but Tina. She doesn’t like them, she’s old school, as are some of the other guys. They like wedges so I’ve got a lot of speakers on stage.


    “Tina walks up and down at the front of the stage which has been built specifically with a trough in the front for her [Lab.gruppen-powered] wedges — there’s about 10 Clair 12AMs there just for her. Then I’ve got some old school Martin bins with M4s for side fills which are onstage at each side.


    “The guitar players have one 12AM wedge each and they’re just next to their pedal boards. [Guitarist] John Miles is an old school rock’n’roller and he tried in-ears but when we got into the United Center in Chicago, with the sound of the room, he just wanted the comfort factor of wedges.


    “Tina moves around a lot on stage, and when she’s up on the top level I have HL15s on their sides out of the way which are just pumping into the centre. Anywhere Tina is going to be, there are speakers.”


    The Clair Bros crew also includes Josh Weibel, James Higgins, Richard Schoenadel, Jeremy Bolton, Jay Summers and Thomas Huntington. The backline crew are Gary Grimm, John Ciasulli, Glenn Erwin and John Talbot.

LIGHTING
When it came to the lighting design, Baz Halpin was at an advantage: “The benefit I had from being associate producer is that I was able to blend the lighting and video, and work with Mark [Fisher] on all the different set elements right from the very beginning. As I’d been so heavily involved with every other aspect of the show before I even touched on the lighting, the look had already by default formed in my head.


    “When we got into rehearsal, my days were spent from noon till midnight as creative director, and from midnight to 7am in the role of lighting designer. Tina views herself as a rock star so we definitely had to have those huge rock looks but also there was this new theatrical element for which we had to double up.”


    Halpin was keen to use Lo Pro trussing for its speed of deployment and neatness. “I’ve been finding with a lot of the SwingWings and heavier trusses that you look up and notice the truss before anything else and that, unless it’s your goal, seemed counterproductive to me,” he commented.


    “I didn’t want just very flat trussing at a high level, floor light and then something at a mid-level. It couldn’t be too defined a look, but it had to be defined enough so that it was interesting.


    “The first thing was the rig and I chose Coemar Infinity wash lights for the blend of rock’n’roll. We had very little mid-range lighting and I was concerned about that because of the amount of gimmicks and gags and props that were coming in and out, and we didn’t have the budget for a moving truss system.


    “That’s why I went with the Lo Pro truss and put a little angled hinge piece in it so that I could get some variation in the heights of the sources without having moving trusses. They were down and angled enough into the audience so that for the big rock look it was very dynamic, but when they came down on stage to light the more theatrical stuff, the angles were so steep that the beams became quite subtle. That was the logic behind them.


    “We had the verticals at the back with the VL3000s. I chose them because they’re optically great and probably the best, most reliable light to hang on their side like that. Upstage I had a truss for one Syncrolite to backlight Tina when she comes through the Iris for ‘Goldeneye’. We also have some VL3500 washes back there for the cape for her Acid Queen entrance.

INTEGRATION
One of Fisher’s attributes that Halpin appreciates is his integration of practical lighting into his set designs. He said: “You cannot underestimate the value of lighting set pieces locally within the set or externally facing across it, and I think that where you can, and have the budget, it’s far more valuable to do that at construction/manufacturing stage rather than have the LD bring in some rental piece of equipment to tack on to it. It never works as well.”


    Fisher concurred: “It’s different in theatre, but the way that it works in rock’n’roll is that designers are very limited in where they can put the light because of the language of what they can get from the rental company, so I tend to design in all the ones that will enhance the appearance of the thing so that they get priced in the scenery and built.


    “For example, the big fan of ACLs — the ‘Bunker Blinders’ that make the big V across the front of the stage — was part of our original design, and that was a really strong look because they all radiate. We worked that out with Tait so that each bulb is about 0.2° from the next, resulting in a 10° spread across the whole thing.


    “We also built in cove lighting to deal with shadow lines along the drapes in that area, and then there are uplights on the handrail posts so that they can be lit without having to pile tons of light on to the staircase and make it look pretty. There are also lights in the Iris and the Claw, and lights in the truss so that it glows.”
   
ALPHA MALE
The real “bang for the buck”, according to Halpin, is the ‘Alpha Wall’ — a truly impressive bank of 80 Clay Paky Alpha Beam 300 fixtures behind the video screen. “We needed something enormous for when that first keyboard chord swells up between ‘Goldeneye’ and the Claw in ‘Nutbush’, but do it in a cost-effective way.


    “The Alpha Beams provided a stunning solution, with a wide range of looks that are full of impact without overwhelming other visual aspects.


    “I went out to Clay Paky about 18 months ago and saw the early stages of development. I’ve also used them on Queen + Paul Rodgers [see separate feature] and I just think they’re a wonderful light. They’re lightweight, low-powered with high output, very reliable and very quick moving. The colours are rich and there’s a good complement of attributes in there — gobos, frosts and colours for mixing and colour wheels. They look just beautiful.


    “We went through what seemed a million variations of trying to find a cheap way of getting these lights behind the wall and eventually I had go cap in my hand to the management, and say ‘I think it’s worth spending the money to get custom fixings made for this wall’. I felt confident and they trusted me. It is a show-stopper and it changes the look of the stage which gets bigger and angrier.


    “Nick Evans from Stufish got together with Adam Davis at Tait and came up with these custom brackets. There’s a Delta bracket on the roller, on which the screen rolls on and offstage, and it’s got hanging points for the screen tiles and lights. It has an even distribution of weight and is self-levelling. Like so many things, to do it properly you have to spend the money, and it’s worth it.”


    Lighting director Kathy Beer — who pilots the show on a grandMA console — was in charge at the production rehearsals in Hershey when Halpin was unable to be there: “Baz was calling me to tell me what he wanted and I’d try to get stuff in for him, so that when we finally got to Kansas City for proper rehearsals with the entire set, the band and Tina, we could hit the ground running.


    “It’s an easy set to light because it’s more confined; it looks big but the stage depth is narrow and there’s no B-stage or thrust.


    “Basically the main lights are the 62 Infinity washes and 64 Vari*Lite 3000s — our gobo lights — on the trusses either side of the video screen. We have the ‘finger’ trusses over the stage and down on the wings with the VL3000 spots and washes, and it’s all just basically about the beams. There are eight VL3500s are used for cape effect when Tina comes out as the Acid Queen, and the Syncrolite is used as her backlight on ‘Goldeneye’.


    “The Bunker blinders are built into the central riser of the set and are used a lot during the show, and we have a bunch of chasers for them. We have eight smoke machines and can use four stage right and four stage left depending on the building. We use audience lighting in ‘Nutbush’ with the Molefays bumping and flashing. Tina doesn’t request it, but you just know and feel when you need it. If it’s a good audience you bring them up.”


    Lighting is provided by PRG, whose crew chief is Ian Tucker. Others in the team include Doug Eder, Thomas Bider, Drew Johnston, Michael Merle and Steve ‘Six’ Schwind.


    The production credits also include Pyrotek Special Effects whose VP Lorenzo Cornacchia collaborated with Halpin on a variety of pyrotechnic designs. Pyro crew chief John Arrowsmith introduces the effects in each show, which includes everything from Dragons, Gold Flitter Mines, Blue Mines, Red Mines with glitter and Aqua Mines, as well as an all-fire cue of 20 x 20 Gerbs firing upstage to conclude the Mad Max sequence.
VIDEO


Halpin worked closely with video designer Oliver Goulet during the design process: “Olly comes from Geodezik who are based in Montreal and do really fantastic work with Cirque du Soleil. Olly and I have a very unspoken understanding of each other, so I can give him a brief outline of each scene and he’ll go away and create something beautiful.


    “Throughout the entire design process for any of the interlude pieces like Acid Queen, Goldeneye, the Ninja chase sequence, the musical director [Ollie Marland], myself and Olly were in constant communication so as another musical edit was completed, the MD would send it to Olly who would then change the video to match the music and send it to me for comments. Everybody was on the same page.”


    Video director Larn Poland worked with Roger Davies and with Halpin on Pink’s ’06 and ’07 tours. He is joined on the video crew by engineer Graham Holwill and camera operators Shawn Worlow, Tracy Calderon, Nicholas Weldon and David Boisvert.


    Poland commented: “I think we were very lucky on this one because Roger wanted to get this absolutely right on the first show, so we had  more time than I’ve ever been used to. I saw the show maybe 10 times before I had to put something on a screen in front of an audience which is very rare for a video director. It was a luxury and I think it really worked in our favour.


    “For my part, being given big chunks of live I-Mag and to make that progress and grow and turn it into something different was great. It’s the first time Olly and I have worked together and it’s very nice to be able to work with somebody who is quite content driven but very aware of I-Mag and how it can be used within content.


    “Tina likes to see her audience and interact with them. Her face is amazingly expressive which is captured all the time with the I-Mag. The ‘unplugged’ is my favourite section of the show where on the back wall we open up with an 8mm film look, black and white, lots of shutter and bit of recursive output to give it a slight flicker — that’s a fancy, Grass Valley Kayak way of saying strobe!


    “We mix in a bit of colour to the back wall for ‘Let’s Stay Together’, and then I kind of squash the frame and bring up small boxes of instruments as they arrive and change those four boxes. We’ve only got four cameras so it’s a bit difficult, but I’ve got four different inputs of different sizes.”


    The video kit is all supplied by Nocturne. The audience see four soft side screens which are fed by two front and two rear Barco R12 projectors. On the back wall there is 36’ x 23’ of V9 LED screen which breaks up into eight columns and variations.


    Poland continued: “We have five Ikegami cameras, two at FOH on 66:1 lenses, one in the pit on a vertical dolly, and two hand-helds either side of the stage. I’m cutting the show on the GV Kayak with 1.5 MEs and from there the system includes Vista Spyder processing, a Medialon and a Nugget hard drive playback system, which is like having four Doremis.


    “Only two songs are MIDI-triggered because Tina extends or shorten songs according to how the crowd react to them during the show. To know what’s going to happen during the show I just have to watch Tina and get the vibe from the MD and key members of the band who generally have to make the changes in the music.


    “Sometimes she just gives it a ‘one more time’ which is quite obvious and they just go through it for another couple of bars. It grows as well — if Tina’s having a good time then she’s going to want to stay out there a bit longer.”


    Finally, Larn Poland offered some stern advice for the latest generation of would-bes. “Tina’s the ultimate professional. A lot of kids could really learn from her. We often work for Fame Academy/Pop Idol types who expect it all to look amazing but are only willing to do a quick soundcheck. But it takes a lot of work.


    “Tina was in rehearsals every single day for as long as she needed to be there. I’m not a music critic, but I kind of get the sense that she’s always listening to everything behind her and she’ll occasionally turn and give somebody a smile. She knows exactly what’s going on and where it should be.”
TPi


Photography by
Diana Scrimgeour

 

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