Elbow return to the touring circuit with Audio Vertigo

The Manchester band returns to arenas for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic with a new production design inspired by their 10th studio album, Audio Vertigo. TPi catches up with the crew in Birmingham ahead of the band’s opening of the Co-op Live to find out more.

Alongside celebrating their 10th studio album, Audio Vertigo, Elbow’s latest live production marked the band’s first arena tour since the COVID-19 pandemic and, as fate would have it, provided the Manchester group the opportunity to be the official opening act for their home city’s new arena – the Co-op Live. Having not covered the band’s live shows since 2018, TPi made the trip to Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena catching up with the band’s long-standing crew and learn about some of the production goals for Elbow’s latest outing as well as why so many of their loyal crew dropped everything to jump back on their tour bus.

“It’s great to be back in arenas; we have the chance to do a proper arena show,” began Tom Piper, Elbow’s Tour and Production Manager. “On the arena tours, we have a crew that has done most, if not all of their shows, so it is like coming back to a family. It’s the reason I like working with these people who are all incredible professionals and great to be around.”

Piper, who has been with the band since 2000, is a picture of pride as he tours TPi around the backstage area with Show Designer, Cate Carter. The suppliers for this show comprised Lite Alternative for lighting and rigging, Creative Technology for video, All Access Staging and Productions, lasers from ER Productions, audio from Skan PA, trucking from Fly By Nite, and Bittersweet Catering kept band and crew fed and happy throughout the seven-show run.

Ensuring band and crew arrived venue to venue safely was Vans for Bands. “Elbow and their team are the loveliest group of people. We’ve been working with them for 10 years now, and it is always the highlight of our year working for them,” Spadge, of Vans for Bands, commented. “We have longstanding relationships with all of our suppliers,” enthused Piper, once again highlighting the importance of loyalty within the Elbow camp.

On the short but sweet tour, the production toured with seven trucks of kit. “The difference between playing The O2 arena at 20,000 capacity with seven trucks versus seven trucks at the Brighton Centre at 5,000 capacity is difficult but it means you’re not doing the same thing every day and the crew can build a fantastic show either way with the space, they will make it work,” Piper commented.

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Words: Alicia Pollitt