The Who's show Saturday at the Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center, an amphitheater in the Indianapolis suburb of Noblesville, Indiana, was one for the birds ... literally.
Band tech Brian Kehew, writing in his Backstage Blog, says, "We are only the second show here this season. And, surrounded by nature, a place like this (a permanent structure here year-round) becomes a haven for wildlife. Not bears and zebras, so much as birds. As soon as we came in, we are 'greeted' by the constant screeching of many birds overheard – nesting in the rafters and beams about 50-60 feet overhead. It’s their spring season, too, and nests have hatching and growing offspring. Which is where it gets rather dark; throughout our day of work, we were on constant alert for falling bird feces and falling birds themselves.
"The first is not fun for anyone, or any equipment – and it’s unavoidable. Soon after setting up, our monitor crew (on Pete’s side of the stage, with two large, expensive mixing consoles) requested a tent be set up over them... Good thing they did [as] within minutes messy spots were appearing right over them; bird droppings right over their seats and the gear. Not ALL of their space could be covered and there were a few audio pieces that got splattered, too.
"Musicians, too – one of our cellists was hit full-on, hair and clothes, and I saw other near misses in the cello section right near us; those are expensive instruments in an orchestra, and this is a hazard not expected in any venue. During Loren Gold’s piano solo for ‘Love Reign O’er Me’, he was nearly hit, as we saw something drop right behind him. And that is just part A, the droppings."
"Part B is worse; the birds themselves. Sadly, some were chicks or trying-to-fly young ones, but dropping 50-feet they don’t survive, for long. We counted no less than five birds falling and dying onstage during our event here, and we had to do cleanup as well. Some fell and tangled in our curtains/rigging – not a nice part of one’s day. Really – this was a significant problem, and slightly horrifying...
"This didn’t halt the show or cause a serious issue, but it’s really a downer..."