Video: Madonna's Billboard Awards Acceptance Speech
Video: Billboard Music Awards Backstage Photocall

The Impossible Feat of Billboard Award-Winning MDNA Tour

Sunday night Madonna received a Billboard Music Award for the Top Touring Artist of 2012. Her MDNA tour, which brought in $305 million, was a musical and visual extravaganza. Madonna performed with 140,000 pounds of gear suspended above her head. She danced on 42-square-inch squares undulating up and down, reaching eight feet above the stage. What’s more, at each of the 88 stops of the tour, the stage had been built in a few short hours by a local crew who has never seen it (or the traveling roadies) before.
Rock concerts descend upon a host site and then quickly disappear. The only certainty is that of unforeseen obstacles. How do they get the show to go on every night, no matter what?
The people who know the answer to that question work for TAIT, the company behind Madonna’s stage set. TAIT has built the sets for all ten highest grossing tours of all time, including for Roger Waters, The Rolling Stones, and U2. TAIT has developed expertise in designing complex stage sets that can be safely, quickly, and cost effectively put together and taken apart.
I recently spoke with the project manager who worked on the MDNA tour, James Erwin, about how the MDNA stage was designed to deliver consistent performance despite vastly differing circumstances on each of the tour’s stops.

To read the rest of the article visit www.forbes.com/sites/ruthblatt


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