So when Eric Pearce got the call, he too was a little skeptical it could be done.
“They came up with the concept of the design for this show rather late,” said Pearce, owner of Las Vegas’ Show Group Production Services (SGPS), the outfit that helped design and build the faux tower. “It’s pretty large.”
Pearce and his team had about three weeks to take it from design to delivery, working around the clock, seven days a week in their Las Vegas factory to build it on time. They came up with the plans on how to build it in a single weekend.
“We didn’t have time to make any models. We simply looked at photographs,” he said. The rapper’s team, led by the U.S. production design firm GP-SK Design, provided designs and scaled reference and imagery of the tower.
Carried in 5 tractor-trailers
SGPS has handled production for Guns N’ Roses, Justin Bieber and Roger Waters’ The Wall tour. They’ve also worked with Drake on his past tours, which is why Pearce decided to say yes despite the time crunch.
It was a “very difficult” task — Pearce said a replica of that size would normally take six to eight weeks to build. The finished product took up the bulk of the stage and was clad with all of the observation deck’s features, including its signature red stripe and the Edge Walk’s trolley equipment.
“The scale of the set is two or three times the traditional rock and roll star set,” Pearce said. The replica stood almost 16 metres high and 13.5 metres in diameter.
Once the set was built, it was tested in Las Vegas before it was shipped to Toronto for Monday’s show. The tower’s pieces filled up five tractor-trailers, which took a few days to get to Canada. The cargo was kept a tight secret the entire time.
“There was simply very little time for the word to spread,” Pearce said.
When the tower got to the Budweiser Stage, a local crew pieced it together under the supervision of a team SGPS sent up from Las Vegas.
And now that the show’s over, Pearce said it is already on its way back to Las Vegas, where it will sit in storage for now. He’s unsure what happens next but knows that it is far too big for “conventional touring.”
Pearce won’t say how much the tower cost to build or whether all the work was worth it for its short stint on stage.
“The economics of it are something you have to ask the client about.”