Friday night I attended the Youngstown Phantoms USHL hockey game at The Covelli Centre. Saturday, I made it to the Styx / REO Speedwagon / Night Ranger concert. As I waited for Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon to finish a 20 or so minute rant on Vietnam and what it was like going to college at Illinois University, I looked around and started to take in the transformation process that had to take place in a 19-hour span.
Tommy Shaw of Styx is good at what he does. However, I don’t think Tommy Shaw can skate or take a hit from Richard Young off of the boards. The first thing that had to be done was making the ice surface something sturdier for people to walk on for floor seating. I looked down and noticed wood. I was not sure if the wood I was standing on was on top of the hockey ice or whether they melted the ice and I was just standing on a normal floor. After asking an employee of the arena, I learned that it was wood overlayed on the ice. Once I learned this, I kicked at the wood a bit to see if it was loose in any way, which it was not.
Assembling a stage and hanging the lights are not easy tasks. This concert had plenty of lights hanging from the ceiling and it was no five minute project. I am aware that bands hire crews to hang lights and assemble the stage, but they can’t do it on ice. The stage itself would have basically covered the blue line to behind the goal, perhaps a little bigger. Keep in mind, this stuff has to come apart and be put together at every stop.
The doors for the concert opened at 6, and I am sure each band had to do a soundcheck which meant that all of this carpentry and wiring had to be done by 4 pm. That means everything was done in 16 hours. Seats had to be put down on the floor, coolers had to be restocked, bathrooms had to be cleaned, floors had to be swept, and people just had to be tired.
It was quite a week at the Covelli Centre. Last Sunday, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra brought all of their toys for two shows. Wednesday, Daughtry was here. Thursday and Friday were hockey games, and read the above three paragraphs for an inkling of things that converted the center into a concert hall.
I tip my hat to the crew at the Covelli Centre and applaud their hard work in the past week. It is not often that Youngstowners have had such an array of events to choose from in one building. Congratulations to Eric Ryan, Ken Bigley, Bridget Wolsonovich, Jon Jacubec, and the rest of the people who have buried themselves in work to see this place be successful.