While things may have been crazy on the floor during Lupe’s set, things were even crazier behind the scenes. We had photographers follow three different members of A&O throughout the day, from delivering Lupe’s check to breaking down the stage. This is what’s behind the curtain at the A&O Blowout.
Choose Your Adventure
A&O Crewmember Adam Berman
A&O Key Master Darrin Bedol
A&O Chairman Chase Jackson
Sophomore crewmembers Adam Berman and Graham Horn have been around Welsh-Ryan arena since 6 a.m. setting up the show, periodically shuttling back to campus for class. “It’s a lot of waiting around,” Berman said of preparation for the Blowout. With an hour until doors open, Berman and Horn, along with the rest of the crew, do their last bit of their waiting for the day before they file into the arena.
Berman and Horn are stationed at an aisle during the Matt & Kim opener. They’re required to keep rogue (and potentially drunk) students from dancing, sitting or otherwise blocking the aisles during the show.
And the waiting continues. Berman overlooks the Arena as early concertgoers stream into the standing room closest to the stage. “It’s definitely a good feeling,” Berman said. “There’s not much I’m worried about at this point.”
Music starts to play. Various A&O members (Berman included) break out the moves to break up the monotony.
The beginning of the show is constant frenzy, with tardy students constantly flooding the aisles in droves. “It’s such a different feeling,” Berman said, comparing this year to last year. “This is more of a nervous excitement when last year was just pure happiness.”
During the 30-minute break between acts, Berman is told he will drive members of Matt & Kim’s crew to their hotel. He is ushered to a car outside in a rush. As Lupe Fiasco’s show starts, crewmembers who watched aisles previously are free to dance in the A&O only section of the bleachers.
Post-show, crewmembers are put to the task breaking down the equipment from the show. Exhausted from the events of the day, they hope to be gone by 3 a.m.
A&O Key Master Darrin Bedol (left) shares a joke with her friend Sara Goodison, former member of the A&O Production Committee. While traveling back and forth between the lobby and A&O’s temporary headquarters on the second floor, Bedol gets a chance to visit with students before the concert starts.
Bedol’s duties as Key Master make for a busy schedule before and after the concert, but she’s able to watch bits of the show from A&O’s section in the bleachers. Pictured here is Bedol's view of the stage during part of Matt and Kim’s performance.
Crewmembers line up along the bleachers in the A&O section, singing and dancing to a Matt and Kim song. From right to left: Maryam Adamu, Tori Zuzelo, Emma Glass, and Darrin Bedol of A&O Productions.
While standing among fellow A&O members in their bleacher section, Bedol pauses to listen to a voice coming through the earpiece of her walkie-talkie. A&O used the walkies to communicate with one another throughout the concert. “If I randomly stop what I’m doing, it’s because there’s someone talking in my ear,” Bedol said.
Executive Producer Michelle Caley takes a quick break from her duties to dances to the Matt and Kim show. Other A&O members soon join her, dancing enthusiastically together.
Kim Schifino, drummer and vocalist for the band Matt and Kim, plays during the duo’s opening song. As Key Master of the Motor Pool car keys, Bedol’s duties included coordinating the artist’s transportation needs for the day.
During the break between the Matt and Kim and Lupe Fiasco performances, Bedol returns to the lobby to check in with some of her drivers. After handing over the keys to one of the six Motor Pool cars rented for the day, she listens in to her walkie-talkie.
Zach Robinson of the A&O Concert Committee (left) poses for a quick photo with Darrin Bedol outside the main arena. Now seniors, Robinson and Bedol have worked together on A&O since their freshman year.
Bedol pauses to speak with Jude Cooper, Assistant Director of the Center for Student Involvement (right). Bedol and Cooper checked in with each other throughout the concert.
Although Bedol’s official Key Master duties involve overseeing and coordinating transportation needs for the day of the concert, she also helps out with odd and often urgent tasks that arise during the concert. At one point during the concert, someone requested an ambulance; Bedol and fellow A&O members Jon Schwartz (left) and Bri Hightower (right) join forces to sort out the situation.
A&O members take a quick water break between Lupe songs. Joking together, Jeremy Shpizner of the Concerts Committee pulls Bedol into a hug as they walk along with Logan Koepke of the Production Committee.
As the Lupe Fiasco performance of A&O’s Fall Blowout enters its final stretch, several A&O members stand on the floor to catch the show’s last few minutes. During the encore, Bedol and other members proceeded to the lobby to prepare for the tide of exiting students.
During Lupe Fiasco’s encore performance, Bedol returns to the lobby of Welsh-Ryan to coordinate with her Motor Pool drivers. Bedol laughs as she responds to someone through the microphone of her walkie-talkie.
As Key Master, Darrin Bedol is responsible for coordinating A&O’s transportation needs and keeping track of all six of the Motor Pool cars rented for the day. The drivers--who are other A&O members--must check in with Bedol before and after using the vehicles. Bedol is pictured here with her bowl of car keys.
Bedol and Executive Producer Michelle Caley laugh together as they wait for the concert to end. Sitting is a welcome break for Bedol, who woke up at 5 a.m. Friday morning and finally made it to bed at 5 a.m. Saturday morning. This is the first time Bedol is able to sit and relax since the end of Matt and Kim’s performance.
Chase Jackson, chairman of A&O, directs his crew, many of whom have been awake since the early morning, building the main stage, aligning barricades and assisting the production crew.
Jackson downs one of many drinks for an energy boost. He and the rest of the executive board started working at 4 a.m. “I'm a little tired. I'm a little on edge now, but deep down I'm really excited,” he says.
Jackson strolls along the railings, as Lupe Fiasco’s band members perform sound-checks. “I'm kind of hanging around, being a morale booster wherever I can,” he says.
A last-minute joy ride to Norris at 3 p.m. reaps an undisclosed reward. Lupe Fiasco’s check and another can of Diet Mountain Dew rest beside Jackson as he speeds back to Welsh-Ryan.
Jackson chats on the phone and takes down final to-do notes on his iPad, just hours before the show begins. He has nothing to worry about, however. His producer managed Friday’s show, while Jackson ensured the night ran smoothly.
Jackson downs a last-minute AMP energy drink before the madness begins.
All hands on deck, as students flock to get their tickets scanned so they could grab a quality spot in the stands.
The chairman helps scan incoming students’ tickets, excited for the show. “We were excited to bring something fun and different to this blowout than just your standard hip-hop show,” Jackson says.
Only an hour before the show, Jackson leans over the bleacher railing, fiddling a sheet of paper with the names of those who have reserved tickets for Friday night’s show. Before Matt & Kim’s performance, he dashes out to a side entrance and greets president Morton Schapiro’s guests.
Jackson breaks it down in the A&O section during Lupe Fiasco’s set. The crew consisted of 75 members and several volunteers, and scattered throughout Welsh-Ryan arena to enjoy the festivities.
As he shouts to the top of his lungs, Jackson lets himself loose toward the middle of Lupe’s set. “I don’t want to be some ominous figure. I don’t want to be that guy. I’m the same guy inside A&O and outside A&O,” he says.