When Media Technology Fails – Snoop Dogg in Birmingham

Snoop Dogg at HMV Institute Birmingham

Technical faults can occur in any media output at any level of professionalism. Ranging from a broken projector in a lecture to sound failing on a BBC News Broadcast, each problem is met with a mass panic from all staff and a level of annoyance from the audience. I attended a semi-secret gig featuring multi-platinum and world renowned icon Snoop Dogg at the HMV Institute in Birmingham, expecting a seamless and stunning performance. After all, the multi-millionaire has a huge amount of man power behind him and access to the best technology available.

After a brief, and none too uncommon delay on getting through the doors, further waiting occurred as something backstage disrupted the support act. The crowd waiting anxiously, but patiently, and the act arrived – a relatively unknown band named Maverick Sabre. Five songs down and it’s time for the main act – The legendary rapper, singer and actor, Snoop Dogg.

Writes Jon Dudley…

Fifteen minutes wait and the crowd are dancing to the DJ filling the gap. Half an hour wait and security are looking anxious. Cheers go up at the end of each song, expectant of Snoops arrival. Forty-five minutes in and more security has arrived. The crowd still cheer at the end of each song, but now booing and jeering happens at the beginning of the next one. Due to a fault somewhere, a crowd – of whom many have waited years to see their idol – has turned. Legendary status in the music world means nothing when a fault happens, and as an hour wait dawns security and staff have brought torches and spotlights to pick out people in the crowd who are causing a disturbance. More consistent booing and a slow, sarcastic applause has broken out at the back of the gig and is spreading, much to the anger of an already stressed floor crew who are fiddling with wires an equipment up on stage.

With a gig so important, failures from the media crew could cost them their jobs, or hefty fines to the venue if such a fault is not rectified. Furthermore, the status and reputation of both the act and the venue could severely drop, and for an artist who is rarely allowed in England – and even less likely to perform such an exclusive gig again – this could have shattered the dreams of many fans.

An hour and  a half later and the intro plan is scrapped. Snoop arrives on stage to a strong cheer and genuine applause and delivers one of the best gigs the Midlands has seen in recent years, and performs over the estimated time in order to make it up to the crowd. While no apology was ever given, the extra effort made to keep the crowd pleased showed that the audience mattered, and the end result was a gig that no one could deny was anything short of spectacular. The floor team were amazing to watch, as no amount of jeering or abuse affected them and they professionally did their job the best they could, fixing or finding ways around any problems available, and were a credit to the HMV Institute.


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