Robert Riddle, Rigger
WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
Most of the time: Boise, ID, but I have lived in Tennessee, Indiana, and Macau, China, due to my profession.
WHAT IS YOUR TOUR JOB?
This tour and last tour I am the rigger. I am responsible for hanging 30,000 pounds safely above everybody’s head.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST TOUR AND WHAT WAS YOUR JOB THEN?
Assistant rigger on Amy Grant’s Christmas tour in 1997.
BEFORE YOU TOURED WITH JAMES, WHAT KIND OF WORK DID YOU DO?
I have an education in Theater Technical Arts and English, I have been involved in Rigging, Carpentry, and Stage Management for Theater and Concert for over thirty years.
WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST TOUR WITH JAMES?
WHEN DID YOU FIRST MEET JAMES?
In catering, James stopped and asked me what I did, first day of (band) rehearsals, in 2002. I was the show carpenter on that tour.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE TOUR OR DAY?
There is that moment, I will look from backstage out to the crowd or just walk around in the audience aisles, watching thousands of people enjoying the show and I say to myself: I am, in my tiny contribution, helping bring this to them. I never get over that, even after 30 years. When I do, I will stop.
DO YOU ENJOY TOURING BY BUS AND SLEEPING IN BUNKS NEXT TO YOUR CREWMATES?
yes. I think the average intelligence of everybody involved is above normal, plus their experience in their specialties. It makes for wonderful conversations, banter, laughter and learning.
WHERE ARE YOU POSITIONED DURING THE SHOW?
I am usually on the bus, going over paperwork for future shows, editing photos, and trying to stay away from the bag of M&Ms that is an arm’s reach away from me. When the urge strikes me I do a walk around of the crowd and backstage. If we are at an outside venue and the weather is questionable, I am glued to my radio and several weather internet sites.
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU ALWAYS HAVE ON TOUR?
Several items: tools, good shoes, and my camera, to name a few.
IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT TOURING THAT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
Most people think technical road work is a glamorous profession. It’s not. It is our work, our job, and usually a passion. For most it is a 17 hour day, being focused, getting deadlines met, and knowing how to trouble-shoot problems and find solutions before that deadline. Other than the deadline of James walking on stage, we all set (multiple) personal ones that we have to meet all day long to help others meet their deadlines.