Truckloads of Aerosmith's stage heading south

The stage set for next Wednesday's Aerosmith concert at Forsyth Barr Stadium arrives by jumbo jet in Christchurch from the United States today and will then be trucked from there to Dunedin in 11 semitrailers.

''It will certainly be the biggest stage setup ever seen in the South Island,'' production manager Robbie Barclay said from Auckland yesterday.

''I've worked on a lot of big concerts, like Dire Straits and U2, and there's been nothing like this here before. The stage thrusts out 40 feet (12m) into the audience with a stage at the end and big ramps at the back, with three screens at the side and rear of the stage. It's a big, big set.''

A construction crew of 150, including 50 local workers, will start assembling the set from 7am tomorrow until Sunday. It will be the first time one of the biggest-selling American rock bands has performed in New Zealand and promoters say up to 40,000 fans are expected, making it the biggest concert seen in the South Island.

Aerosmith, inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, is fronted by former American Idol judge Steven Tyler.

The six-hour event is the third leg of Aerosmith's ''Global Warming Tour'' to promote the band's 15th studio album, Music From Another Dimension!, which was released in November.

Accommodation in Dunedin was booked out earlier this week, Otago Motel Association president Richard Hanning said yesterday.

''There's been a bit of a late rush and it's all booked out in the last few days. The stadium is starting to find its feet. People do want to come down here for concerts and it's a proving to be a great asset.''

The Dunedin City Council has extended the liquor licences of about six central Dunedin bars, allowing them to stay open until 1am on Anzac Day.

A $30 train service will be available from Mosgiel, leaving Mosgiel Railway Station at 6.30pm, arriving at Dunedin Station at 7pm, then returning after the concert, leaving at midnight and arriving in Mosgiel at 12.30am.

Gates open at Forsyth Barr Stadium at 4pm. Australian rockers Diva Demolition will be on stage at 5pm, followed by Head Like A Hole at 5.50pm, Dead Daisies at 6.45pm, Wolfmother at 8pm and Aerosmith at 9.30pm.

- nigel.benson@odt.co.nz

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