Behind the Scenes of the Goo Goo Dolls

Kena Hawkins was a key player in getting the Goo Goo Dolls to Campbell and making the concert happen. She was responsible for many of the logistics. While it was stressful, she loved doing it. Take a look at what it takes to put on a concert in The Creek.

Kena Hawkins
Kena Hawkins

I have been a part of CAB’s Concert Committee for three years and Chair for the last two.  To say that concert programing is a lot of work would of course be understatement, and I am very thankful for the opportunity and experience.  However, I wanted to give you an idea of what the job was like.

The day begins, and I’m already behind.  It’s function over fashion as I put on my violently orange “Event Staff” t-shirt, gold name tag, and most importantly, comfy tennis shoes.  It will be a sixteen hour work day putting on the Goo Goo Dolls concert, and most roadies will not let you touch a case unless you have closed toed shoes on.

After one class, I collect my committee and set to work.  I send a team of volunteers to hang our decorations at Marshbanks while the rest of us set to work on the dressing rooms.  The golf carts are missing.  I guess we have to use my car to shuttle all the extra lighting and mirrors needed for the three dressing rooms.  In the midst of moving, I find Assistant Director of Student Activities, Karie Parks. I follow her to where the food is stored so we can make the four coolers for the crew, stage left, stage right, front of house and tour manager’s office.  It’s always handy to know stage directions.

Someone catches me as I walk by. “Hey Kena, do you have those people?” asks Trent Matthews who is organizing security for the show.  I remember the text I ignored from the day before telling me pre-show security plans had fallen through and I would need to provide four of my people to guard the halls.  “I can give you two,” I say, and I send some volunteers his way.

The next few hours pass in a whirl of fast paced problem solving like the one with Trent.  The Director of Student Activities, Chris O’Connor, is on the phone half the day dealing with contract problems.  The production manager wants to start hazing the building early.  Men’s basketball has practice in our meet and greet venue.  The ticket scanners are not connecting to the internet.  Yet, all these issues are solved in time for the doors to open at 7:00

Thanks to my amazing and experienced committee the General Admission and Early Admission ticketing goes off without a hitch.  Two sets of meet and greet passes are awarded to Early Admission students who were beyond ecstatic to be able to meet the Goo Goo Dolls.

Before too long the massive line of people stretching to the roundabout turns into a rush of noise and beeping ticket scanners.  At 7:45 the committee takes turns running down the hall to snap a picture with the band making sure never to leave the doors unattended.

When the lights went down, I watch from the back, taking trips every so often to the box office to check on things.  Midway through the show, a shirtless guy darts past our security onto the stage.  You never know what’s going to happen at these shows, and you can’t prepare for everything.

I find myself backstage for the last song “Iris,” and I can’t help but smile as I see the crowd erupt in delight.  I soak in the moment as the band walks off the stage and passes me on their way towards their dressing room.   As the house lights come up, the crowed drifts out, and I allow myself a few minutes to socialize and thank people for coming.  Then I watch them leave with just a touch of envy.  For the staff and volunteers, there is still so much to be done.

A little after 1:00 AM, I find myself behind the loading dock sipping on a now melted milkshake, dressing rooms cleaned, and golf carts loaded to return the supplies.  Karie Parks walks out and asks me what I’m doing.

“If I leave then it’s over,” I blurt out with a little too much honesty,but it was true.  My feet ached, my eyes were heavy, and I was replaying every moment from that day over in my mind. But the work for the Goo Goo Dolls concert was finished.  More than that, two years worth of stress and planning as Concerts Chair would be at an end the moment I drove away.

She just laughed, gave me a tour sticker, and we all went our separate ways home.

As I lay in bed an hour later, I think about the cheering crowd and giddy contest winners in the meet and greet line.  I think about the student volunteers eager to be able to use the ticket scanner or boss around a crowd of people.  I remember their smiles, and I’m glad I got a chance to help make that happen.  That’s all I ever wanted to do.

Photos by: Emily McIntosh

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