Rihanna saved the Super Bowl—literally

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All in all, the show involved about 800 people, from camera operators to stage crew to Rihanna and her 80 dancers and seven band members. It also required extensive construction. In order to reduce the weight of the field, the stage Rihanna built had to be built from no more than 15 rolling structures (called “carts”).

Because of the shape of the tunnels that descend to field level at State Farm, All Access — the company responsible for building the platform — had to build platforms with folding levels for transportation. The carts range in shape from 10 by 24 feet to 8 by 31 feet, weigh between 2,000 and 4,000 pounds each, and have “lawn wheels” (not a technical term) designed to roll smoothly and evenly over grass. “With concussion protocol, you don’t want to take a player out of the game because we’ve left strong positions on the floor,” says Tommy Rose, All Access event coordinator. “We are really careful about this.”

Then there are the platforms themselves. Each 10-by-17.5-footer had to sit on those tabs for the first half of the game and then lead them up to field level on made-to-order cables, and the stage was being continuously set for those precious seven-plus minutes. Automatic engines. The underside of each was choreographed with 512 lights to move along with Rihanna’s performance. The stands were to return to the cushions and remain there until the end of the game. And unlike past halftime shows, you won’t be able to get in or out of the stadium easily by wheelchair, meaning that the final rehearsals before the big game had to take place inside the stadium, not off-site. Over the years.

“This is going to be the most technically advanced Super Bowl halftime show in my opinion,” said Aaron Siebert, a project leader from Tate Towers, which built the stages.

Floating platforms help reduce the impact of the halftime show on the Super Bowl playing field.

Photography: Ryan Young

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