Images © Dominik Asbach
Rock ’n’ roll alarm in Germany - Peter Maffay´s 2015 tour "Wenn das so ist" ("If that´s the case") has started. MAN Tattoo Trucks specially designed for the tour play a key role in transporting the entire equipment.
It´s evening in the Emsland Arena in the Lower Saxon town of Lingen. Peter Maffay fans are excitedly pouring into the arena. The final rehearsal for his new 2015 tour "Wenn das so ist" ("If that´s the case") is about to start. The tour trucks are lined up beside each other in front of the large hall. Six of them attract special attention from the approaching fans - they are painted with colorful artistic designs. A young man nudges his friend, "Look, that one´s really funky!" He points to an MAN truck painted with black figures interspersed with red elements. The man has the same taste as Peter Maffay, the truck standing before him being the winner of an international design competition.
The story of the MAN Tattoo Trucks began with an idea already originating at the beginning of 2014 which was intended to complement the partnership between MAN and Peter Maffay during his current tour. This gave rise to a sensational competition. Artists from all over the world let themselves be inspired by the songs on the new Maffay album and based on these, created designs for the semitrailer tractors. The jury led by Peter Maffay and MAN CEO Dr. Georg Pachta-Reyhofen were spoilt for choice when it came to selecting the winner. They decided that six of the concepts should be realized. "They are all true works of art," commented an impressed Peter Maffay.
The artwork presented on paper ultimately became a real eye-catcher on the finished trucks. During the summer of 2014, paint stylists spent countless hours applying the motifs. The MAN Tattoo Trucks finally attracted special attention at the International Motor Show for Commercial Vehicles (IAA) 2014 in Hanover, during which the winning truck was also selected. Peter Maffay is full of enthusiasm for the truck designs: "I hope we make a positive impact with these and people realize that trucks are far more than just working machines."
Back in the Emsland Arena, the final rehearsal has gone off well, the last song played and the elated fans are making their way home. But for the team behind stage, the real work is only just beginning. After a ten-hour set-up, they now have to dismantle the stage equipment. And a maximum of four hours has been scheduled for this task - since Hamburg, the starting point of the tour, is already waiting. More than sixty helpers are busy rushing around. But nothing that happens here happens by chance. Everything is planned right down to the smallest detail, every move is spot on. The master behind these logistics is Bernie Haefner, who has already been in the tour business for thirty-five years. Meanwhile, there is nothing that can throw him off balance. Besides, preparations for the logistics were made well in advance, the preliminary work for the Maffay tour beginning almost one and a half years ago. However, many changes were made in the course of the planning process. "We actually thought we´d manage with seven trucks. But then new ideas were developed for the stage set, as well as the light show. So we´ve now ended up with thirteen MAN TGX XXL semitrailers to transport some 65 tons of equipment across Germany," says Mr. Haefner. A particular challenge on every tour is calculating what is to be stowed where in which truck in order to transport the entire stage equipment from one gig to another. Apart from human experience, computers can also be useful in accomplishing this logistic masterpiece.
But even in the case of the best laid plans, many questions and unforeseen problems arise. However, Mr. Haefner has an answer for everything. In spite of the hectic, he listens calmly, gives clear and concise instructions and sends for the specialists. At the same time, he telephones non-stop. Mr. Haefner was also responsible for issuing the backstage tickets and organizing the catering. How does he keep up the pace for a whole month with twenty concerts? Mr. Haefner smiles: "Routine helps. And always keep your wits about you."
After only four hours, the MAN TGX with the black lines is indeed fully loaded and leaving the grounds. The trailer is filled with lighting and LED parts to the last square centimeter. "Packed Tetris-style," says Mr. Haefner with a grin. He bids farewell to the driver by knocking on his door. It is now well after midnight. The logistics experts must depend on reliable performance on the part of their MAN trucks, for by 5.30 a.m., all thirteen trucks must have covered the over 250 kilometers to Hamburg. Then they will once more be unpacked and everything will start all over again. And this will repeat itself many times right across Germany. Simply the everyday madness of life on tour.
Images © Dominik Asbach