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Crews prepping Rio Tinto for concert debut


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SANDY -- One of the world's best-known rock and roll bands will perform in Utah Saturday night. The Eagles will play at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, but changing the soccer stadium over to a concert venue takes a lot of work.

It's been a while since Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy Schmidt played Utah, but preparations are underway Rio Tinto to welcome them back. It will be the final concert of the Eagles' North American tour and the first concert held at Rio Tinto.

"Actually, this started back in August of last year. Dave Checketts decided that he wanted the Eagles to open this building up. He really chose no other band. It had the be the Eagles, so we went out and got the Eagles," said Dennis Patrullo, senior vice president of Sports Capitol Partners.

Turning a soccer stadium into a concert venue to entertain 23,000 fans takes some work. There's cable to pull, spot lights to aim, equipment to lift into place and daredevils shimmy up and down tall sound towers hanging and adjusting speakers.

The huge 60-by-80-foot stage on the south end of the stadium began going up this past Monday, and there's still plenty of work to do. "We've presently hung about 90,000 pounds of equipment on that stage, which we started doing Thursday morning," Patrullo said.

To make sure the sound is pristine, and without echo, additional sound towers have been installed in the middle of the stadium. The grass has been covered up with temporary plastic flooring, and hundreds of people have been working all day unloading 8,000 folding chairs, which eventually will be set up covering the entire field.

"You have to build them as multipurpose stadiums. There's no stadium in the U.S. that can make it just on the sports franchise, so it has to be multipurpose," Patrullo said.

The Eagles are just the beginning. REO Speedwagon, Stix and 38 Special will play at Rio Tinto May 30, and Kenny Chesney will be there on July 4.

E-mail: kmccord@ksl.com

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Keith McCord

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