Everyone knows what to expect from a music concert. The lights go down, the audience erupts into a chorus of applause and the idolised superstar arrives on stage, bursting with energy, ready to entertain the throng of their adoring fans for one night only.
It’s pretty spectacular.
But, ever wondered what happens once the curtains close and the lights go up? Are there diva tantrums? Catty fights between dancers? Tour riders demanding vitamin water to bathe pet dogs? Yes Mariah, we might be looking at you for that one, girl.
If all these things have come to mind, you’re in the right place as Metro.co.uk will give you an all-access, backstage look into what it really takes to make the tours of your favourite popstars come to life, as well as reminiscing on those unique moments that made headline news.
Touring is not only an experience for the performer and the fans – the backing dancers, singers, stylists and others are also very much a part of the process and, perhaps more importantly, the backbone of these mammoth shows.
So grab your backstage pass as we get the inside scoop from Britney Spears dancer, Jae Fusz, because – in this case – What Happens On Tour (Doesn’t) Stay On Tour…
“All of my dreams came true that audition day and it definitely kick-started the dance career that I have now”
Jae Fusz has been a member of Britney’s dance troupe since 2013 when he joined the singer’s Femme Fatale Tour.
It was a dream that had finally been realised two years after Jae first auditioned to become one of Britney’s cherished dancers.
Suffering every performer’s worst nightmare, Jae ‘messed up’ the routine to Hold It Against Me – the horror – but the gods were on his side as, five rounds later, he finally made it through.
‘They offered me and two others the job on the spot,’ Jae recalls.
‘I remember being speechless and numb. All of my dreams came true that day and it definitely was the kick start to the dance career that I have now.
‘That tour was directed by Jamie King who is a legend in the industry so getting to work under him and Britney was the experience of a lifetime.’
A few years later, Jae had the opportunity to work with Britney again on the Piece Of Me residency in Las Vegas but this time, his competition was with around 500 other dancers who had to be cut down to just eight men.
Anyone else sweating for him?
While Jae did sail through, he was touring with Kesha at the time so couldn’t commit to the residency.
It wasn’t until he’d finished the Kesha tour and a Britney dancer got hurt two weeks later that he was able to finally bag a spot in the troupe.
‘It was meant to be,’ Jae says with relief.
“Britney is one the nicest, most normal, down to earth artists I’ve ever worked for”
Britney, 37, is without a doubt one of the most celebrated popstars of the past two decades.
Whether it’s about her talent or personal life, everyone has an opinion on the beloved icon.
But what you won’t hear about are diva tantrums backstage as Jae says Britney is as far from an entitled popstar as you could meet.
‘Britney is one the nicest, most normal, down to earth artists I’ve ever worked for,’ he reveals.
What a compliment.
He continued: ‘She’s super goofy and loves to laugh which, during long eight hour rehearsals, was when we would spend the most time with her and really connect.
‘Preparing for a new show you usually rehearse six days a week, eight hour days for three months so that’s where the bonding really happens.’
According to Jay, a typical show day consists of free time in the morning and afternoon, which he uses to hit the gym and unwind. The dancers usually get a ‘lobby call’ at around 3pm when they are picked up at the hotel and whisked off to the venue for sound check and a quick rehearsal.
The team then eat dinner and prepare for the big show before hitting that stage at 9pm.
Once the show’s done, it’s often straight onto the tour bus if they have a performance in another city the next night, or they might fly out the following morning.
All in a day’s work.
“Britney wouldn’t go out with us really – she’s a mum and has her kids a lot”
When they were lucky enough to be in one city for more than a day, the team enjoyed nights out together, bonding as a ‘family’.
As for Britney, Jae says: ‘[She] wouldn’t go out with us really, she’s a mum and has her kids a lot. But occasionally she would take us to a nice dinner which was always fun times.
‘The dancers wouldn’t really go out the night before a show because it was very physically demanding.’
It’s a common misconception that dancers are always rivalling each other but Jae couldn’t speak more highly of his fellow choreographers.
‘The dancers on these tours became and are some of my best friends,’ he admits.
‘When you travel the world with people you develop this special bond that lasts beyond the job. You work together, party together, go out to eat together, and end up on other jobs as well with each other. You really become this kind of tour family.’
“I fractured my foot – that was hard because I wasn’t sure if they were going to replace me”
But what happens when a crisis strikes?
Unfortunately, it did for Jae who recalls: ‘When Piece Of Me first opened, I fractured my foot and was out for three months from dancing.
‘That was hard because I wasn’t sure if they were going to replace me. But they didn’t and I had to do a lot of physical therapy to get my foot back as quick as possible. It was hard not being able to dance.’
Eventually, the show must go on, as they say.
“We’ve definitely seen some crazy things”
Let it be known, Britney has one of the most loyal group of fans in the world.
And apparently, the love fans have for her extends to her backing dancers too.
Recalling the fandemonium on the Britney tours, Jae admits: ‘We’ve definitely seen some crazy things.
‘Fans have ran up on stage before which can be pretty scary because you don’t know what people are capable of. Her fans love to dress up in her iconic looks which is always fun.
‘Me personally I’ve seen a fan get the exact same flag tattoo that I have.’
Now that’s dedication.
So there you have it, a look inside the life of a superstar touring artist and her crew.
But before we leave, there’s one touring tradition that happens in the final moments before hitting the stage.
‘Britney always did a prayer circle,’ Jae reveals.
‘At the end we put our hands in and, whatever the chant is of the night, we always add “bitches” after. So we might chant “it’s the weekend bitches”.’
What better way to mic drop?
Go beyond the stage with What Happens On Tour every Wednesday.