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New York State Fair

Behind the scenes with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

A crew of 11 people travels across the country with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts as they perform their greatest hits and songs from the new album Unvarnished. Hours before the show at Chevy Court, the crew was busy setting up the stage.
Geddes (WSYR-TV) - The attitude, the look, the unmistakeable voice of Joan Jett returned to the New York State Fair on Wednesday, headlining a free show at Chevy Court.

"It's where I live. This is the great New York State Fair, not just any fair, it is the GREAT New York State Fair," said Jett.

Long before the leading lady of the Blackhearts arrived at Chevy Court, an 11-person crew spent hours getting every item in place. 

"Every night, when she comes out her amp is in the same spot. Everything that she expects on top of her amp, liker her water, her gatorade, her fruit punch and her gum, is in the same place every night," said tour manager Ed Sargent.

The instruments are tuned just as precisely. Every drum has its own microphone to test. The distance between each drum is carefully measured. A crew overhead checks the direction and color of every light.

A guitar tech waits in the wings during the show, watching for a signal to bring Jett or her band members a different guitar.

"She'll usually just give me a quick look and show me a number two," explained guitar tech Zachariah Nagy.

A container full of soothing throat chews, handmade in Switzerland, are attached to velcro on top of an amp to create a reliable mark where Jett can find them each night.

"If that consistency level is in-tact and they can walk out on stage and think about nothing but music, then every guy on this stage has done their job," Sargent said.

The music included a mix of the greatest hits and the first new album in several years, Unvarnished. Jett said the songs were inspired by personal growth following a dramatic shift in her life after hurricane Sandy and the loss of her parents.

"Years ago, a girl playing rock-n-roll was not really the kind of thing that parents could brag to their friends about. But, my parents were always proud of me. So, I just really take that with me," Jett said.
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