Each week after the Thursday Night Football game, Amazon Music livestreams a unique concert for millions of fans around the world. The new concert series, called Amazon Music Live, features performances by artists across genres and gives fans an opportunity to experience their favorite music in new ways.
Every show is a stadium-caliber production, with hundreds of lights, cameras at every angle, and custom stage sets that perfectly complement the vision of the artists performing. Shows like these could easily take months to bring to life, but Amazon Music and its amazing partners in the entertainment industry defy the odds to make it happen on a weekly basis.
I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes of a recent Amazon Music Live concert to get an exclusive peek at how they pull it off. Here are some of the cool things I learned.
My first order of business was to find the person who could tell me the most about the show’s production. I asked around, and everyone agreed that person is Ed Walker. Walker is an Amazon Music producer who’s worked with some of hip-hop’s biggest stars and who is now responsible for orchestrating the entire production for Amazon Music Live.
Walker gave me the full tour of Red Studios, a filming studio in the heart of Hollywood where the concert takes place each week. He explained that the venue is the perfect size and setup to host about 1,000 guests in person while also taping the livestream to share with fans around the world.
Fun fact: Red Studios also serves as a filming location for the hit Amazon Freevee series, Bosch: Legacy.
Our first stop on the tour was the stage. We went backstage and through an array of cameras and screens, then ascended the steps to walk onto the set.
Walker explained that the set is unique for every show, and the size of the room allows for a stadium-style production. A team of roughly 200 people create a new set every week, then strip it down the following day in preparation of the next show.
Each artist visits the venue and meets with the Amazon Music team several weeks before their show to dream up a set that reflects the vision of their latest album and the music they will be performing.
The set is concealed by two large digital screens before the show starts. A countdown begins and the screens—with a combined weight of several tons—begin to glide apart to reveal the custom-designed set at showtime.
The show I attended was for Latin pop sensation, Anitta, and the set had an all-white aesthetic.
The previous week’s set for A$AP Rocky had a military desert vibe, featuring giant, Army-style tents and sand.
In an effort to move quickly enough, the team had to leave the sand from A$AP Rocky’s show underneath the white flooring of this week’s set. I couldn’t spot a single grain of sand—it was amazing.
As for the props, Amazon Music works with creative partners who search high and low to source the items necessary to bring each artist’s vision to life. This week, it was large mirrors and Grecian busts.
Walker shared that Amazon Music develops custom screen content for almost every show. The production team was testing the content on the digital screens while we were on the stage. Anitta’s set had a layer of custom fabric in front of the digital screen for an added effect.
We also noticed the lighting crew adjusting lights of all different colors and intensity around us. Walker estimated there were more than 250 lights surrounding the stage.
Looking out into the space beyond the stage where the crowd would be later that night, we spotted a fenced off area of cameras and monitors where they film the livestream.
A large camera arm sweeps through the crowd to give fans watching at home a glimpse of what it’s like to be at the show.
After we toured the stage, we headed to a restricted area where we saw the control room. The room would soon be filled with production team members calling all the shots during the show.
We also checked out the private area where Amazon Music tapes segments with the performing artists and the series’ host, 2 Chainz, to promote the upcoming livestream during Thursday Night Football.
A waiting area next to the segment set offered a space for the talent and their teams to hang out and take a few photos during the taping sessions.
Speaking of the talent, Anitta and 2 Chainz were set to arrive soon and it was time for me to get out of the team’s hair.
I headed back to the Red Studios office area just in time to hear the Twitch team count down to their first livestream of the night.
I stayed to watch the team’s efforts pay off; Anitta put on an incredible show that night.
All shows from the Amazon Music Live concert series are available to stream on Prime Video and the Amazon Music channel on Twitch. Don’t forget to tune in on Thursday, December 29 at 8:55 p.m. PST to watch the final show featuring 21 Savage.