KidCutUp: What I Learned From Touring With Pink

KidCutUp warms up the crowd for Pink at Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA. (Source: KidCutUp)

From March 1 to June 1, DJcity’s KidCutUp joined pop star Pink on her Beautiful Trauma tour. The Milwaukee native was the opening act at about 50 sold-out shows across the US, averaging 12,000 to 18,000 people a night. Now, after a few weeks off, CutUp is back on the road for the singer’s Australia tour. We spoke with him via email about what it was like touring with one of the world’s biggest pop stars.

What was the audience like?

Most of the audience is older than a typical bottle service club crowd, and there is a solid LGBT presence. It was a down-to-earth, fun party crowd. Surprisingly, it was pretty much the same whether we did large cities like New York or smaller markets like Wichita or Tulsa.

What was your set like?

Because the audience wasn’t the usual 20 something millennials, my set had a lot of classic, throwback party music. It was heavy on rock with a lot of old-school hip-hop as well. The audience’s taste was pretty wide, so I was looking to see which songs could bring people together instead of catering to certain parts of the crowd one track at a time. It was challenging. Sometimes it involved doing blends and intricately weaving tracks together, but it started with picking the right tunes in the first place.

Did you get nervous performing for such large audiences?

I felt less nervous on this tour than other ones I’ve done. Once I got in tune with the crowd, and the bulk of my set was dialed in, I knew it would work and how people would respond. There were so many people in the crowd that I couldn’t comprehend how many were actually there. My brain just considered it one giant bunch. Also, I worked on my set every day, so I felt pretty good about going up on stage.

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What was your setup?

I used two Technics 1200s, a Pioneer DJ DJM-S9, and a coat rack, because where else am I going to put my coat when I’m on stage? It was a simple setup without a full light show or crazy production. It came down to the actual DJing and connecting with the audience. I didn’t have much to hide behind up there!

What was your life on tour like?

Touring takes a bit of getting used to. As the opening act, I had an easier time than the crew. They were incredible to watch. They’re the first people in the building, getting the entire stage built and rigged up, and they’re the last to leave. On back-to-back show days, the only time the crew could rest was during the show itself and on the tour bus as we headed to the next city. Luckily, the routing wasn’t that brutal, and the tour was organized well to avoid too many back-to-back shows. Still, you’re in a new city every other day or so. Usually, it’s one night in a hotel, and the next you sleep on the bus in transit to the next city. As far as my day-to-day activities went, I spent time working on my set, tweaking things. I would add new songs, touch up the produced parts, remaster the older songs and whatever else the set needed to stay fresh. I would try to make things tighter than the previous show. There were also business things to sort out. I met with my tax guy when we stopped in his city. It’s important to stay on top of those things while on the road, so you don’t come back to a mess.

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Listen to KidCutUp’s Beautiful Drama tour playlist on Spotify.

Related: KidCutUp Delivers DJcity Podcast Mix