Maintenance man turned concert crew member

Kliewer shares experiences working for notorious musicians

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Maintenance man turned concert crew member

David Kliewer

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Life can be unpredictable. While many of the things thrown at one can negatively impact their life, they can also end up being a blessing in disguise. For maintenance man, David Kliewer, a blessing is exactly what he got.
Previously working at the Kansas Coliseum, it was on a regular day that a simple compliment to a union steward in a guitar shop led to Kliewer being presented with the opportunity of a lifetime: light and sound maintenance for the concerts of some of the most prominent performers known. Almost 22 years after this encounter and over 500 shows later, Kliewer has an everlasting admiration for his job.
“I’ve quit counting shows after 500 and I don’t even know how many I’ve done, because now I’m touring in the summer with a stage and we do two or three shows in a weekend,” Kliewer said. “It’s hard work, but it pays good.”
For Kliewer’s daughter, Emma, the experiences he has been able to share with celebrities and other people are important. She believes these events have changed his life and personality for the better.
“He’s gotten to meet so many famous people and experience so many things,” Emma said. “I think that has impacted his acceptance and care for people.”
Emma also felt as though there was a greater reason to why her father enjoyed the job so much. The impact it has had on his life has been due to the love he has for the other areas of the job, like meeting people and music as a whole.
“I think it’s like every job, it’s not perfect but what makes it worth it to him. It is the love for music and meeting people,” Emma said. “That makes it worth it.”
While many might see celebrities as prominent figures leading extravagant lives, David has seen the behind-scenes-life of rock stars. He has even gone out to eat with Kansas, a 1970s rock band, providing and eye-opening experience.
“I mean I’ve never gotten to actually know that these are normal guys, and most of them are just normal people,” David said. “Some of them, it goes to their head like Cher, people like that, but generally that’s probably the best experience I have had.”
However, no job is perfect. David describes the hard physical labor being one of the most difficult parts of his job, especially when such labor includes carrying large bundles of copper wire before and after the events. Over time, things like this have gotten tougher for him to manage.
“I guess, as I get older, the physicality of the job, it can be very physical, and hard work on the back,” Kliewer said. “I don’t quite enjoy that kind of part of it anymore.”
As he nears closer to retirement, David still enjoys working all the shows he has the chance to be involved in. He said he will continue to be involved even after his retirement as a school maintenance man.
“I should be able to stay busy enough in retirement until I actually am old enough to retire,” David said. “But yeah no, I think I enjoy it more when fixing toilets.”