John Arrowsmith's day starts around 9am when his gear is unloaded from the trucks and is then prepped for the show. As with any gear that needs to be on the actual stage, the schedule of its placement depends on whether the venue has a stationary or rolling stage.
According to Arrowsmith, with a stationary stage all crew members requiring access to the stage need to wait until the lighting gear, on this tour mainly the spider, has been rigged, cabled and lifted into position.
A rolling stage is out in the middle of the venue’s floor, and therefore the band members' backlines can be set up while Arrowsmith sees to the pyrotechnic devices. (Once the spider has been raised to show height, the stage can be rolled into place, and a few final setup procedures are then seen to, leaving most of the crew with much more time than normal.)
For the flames, John uses propane gas, which is fed through lighting devices (or flame throwers in tech talk) at 80 PSI (pounds per square inch) - this is the pressure required so that the fire can reach heights of 15 to 20 feet. Each flame thrower has an XLR connection that is hooked up to a board that Arrowsmith uses to ignite the pilot lights.
Arrowsmith reveals that the 'steam' discharged through the band's backlines isn't really steam, but rather it's CO2 (works better, looks cool). In addition to flames and CO2, Arrowsmith also sets off some good old-fashioned fireworks, such as the Lazy Red Comet flares for the song Caravan, and Ultra-Fast Silver Comet flares with one-second Silver Gerbs (for sparkle effect) for Far Cry.