from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Monty C.;

Way too soon… my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends…

Shawn Moeller, 40, professional rigger

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 07/20/06
Shawn Moeller was the first one to arrive at a concert and the last to leave.

Before the lights were hung and the backdrop erected, the professional rigger was doing his Spiderman routine hundreds of feet in the air, constructing the skeleton that holds the whole show together.

Photo courtesy of family
Shawn Moeller climbs high up in the rigging structure for the Rolling Stones
' 2002-03 'Licks' world tour.

“He always described it as building a city in a day and then tearing it down,” said his wife, Brandy Moeller of Douglasville.

“He'd always call and say, 'This is the worst tour I've ever been on. This is the last one.' But he absolutely loved his job, and he liked the work to be hard and challenging and down to the last minute [~] even the times when they didn't have everything ready and people were walking in the doors.”

Shawn Dale Moeller, 40, of Douglasville died in his sleep of a previously undetected heart condition Thursday in a hotel in Zagreb, Croatia, where he was a crew member for Shakira's Oral Fixation World Tour.

The funeral is 11 a.m. today at North Metro Church. Clark Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

After a stint in the Army, the Davenport, Iowa, native moved to Atlanta in 1988 and earned an associate degree in music business from the Art Institute of Atlanta. He worked as a studio sound engineer until ear problems interfered, then signed on as a rigger at the Georgia Dome, where his trial by fire was an inaugural concert by U2.

“Shawn's first climb was at the Dome, which is over 300 feet tall, and he had to climb right off the bat,” said his friend Dennis Stevenson of Mableton. “There was no easy gig to start with.”

“It's a very stressful job because you're hanging thousands of pounds over people's heads and doing it under a short time line,” he said.

Mr. Moeller's life on the road started with Kiss, which he parlayed into tours with Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith, Sting, Ricky Martin, Alanis Morissette, Tori Amos, Third Day, Nickelback, Josh Grobin, The Who, The Rolling Stones and others.

Before the tour buses rolled, his wife said, Mr. Moeller would get specs for the production, then use his computer-aided design skills to calculate its schematics. Beyond his technical savvy, “he was very charismatic, and clients loved him,” Mr. Stevenson said.

“I remember Shawn talking about being on the road with Ricky Martin, who was calling his room at 2 in the morning, wanting him to go play dominoes with him,” he said. “And Shawn was saying, 'Sorry, buddy, I've got to sleep. I've got to be up at five in the morning.' “

“He was just a little firecracker, and it was like he was on caffeine all the time. He'd go to any lengths to complete the job,” said another friend, Clay Carter of Douglasville.

At home, Mr. Moeller spent hours downloading music with his 15-year-old daughter, Aubrey Moeller of Douglasville. He liked to tease his family that his only male companionship came from his Chihuahua mix, Pepe Lopez, nicknamed “P-Lo.”

“He was so committed to his wife and daughter that when he was there, it was 24/7,” Mr. Carter said. “He didn't want to run around with the boys because he really appreciated what time he did have at home.”

Other survivors include his mother and stepfather, Sandra Moeller-Hudson and John Hudson of Bluegrass, Iowa; his father and stepmother, Dale and Sherri Moeller of Cochran; a brother, Wade Moeller of Douglasville; and his grandmother, Norma Moeller of Wilton, Iowa.