A general term that includes all necessary band gear including guitar, bass and keyboard amplifiers, drums, microphone stands and cables, sometimes also encompassing keyboard instruments and rarely guitars and basses. It excludes any part of the house or stage monitor sound systems, which serve to amplify the backline gear. Originally a bit of tour jargon, the term is now accepted in touring groups’ contract riders and insurance forms.
Note that the term refers to the equipment itself and NOT to a specific area of the stage. Backline gear can be offstage, under the stage or in other locations.