Tall Tales from NYC and London; Lighting the Globe; Smeeton’s Fond Farewell

by Debi Moen • in
  • Designer Watch
  • November 2018
• Created: November 13, 2018

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The Tallest Man On Earth, lit by Anders Heberling. Photo by Thomas Geuens

Lighting designer Marc Brickman, known for projection mapping the Empire State Building, among many other projects and gigs, tells us that he and his Tactical Manoeuvre Inc. team were behind the lighting of Eminem performing “Venom” on the observation deck and throughout the NYC landmark. The episode opened Jimmy Kimmel Live! while the TV crew was taping in Brooklyn, NY.

Terry Cook fills us in on the latest news for November at Woodroffe Bassett Design. “Concert touring continues with Phil Collins, Spandau Ballet and Elton John on the road,” he says. “Some of the team head out to Macau to start production rehearsals for a new and exciting stunt show. Lastly, we commence pre-visualization on the Shard in London — the U.K.’s tallest building, at over 1,000 feet.”

In other tall performance news, The Tallest Man On Earth is the stage name for Swedish indie folk singer/songwriter Kristian Matsson, who is often compared to Bob Dylan. LD Anders Heberling has designed and is operating the tour. “We just finished 14 sold-out shows through Europe at various concert houses, and we have a four week-tour of the states coming up in November where we’ll bring this custom set piece,” Heberling says, referring to the photo. (As it turns out, the artist’s stage name is a bit of a tall tale itself; Matsson actually stands about 5’ 7.”)

‡‡         Lighting Up the Globe

LD Cosmo Wilson clues us in on all his globe-trotting lately. “Over the summer, I was TD for the Google Home Mini Golf exhibit in New York, Chicago, Santa Monica and Atlanta. I did a run of Aerosmith shows in New York in August for the Today Show, Tonight Show and the VMA’s, and then to Japan for Hollywood Vampires and two Joe Perry solo shows. I am currently PM for a Google install here in Sunnyvale, but I do have some good gigs coming up. I am doing a Whitesnake one-off in Monterrey, Mexico in November, then a short Joe Perry tour crisscrossing the U.S. Steven Tyler plans a couple of benefit shows on Maui over the New Year’s holiday, and we’re gearing up for the Aerosmith ‘Deuces are Wild’ residency starting in April 2019. It looks like a full year with Aerosmith, and then their 50th Anniversary Tour in 2020 — but that’s a long way off!”

Others racking up airline miles with a plethora of design projects this fall are Paul “Smiffy” Smith and Ignition Creative Ltd. team. “The Now You See Me — Live tour heads into creation in China in October, then I’m off to Broadway for Illusionists — Magic of the Holidays in November. Associate designer Ben M. Rogers heads to Kuwait and Australia to get two incarnations of Illusionists — Live From Broadway up and running. In December, Circus 1903 plays in London, and we have Illusionist Luis de Matos’ Impossivel show in Portugal. After Christmas, I’m back to Europe to get The Illusionists — Live from Broadway European Tour underway with new cast, new lighting design.”

‡‡         Quick Cues

Bruno Poet is the lighting designer for Tina — The Tina Turner Musical, which hits Broadway in the fall of 2019.

LD Scott Warner handles design and directing duties with Stone Sour in Russia in November and December in Australia. He then returns to the U.S. to do the same with artist Erika Jayne (one of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills).

Tess Falcone says she’s giving her design chops a break by directing the So You Think You Can Dance Live! tour, with lighting designed by Peter Morse and programmed by Benny Kirkham and Paul Sonnleitner.

Rachel Mullen of RF Designs devotes the entire month of November to programming and operating lighting for the Jaguar/Rover auto show in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

While touring with Greta van Fleet, LD Eric Cathcart updated the programming for a re-design of the Black Violin tour. Tyree Duncan continues as lighting director until mid-2019.

Chris Medvitz of Lightswitch reminds us of Paula Abdul’s U.S. tour running through December. Pam Smith is lighting director.

Keith Hoagland took over the designing for Rob Thomas’ one-off shows since June. He missed LDI as he was spending the week in Toronto for those gigs.

Bobby Grey of Sightline Design Group recently designed JackFM’s Jack’s 13th Show at the Five Points Amphitheater in Irvine, CA. Bands included 311, Stone Temple Pilots, Third Eye Blind, Everclear, Neon Trees and Alien Ant Farm. Grey gives a shout out to FOH/technical programmer Christopher Hassfurther, master electrician Chris Bock and crew chief Gus Pantoja, along with IATSE 504.

‡‡         Retiring to the River

Designer Jonathan Smeeton sends cheers from his home on the Thames, declaring he is “finally retired.” He says, “(I’m) now living aboard my 50-foot canal boat on the English waterways, and from now on, summers aboard and winters in warmer parts of the world. At 70, and after 50 years of rock ‘n’ roll, I actually achieved my life ambitions. Never grew up! Never had a proper job,” he says. In a nod to Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, he adds, “So long, and thanks for all the fish!”

Never grow up…but DO send Debi news of the latest ways you’ve managed to keep a safe distance from a 9-to-5 office cubicle. Reach her at dmoen@plsn.com.

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