Godsmack & Shinedown

by Nook Schoenfeld • in
  • November 2018
  • Production Profile
• Created: November 12, 2018

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Stage & Effects Engineering provides Godsmack with effects. Photo by Todd Kaplan

Designers Breck Haggerty and Carter Fulghum Engage in the Battle of the Pods

This summer brought about a couple of hard rocking bands with current hit singles uniting to fill sheds to capacity. Carter Fulghum has been looking after Shinedown since 2011, when they appeared on the Uproar Festival tour. Breck Haggerty has been looking after Godsmack for “all of about five minutes.” he says, having just met them earlier in the year when they shared some festival dates with the band Tool. Godsmack’s PM and audio guy, Scott Tkachuk, brought him in. Each band had a distinctive look featuring a different stage set, lighting pods and other visual effects. In the words of Fulghum, “People come and see two totally separate shows for the price of one.”

Shinedown photo by Todd Kaplan

For the first six weeks of the tour, Shinedown opened the show, but now in the final weeks, Shinedown has taken over the final slot. Either way, one band loads out and the other loads in, and these seamless transitions get done in less than 30 minutes. This took some doing from the production teams, as they needed to design around each other’s needs. For Carter and Shinedown, this was probably a simpler process. They had just finished a European tour and had a rig designed and programmed.

So, Carter got together with Breck, who had met with Sully Erna, the leader of Godsmack, who had some specific requests. Mainly, Sully had been thinking about a triangle themed look — one that would include three triangular truss pods set up in a triangular fashion flown above the band and moving into various configurations.

One band — Shinedown — wanted backdrops that could change their look along with lasers. The other — Godsmack — went for a video presence incorporated into their look as well as floor lighting. They both required pyro, and Pyrotek was behind the special effects for Shinedown while Stage & Effects engineering looked after Godsmack. For both acts, Bandit Lites out of Tennessee was the answer to their lighting gear. Three out of the 11 touring trucks were packed full of their lights.

Cyberhoists lower the triangles to a low trim. Photo by Todd Kaplan

‡‡         The Lighting

Carter Fulghum describes how the 2018 tour looks took shape for the co-headlining trek in support of the bands’ recent album releases — Shinedown’s Attention Attention, released May 4, and Godsmack’s April 27 release, When Legends Rise.

“These two bands had met and talked about doing a joint tour for some time. Then last winter it looked like it was actually going to happen, starting in July,” Carter says. “Shinedown has done quite a few shows with Five Finger Death Punch over the years. This includes a run last April and May. I had no idea who Godsmack would hire, so I went ahead and designed a touring light rig ahead of time, with the hope that maybe I could keep it intact for the next tour. Breck pretty much kept the rig as it was and designed around it, making sure he kept his band’s intended look intact.” Bandit Lites, the preferred vendor for Shinedown, were once again called on for their services.

Panning flame jets in action for Shinedown. Photo by Todd Kaplan

Breck adds, “I went into this thinking there may just be a battle getting our two designs with separate light pods to fit well. But it turned out to be quite simple for me as far as the structure of the design. Carter has four square pods that fly into a set position. I simply needed to fly his pods out of the way and be able to lower mine into place. It was uncanny that the space his design allotted fit very close to what I had in mind. Then we used a Cyberhoist system to digitally move the pods to various positions. I added in a pretty substantial floor light package to augment my looks.”

The lighting system consisted of a downstage, mid and rear truss as well as side light from a couple sticks of truss. They are generally full of alternating Martin MAC Vipers and Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash fixtures and a lot of Solaris Flares. The designers shared those elements. But as far as the pods themselves, they couldn’t have been more different.

A hard white look accompanies Godsmack as they open the show. Photo by Todd Kaplan

Guitarist Zach Myers and lead vocalist Brent Smith are the two main musicians in Shinedown who are totally hands-on, giving Fulghum their vision of what the show should look like. The other band members also offer input at times as well. The Shinedown band members also help choose lighting fixtures. “I showed them some Robe PATT 2017 fixtures, with the gold reflector and color mixing, and that seemed to become their favorite fixture,” Carter says. “I strategically placed them in various parts of the rig and added the other lights in around them.”

This included eight of Chauvet’s RH1 fixtures in each of the square pods, joining a couple of PATTs. “I love what these fixtures bring to the table. They give me the beam look I need, but with the two prisms I get some wide effects. I get so much out of these lights.” In addition, he uses four Elation SixPars in each pod to tone them in color. He spec’d Elation Paladins for his choice of blinders. “They have color and are IP65-rated, so they were perfect for hanging on a downstage truss when you are on a shed tour.” Some Atomic 3000 strobes filled out the Shinedown pods.

Shinedown photo by Todd Kaplan

Upstage of the Shinedown set sits four vertical ladder trusses. They contain Elation ACL 360 Bars, Atomic 3000 strobes and more pixelPATTs. These trusses are masked by a crinkled bug screen drop that Godsmack uses in their set when they close the shows.

Haggerty’s pods were simple, yet effective. Three Isosceles triangles made from 10-foot sections of 20-inch truss were lined with six GLP JDC1 strobe wash fixtures — 54 in all. On the corner of each triangle sat a Claypaky Mythos fixture. And between their motorized tilt ability and the movement of the triangular pods, there were a lot of things the designer could do to make use of all the effects that fixture can handle.

As noted, Carter’s show was programmed from Shinedown’s previous tour, but for Godsmack, Breck was coming in blank. When asked how he was able to come up with a fully programmed show he replied, “I did a lot of previz with MA 3D at home, building up the basics, then more MA 3D programming with Joe Cabrera and Phil Keller in a hotel in St. Paul, MN before we got our two-day slot on the rig at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium, where we rehearsed. There is no way I could have pulled off a show to rival Carter’s without their help. Joe’s speed and creative touch bought the lighting game to the next level, and Phil had my back calling followspots and taking care of video issues.”

Godsmack gets an epic rock look. Photo by Todd Kaplan

‡‡         The Set and Video

Shinedown’s Zach Myers and Brent Smith handed Fulghum their ideas for this year’s stage set — on a paper napkin. “The guys explained what they wanted in a sort of loose way to accompany the sketch,” Carter recalls. “Fortunately, I have been using Gallagher Staging for years, and Tye Trussell is our account rep. He was able to take the stage design, even with all its unique curves and wave forms, and draw it into a CAD program. The harder part was being able to build something like this that we could assemble in under 10 minutes during a set change. Another big issue is the fact that this band will play every type of venue, in addition to these arena sized shows, this year. They want some semblance of this set in use for every show. Tye designed and fabricated something that was modular and could be broken down and used without certain sections for those worrisome gigs where stage real estate is an issue.”

Shinedown utilized 32 Chauvet RH1 fixtures. Photo by Todd Kaplan

Rather than opt for any video elements, Fulghum spec’d a black backdrop that featured the band’s signature S+D logo stationed between two vertical trusses. Around the end of the show, three new drops appeared between the four vertical trusses, saying the words “Attention — Attention,” as in the name of their current album, sandwiched around the album artwork in the center.

Behind Godsmack was an eight-foot-high Bideo wall that rolled in on eight set carts that were staggered so band members could walk through them to make an entrance. Breck placed another 14 Mythos2 lights on top of the wall of video, with four more as shin-busters behind it.

Claypaky Mythos fixtures line the Video wall behind Godsmack. Photo by Todd Kaplan

The video panels were made up of 144 tiles of Screenworks X-12LTE 12mm LED product. All the content was pretty much split between media that Haggerty made himself and loops compiled by William “Viggy” Vignola. The video was all run through the MA Video VPU Dongle servers controlled by the same lighting desk. Both designers use the grandMA2 as their console of choice. Behind the video carts, there was a 60-by-30-foot Metal Mesh backdrop provided by Megan Duckett of Sew What? Inc. This giant crinkled bug screen was lit above and below by GLP impression X4 Bar 10 fixtures.

The set featured a round drum riser that seemed to be nothing fancy until the group entered what Haggerty refers to as the drum battle — “the highlight of the show, in my opinion,” he says. The regular drummer, Shannon Larkin, is sitting on a round riser that is motorized and moves off to the side while vocalist Sully Erna rides onstage on a second riser to join him. “They play an eight-minute drum solo that is structured the same every night. That gave me the opportunity to perfectly choreograph the lighting for that segment,” Breck says. “It was a lot of fun!”

When asked where these Roomba-type drum risers originated, PM Scott Tkachuk states, “We had some hillbilly New Hampshire fabricator up this way build them about 15 years ago,” adding that “we recently had Gallagher do some work on them for the tour.”

The Roombas drive onto stage. Photo by Todd Kaplan

‡‡         The Effects

Pyro played a big part in the show for both artists, and Pyrotek provided all of the effects for Shinedown, which had opted to use a laser system instead of video for this run. Pyrotek provided four of Kvant’s 20-watt RGB lasers to create all the big liquid sky looks and other dazzling effects. They also applied two of their audience scanning systems to supplement the look. As far as flames, Shinedown opted to use eight of the Xplo Wave Flame units. Fulghum notes, “The laser cues were all triggered by time code for our show. Lighting is done with a combination of Timecode and manually. It became more timecode as the tour went on.”

Scott Dunlop, the CEO for Pyrotek, notes that the effects company “has been working with Shinedown since 2014, and it’s been a great honor to offer our support across a wide spectrum of special effects options as they have evolved their live performance. The band, and Brent Smith in particular, are heavily involved in creating the Shinedown live experience and have an unparalleled passion for using all the production elements available to them to create a feel and mood that lines up with the message of their music. Brent is a talented show designer in his own right, and it’s been great to see this show develop to the point where it rivals any production out there in terms of quality, visual impact and crowd engagement.

Shinedown photo by Todd Kaplan

“It’s also been very important to us to have a role in bringing Attention Attention to live audiences,” Dunlop continues. “It is a very personal record for Shinedown, one that addresses themes, including mental health and depression, that are vitally important to huge numbers of people, and we’re proud to have been trusted to play a part in the delicate balance of conveying this message to their fans.”

Godsmack used a variety of effects for their show, all supplied by Stage & Effects Engineering. Stage & Effects’ Steve J talks about his team and their pyro approach. “This tour was a blast for us here at Stage and Effects Engineering — all puns intended! We have been doing pyro for Sully Erna and the boys for 15 of their 20-year career.” Steve J notes that he, along with veterans Fred Lee Price and John Ferrante, “worked closely with Sully on trying to come up with something new that the band hasn’t yet done. We saw the Shinedown show before the co headline run, so we wanted to give the fans something completely different. Sully is very pyro savvy and knows exactly what he wants,” Steve J adds.

Flame Projectors kept Godsmack warm. Photo by Todd Kaplan

The Shinedown show was heavy with mines and comets, so Godsmack went heavy with gerbs and mortar hits, to further distinguish the band’s already-different looks, Steve J says. “Add in the awesome team at Bandit lighting and a great lighting director/designer like Breck Haggerty, and now you have got this great playground of moving triangle lighting pods that you can decorate for days. I always say with pyro, give me a ready cake, and I will slap on the mega frosting — the pyro being that frosting, of course!”

Steve J adds that Sully and he are both longtime Pink Floyd fans, “so seeing the infamous Pink Floyd ring explode with pyro was our inspiration for the triangles to do the same thing. Sully worked closely with Breck to get the angles and positions of the triangles just right, and then we shot 90 gerbs and five concussions off of them, aiming straight at the audience,” Steve says. “Sully then had the triangles land over the two drum kits during the dueling drum solo, in a flat, table top positions. We placed a dozen red mines along with more gerbs, and some flash bang concussions on the triangles shooting straight up.

The 8-minute drum battle in play. Photo by Todd Kaplan

“I will look back at this run and remember it as being one of the best I ever did in my career,” Steve concludes. “Not just from the design standpoint either. We had so much fun cutting up with the Pyrotek crew — John Arrowsmith and Morgan Travis made a hectic day a whole lot less stressful and reminded us all that we are blessed to do what we do. That, my friends, is truly having your cake and eating it too — with extra frosting!”

Carter credited Michael Strickland and Brent Barrett from Bandit for all the help and support with this tour, adding that Matt King, Mark Steinwach, and Jake Tickle should all be commended for their hard work. Breck, in turn, gave kudos to Carter for the accommodation and humor that made this tour livable.

The co-headline tour wrapped up mid-October, but both acts are slated to continue performing more shows this year. Breck and Carter admit they are actually friends, and don’t battle each other over lights. They leave their respective stage managers to duke it out for stage space daily.

The drops are down for Shinedown’s last song. Photo by Todd Kaplan

Godsmack and Shinedown 2018 Tour

Breck vs. Carter in the battle of the pods. Photo by Todd Kaplan


  • Lighting Designer, Shinedown: Carter Fulghum
  • LD/Video Designer, Godsmack: Breckinridge Haggerty
  • Programmer, Godsmack: Joe Cabrera
  • Lighting Co: Bandit Lites (GS+SD)
  • Lighting Crew Chiefs: Wayne Lotoza (GS), Terensa Fensler (SD)
  • Lighting Crew: Mark Scherer (GS), Clayton Peavey (SD)
  • Bandit Crew: Andy French (Crew Chief), Taylor Sherman, Steve “Moose” Strickland, Chris Noll
  • Bandit Reps: Michael Strickland, Brent Barrett
  • Video Crew, Godsmack: Phil Keller (Video Director/GS Spots), Harry “Chin” Kimmel (LED Video Tech)
  • Automation Tech, Godsmack: Christian Burdette
  • Video Content, Godsmack: William “Viggy” Vignola
  • Production Managers: Scott Tkachuk (GS), Tony Moon (SD)
  • Tour Managers: Chris Zakoor (GS), Mary Jo Spillane (SD)
  • Stage Managers: Peter Da Cruz (GS), Charles Terrell (SD)
  • Riggers: Rich “Baggy” Bagwell and Ben Bickel
  • SD Carpenter – Nathan Poort
  • Pyro Co, Shinedown: Pyrotek Special Effects
  • Pyrotek Crew: Reid Derne, Pyro/Flame Designer & Project Manager; Kevin Hughes, John Rooney, Pyro/Flame Programming; Jason McEachern, Laser Designer; John Arrowsmith, Allen Domanski, Morgan Travis; Pyro Techs; Peter Callahan, Jason McEachern, Laser Techs
  • Pyro Flame Designer, Godsmack: Steve J
  • Pyro Crew, Godsmack: Freddy Price, Pyro Crew

Sully gets framed by the triangles. Photo by Todd Kaplan


From Bandit Lites, for both acts:

  • 2       grandMA2 consoles
  • 30     Martin MAC Vipers
  • 38     Vari-Lite VL3500 Washes
  • 36     GLP impression X4 Bar 10’s
  • 22     Solaris Flares
  • 8       Elation Paladins
  • 54     Chabuki Solenoids

The tour utiled three trucks of lighting alone. Photo by Todd Kaplan

Extra gear for Godsmack:

  • 54     GLP JDC1 Strobes
  • 29     Claypaky Mythos 2 fixtures
  • 9       ColorBlast TRX fixtures
  • 144  Screenworks X-12LTE 12mm LED video tiles
  • 8       Screenworks 8’x2’ carts
  • 9       EXE Cyberhoists

Crinkled bug screen makes for a great drop. Photo by Todd Kaplan

Extra Gear for Shinedown:

  • 32     Chauvet RH1 hybrids
  • 16     Elation SixPars
  • 16     Atomic 3000 Strobes
  • 16     Elation ACL 360’s
  • 12     Robe PATT 2017’s

Shinedown photo by Todd Kaplan

From Pyrotek, for Shinedown:

  • 1       Pyro digital control system
  • 4       Kvant 20W RGB laser systems
  • 2       Kvant audience scanning laser systems
  • 8       Xplo Wave Flame units





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