Display Ad
Hide Ad

Weezer & Pixies 2018 Summer Tour

by Steve Jennings (Photos and Text) • in
  • October 2018
  • Showtime
• Created: October 13, 2018

Share This:

WEEZER © Steve Jennings. The Weezer and Pixies tour ran from June 23-Aug. 12, 2018.

Lighting Co

LMG Touring

Venue

Various (Tour)

Crew

Weezer Production Crew:

Production & Lighting Design: Tess Falcone and Dan Hadley

Lighting Director/Programmer: Tess Falcone

Tour Manager: Thomas O’Keefe

Production Manager: Douglas Forsdick

Production Coordinator: Kim Hardy

Production Assistant: Vanessa Reddin

Lighting Crew Chief: Mat Gass

Lighting Techs: Cale Wetstein & Colton Sellers

Rigger: Brock Hogan

Automation: Angel Aguirre, Jeremy Wetter

Pyro/FX: Duane Nowak, Eric Martinez

Carpenter: David “Bull” Parrish

Stage Manager: Kyle Wood

Pixies Production Crew:

Show Designer, LD: Myles Mangino

Tour & Production Manager: Simon Foster

Stage Manager: Paul “Chumpy” Knowles

Other Production Companies:

Promoter: Live Nation

Staging, Automation & Fabrication: SGPS

Soft Goods & Printed Scenic: Rent What? / Sew What?

Pyro & FX: Strictly FX

Trucking: On Tour Logistics

Gear

2       grandMA2 Full consoles

53     Martin MAC Quantum Washes

37     Martin MAC Viper Air EFX

46     Clay Paky Sharpy Washes

16     Vari-Lite VL6000’s

38     Elation Cuepix Blinder WW2’s

18     GLP JDC1’s

4       Hazebase base*touring units

Designer Insights by Steve Jennings:

PLSN caught the Pixies & Weezer 2018 tour at the end of their summer shed tour and spoke with the designers for Weezer (Tess Falcone & Dan Hadley) and Pixies (Myles Mangino).

Tess Falcone (Weezer)

Weezer Production & Lighting Designer;

Lighting Director/Programmer

Designer & Director Tess Falcone has been working with Weezer for the past two years, but only on festivals and fly dates. She chatted with the band’s management toward the end of last year about the upcoming summer tour and they initially were discussing bringing in a big name designer. Falcone convinced them to at least allow her to submit drawings for the design without any promise of being chosen.

“We then did a few weeks with Foo Fighters, and I was fortunate enough to meet their designer & director, Dan Hadley, who had worked for Weezer in the past, so he was quite familiar with them. We discussed the potential for a co-design of the tour and found out that we actually complemented each other very well in the design process.

“We spent lots of time sending drawings back and forth and figuring out each other’s work styles, as well as sitting down together to talk things through. Dan is very hands-on in his designs, so we were cutting out card stock in order to make physical 3D models of the design to try to figure out what would work. It was really helpful so we weren’t just throwing pictures on a screen and hoping that it could actually be realized.”

The band went through a few different themes before landing on the final concept so there were a lot of iterations of the design but they eventually decided to go through a bit of a Weezer history lesson, where the show morphed from the Happy Days set of their second music video (“Buddy Holly”) into the garage set of their third video (“Say It Ain’t So”), into an “Island in the Sun” themed B-stage, and finally into a big rock show.

“When the band settled on having the multi-part show, Dan and I were tasked with figuring out how to make this plausible with the changes making sense in the show and without wasting too much of their set time. The easy solution would have been to use video, but the band’s last big tour was heavy on video, so I was more interested in figuring out a different solution. Dan and I both come from a more theatrical background, and Dan suggested the use of periaktoi (spinning three-sided theatre flats), in addition to a few kabukis and a bunch of practical set pieces.

“We had Electronic Countermeasures create the artwork for all of the soft goods to set the scene, then added in large set pieces that could flip and turn from one scene to the next to fit the look. The last bit was to have the famous Weezer “Flying W” evolve from a small LED W in the diner, to a DIY, Christmas-light-filled medium W in the garage, to the big, marquee-sign W (mounted with pyro).

“The rock show look was based entirely on the shape of the W sign so we had SGPS build the periaktoi frames and provide the automation to spin and raise them. The show was very set-heavy for 2/3 of the show, with lighting that was primarily practical. For the final rock show scene, we added 76 lights (Sharpy Washes, JDC1 strobes, and Cuepix WW2 blinders) and it significantly changed the whole feel of the show.

“We knew going into the tour that we had created something complex and difficult to pull off, with so many set changes and a lot of moving parts, so we relied heavily on our amazing crew to make it happen every day. We were so fortunate to have people who were so willing to lend a hand with things that weren’t necessarily their duties in order to succeed. Working with the Pixies was awesome because their crew is all so professional and nice, and Myles’ light show was stunning and original. Their show was also vastly different from the Weezer set so it made for a nice contrast.”

 

Dan Hadley

Weezer Co-Designer

“As Tess mentioned, I’d worked with Weezer a lot in the past, and when they supported Foo Fighters in Australia I met Tess and we naturally ended up chatting about their summer plans. She showed me what she’d been dreaming up and I’m not always good at keeping my nose out of stuff and we started shooting ideas back and forth about it until she decided that it’d be helpful to have my input officially. I started as just a consultant on the design that she presented and which secured her position as designer for the tour, but Rivers (singer) had a fit of ambition and the whole concept changed, the workload basically tripled, and I became more of a co-designer. It was basically one rock show design and two theatrical scenic designs which can be made or broken in the details, so there were a thousand decisions to make about minutiae on top of the normal truss and motors and fixtures. I’ve never had to make a decision about condiment dispensers on a rock tour before now.”

“There was an initial concept that was based on their current album, but once Rivers got to thinking about it more he decided that he wanted to do much more and gave us the rundown of Diner/Garage/B-Stage/Rock Show. “Once that was handed down we rushed to get an initial approval before knuckling down on the details, which became an all day every day process with a hundred file versions of the plot. As we are both (as many people are) largely self-taught on Vectorworks, there was a lot of learning about workflow and tool usage and although sometimes frustrating, we both came out of it with better skills and new perspectives.”

Hadley says the challenges were many, being that the tour was a co-headline and they needed to do this big undertaking but also give room to the Pixies to have a show of their own.

“It would have been fairly easy to put up some video walls and call it a day, but that didn’t interest anyone involved, it just wasn’t the right feel. This brought forth the periaktoi set, which in an outdoor setting has its own set of issues, and of course the choreography of making the changes as smooth as possible to not eat up any of the band’s stage time. It really was quite an undertaking but physical pieces being moved by humans gives a tangible presence to the show that helps engage the audience in a way that no video can do. Myles’ patience played a big role in our ability to execute it and his talent was easily displayed with how incredibly different the shows looked- there was certainly a great contrast of style and concept between the two bands.

“One of the big surprises was initially a side note that we hadn’t figured on taking such prominence, the transition getting Rivers from the stage to a B-stage without the show losing momentum. After a lot of going back and forth, and what was initially mentioned jokingly, we ended up with the SS Weezer. A sort of parade float boat that Rivers rode and sometimes rowed out to the middle of the crowd. It quickly became the B-stage itself and put him in the middle of the fans to the delight of both parties, also providing cover for the final transformation from the garage scene into the ‘Rock Show’ to prepare for the big finish with pyro and all.”

 

Myles Mangino

Pixies Show Designer & Lighting Designer

“What a wonderful way to spent the summer,” says Pixies Designer/Director Myles Mangino “Outdoors with Weezer, Pixies, openers Wombats and Sleigh Bells.

“I first ran into Tess at LDI and started talking about the design. So we were in discussions 10 months before the tour started. About six months out, Dan Hadley was brought in, and the three of us would send Vectorworks files back and forth, continuously updating things. About two thirds of the rig was shared, and another third was dedicated to each band.

“Since Weezer had loads of scenic, and they were talking about a 15-30 minute changeover, I knew I had to do something where my rig was out of the way as quickly as possible and do something that looked as different as possible to Weezer, while sharing part of the rig.

“Pixies’ signature look is lots of floor back light and scenic, but with the time we had, I opted for a ‘Wall of Lights’ look – three HUD trusses loaded up with Air EFX, Quantum Washes and WW’2s, lowered in for our set.

“It made a very versatile grid to paint pictures with, and we could simple fly these three trusses out of the way at change over. It was wonderful working with Tess and Dan and all the LMG crew. Forty or so shows, and the rig was 100 percent, every night.”

 

More Weezer/Pixies 2018 tour photos by Steve Jennings:

Share This:

Leave a Comment:

Check Out Some Past PLSN Issues