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Designer Insights

Halsey ‘Hopeless Fountain Kingdom’ Tour

Steve Jennings (Photos & Text) • Current Issue Designer InsightsJanuary 2018 • January 11, 2018
Singer-songwriter Halsey exploded on the music scene when she put out her debut 2015 platinum selling debut album, Badlands. Along with the huge 2016 collaboration with The Chainsmokers on the song “Closer,” Halsey is now touring arenas in support of her 2017 second album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. We spoke with the tour’s lighting designer Sooner Routhier, production designer Robert Long (both of SRae Productions) and lighting director and programmer Craig Rutherford. Read More...
PRG provuded the screens above the stage. All photos by Steve Jennings

Arcade Fire’s ‘Infinite Content’ Tour

Steve Jennings (Photo and Text) • Articles Designer InsightsDecember 2017 • December 14, 2017

We caught up with Canadian rock band Arcade Fire on their “Infinite Content” tour in Denver, CO, where the eight member band, including husband and wife Win Butler and Regine Chassagne, Win’s brother William Butler and the rest of the band swap places and an array of instruments throughout the show. The tour continues into 2018 for dates in the United Kingdom and ends in March in Madrid, Spain. We spoke with creative director Tarik Mikou (of Moment Factory), lighting designer & director Chris Bushell and video director Icarus Wilson-Wright.

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Queen + Adam Lambert 2017 tour photos by Steve Jennings

Queen + Adam Lambert World Tour 2017

Photos and Text by Steve Jennings • Designer Insights • November 9, 2017

Queen + Adam Lambert are back on tour and it also happens to be the 40th Anniversary of the News of the World album, which is nicely tied into the concept of the show. We talked to two key individuals who both have history with the band from previous Queen tours, lighting designer & director Rob Sinclair and set designer Ric Lipson of Stufish.

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Pyro extended 200 feet into the air above the roofless stage. Metallica 2017 tour photo by Steve Jennings.

Metallica WorldWired Tour

Photos and Text by Steve Jennings • Designer InsightsOctober 2017 • October 12, 2017

Metallica’s current “WorldWired Tour” is in support of the band’s Hard Wired… To Self-Destruct album, released last fall. We spoke with the band’s longtime lighting designer and director, Rob Koenig, about working with Dan Braun (show director and set designer) and the tour’s design and logistics he’s encountered for this massive production that’s been filling stadiums around the world. The tour began last year and included a run of stadium dates in North America this past summer. The band is continuing with a series of dates in the U.K. and Europe this fall and next spring.

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Green Day 'Revolution Radio' Tour 2017 photo by Steve Jennings

Green Day ‘Revolution Radio’ Tour 2017

Photo & Text by Steve Jennings • Designer InsightsSeptember 2017 • September 10, 2017

We caught up with production and lighting designer Ethan Weber and lighting director and programmer Tommy Horton for Green Day’s hometown show in Oakland, CA. Although the band has been playing mostly in arenas and sheds for their Revolution Radio tour, this show, staged on Aug. 5 at Oakland, CA’s Alameda County Coliseum, is one of the band’s stadium gigs. The tour, in support of Green Day’s Sept. 2016 album by the same name, is a 120-show trek that launched Sept. 26, 2016, one day after the album’s debut. Since then, the Revolution Radio tour has included multiple legs in North America and Europe along with a series of shows in Australia and New Zealand. After a performance at the Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park on Sept. 23, the band heads to South America and Mexico for a series of shows this November.

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Roy Bennett's pods flew in fixtures from the Motherland. Photos and text by Steve Jennings.

Rammstein 2017 Tour

Steve Jennings (Photos & Text) • Designer InsightsAugust 2017 • August 11, 2017

For those fans lucky enough to see Rammstein’s tour on their limited 2017 U.S. run, one might ask — was it hotter that day in Las Vegas at temperatures of 110 degrees F. outside, or hotter on stage inside the T-Mobile Arena where the band’s pyro is the biggest of any band in the world? We spoke with the tour’s production and lighting designer Roy Bennett, associate lighting designer and programmer Jason Baeri, production manager and ffp managing director Nicolai Sabottka, pyro/SFX crew chief Nick Thompsett and the tour’s two lighting directors, Faren Matern and Bertil Mark.

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Roger Waters 2017 tour photo by Steve Jennings

Roger Waters 2017 Us + Them Tour

Steve Jennings (Photos & Text) • Designer Insights • July 12, 2017

Roger Waters, the co-founder of Pink Floyd, is out on his “Us + Them” tour in support of his new solo album, Is This the Life We Really Want? His live set included five cuts from the new album, with topics ranging from President Trump, climate change and racism. Those things are magnified with the tour’s production visuals — which includes a massive video wall and a truss that lowers down from the rafters in the center of the arena to reveal a replica of the Battersea Power Station from Pink Floyd’s Animals record cover (including smoke chimneys).

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The Weeknd Starboy Legend of the Fall 2017 tour photos by Steve Jennings

The Weeknd ‘Starboy: Legend of the Fall’ 2017 Tour

Steve Jennings (Photo and Text) • Designer Insights • May 13, 2017

Singer, songwriter and record producer The Weeknd (Abel Makkonen Tesfaye), is back out on the road, along with a massive set design by stage designer Es Devlin (Beyoncé, Adele, U2), who’s illustrious background includes design in theatre, dance, pop music, film and TV. Solotech provided all of the lighting and video elements in use. We spoke with two key individuals who worked with Devlin on the tour currently out on a North American leg, lighting designer Sooner Routhier (The Lumineers, Mötley Crüe, G-Eazy), and lighting director/programmer Darien Koop (Pentatonix, Sara Bareilles, Mutemath).

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The design is a showcase for the creative use of negative space. Eric Clapton tour photo by Todd Kaplan. Pictured here, Ayrton MagicPanels mounted above the video panels

Eric Clapton’s Production Design: The Art of Negative Space

Nook Schoenfeld • Designer Insights • April 14, 2017

Dave Maxwell’s Production Design Supports a Legendary Guitarist

Eric Clapton has enjoyed a long career of live performances all over the globe. A little while back he turned 70 and announced his retirement from the touring circuit. But not from performing entirely. He just wanted to do it on his own terms. For the past 22 years, Dave Maxwell has looked after keeping the artist illuminated amongst other things as they traveled.

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Nimblist concocts another great show design. Photo by Steve Jennings

Bon Jovi ‘This House Is Not For Sale’ 2017 Tour

Steve Jennings (Photo and Text) • Designer Insights • March 13, 2017

PLSN caught up with Bon Jovi’s longtime designer Doug “Spike” Brant of Nimblist, the company he runs with Justin Collie based out of Lancaster, PA. Together the two designers and their team put on various immersive entertainment projects, live sports, broadcast specials, festivals and special events and most notably concert tours with the likes of Lady Gaga, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, just to name a few. We spoke with Brant about his work on the current Bon Jovi — This House Is Not For Sale Tour, along with lighting director and automation programmer Joe Bay.

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Santana photo by Chad Tasky

Lighting Santana

Mike Wharton • Designer Insights • February 10, 2017

The phrase,” A well crafted career,” is often heard regarding the success of someone’s longevity in their particular line of work. This certainly applies to Michael Ledesma. Throughout his career, Mike has possessed a key ingredient underpinning all the elements necessary, that of being present in the moment. For 37 years, he has lit some of the greatest artists of our time, and they, in turn have relied upon him to interpret visually their music and art. Longtime associations with legends Paul Simon, Kenny Loggins and Gloria Estefan are a testimonial to not only his lighting skills but his personality as well.

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Nano winches were used to lower faux light bulbs. Photo by Steve Jennings

Stevie Nicks ’24 Karat Gold Tour’ with The Pretenders

Steve Jennings (Photo and Text) • Designer Insights • January 16, 2017

Stevie Nicks performed a solid two-hour set spanning her 35-year solo career, which also included some notable Fleetwood Mac hits on her 24 Karat Gold Tour. With the added pleasure of The Pretenders on the bill, fans got two powerhouse iconic acts in one show. One of the highlights came when Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde comes back out to sing with Steve on the hit “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” to the delight of the crowd.

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