Jibson Gets Train on Touring Track; Take That's 'Wonderland' Tour; More Cues

by Debi Moen
in Designer Watch
Robb Jibson calls Train’s ‘Play That Song’ tour design ‘a love child of the Hollywood Bowl and a jukebox.’ Photo courtesy Craig Mitchell and LMG Touring.
Robb Jibson calls Train’s ‘Play That Song’ tour design ‘a love child of the Hollywood Bowl and a jukebox.’ Photo courtesy Craig Mitchell and LMG Touring.

Robb Jibson put Train on its tracks with their new “Play That Song” tour, which kicked off May 12 and runs to July 15 in the U.S. before heading to Australia. Along with his creative company So Midwest Inc., Jibson designed the production and media content; Brent Sandrock designed the lighting and programmed, while Brandon J. Clark takes it on the road as director.

“This was my first go-around with the band,” Jibson says. “Their motive was to match their ad materials, a big orange and black Wurlitzer piece, which they already had created. I didn’t want to create a jukebox exactly, but a stylistic take on it. Since they had never gone with a big video element before, I decided to take that approach. I thought, what if we made a love child of the Hollywood Bowl and a jukebox?”

Jibson also deployed LED panels of varying screen resolutions to give the actual set piece some texture.

“The curved structure dictated the lighting plot, which I hired Brent to handle. Brent and I chiseled out the color palette of each song and I detailed a few things, and then let him go at it. He made it so awesome for me. It was fun to put together.”

Jibson says that, in the past, he’s had to outsource some of the media content creation, but now he handles it in-house with a full time animator.

 Take That’s in-the-round Wonderland tour is 'as epic as ever,' says Tim Routledge.

‡‡Take That’s Wonderland Tour

Creative production and lighting designer Tim Routledge shared a photo of Take That’s in-the-round Wonderland tour in the U.K. and Europe. “It’s an epic show as ever, pushing the boundaries of technology with live performer motion tracking of the lighting rig, motion tracking of moving projection screens, UV reactive graphic falling water and a huge 20m (65.5-foot) revolving carousel of performer flying, a 5m (16-foot) Spiralift, and much more,” he says. “Always exciting and always off the chart for a concert tour, this is way more than just a band onstage, and they have created another full production show.”

More fans were able to “attend” via a live broadcast from London’s O2 Arena show June 9 in select cinemas across Europe.

‡‡Rolling Stones “No Filter” Tour

Patrick Woodroffe of Woodroffe Bassett Design says he and his colleagues are working on a new design for The Rolling Stones’ “No Filter” 2017 tour, which runs September through October in Europe. While we were not privy to a sneak peak, his design may be influenced by the unusual site locations of some of the tour’s 12 venues. For example, Germany’s Stadtpark, a green space in Hamburg, hasn’t been used as a major concert site since 1989. Austria’s show in Spielberg takes place at an open-air space next to the Formula One race track. Meanwhile, the Lucca City Wall in Italy’s Tuscany region is a major historical site that has never seen a major live music event. However, Paris’ U Arena is a new venue, which the Stones will open in style as the first major concert.

‡‡Quick Cues

LD Jon “Hillbilly” Weir is on the road with contemporary Christian band MercyMe’s Lifer tour. Says Weir, “We are doing a mix of theaters and arenas on this run, so I built some flexibility into the rig so it doesn’t look out of place in either type of venue. It’s been a fun little rig to play with. These are a great group of guys to tour with, and it feels less like a job and more like a trip with a bunch of close friends and family.”

U.K. production designer Paul Normandale is creating “the usual diverse bits,” he says. Currently on his eclectic design list is Diana Krall’s upcoming 2017-18 world tour supporting her Turn Up The Quiet album. Lighting operator Conrad “Sport” Dew will carry out Paul’s lighting design when the tour kicks off June 2 in Minneapolis. Normandale was also in Berlin creating touring looks for German punk band Die Toten Hosen and for Danish singer/songwriter Agnes Obel’s European/U.K. tour.

LD Charles Ford is LD, lighting director and programmer for Trey Songz on “Tremaine The Tour,” in support of Tremaine The Album. Says Ford, “Trey Songz wanted a very intimate and stripped down vibe for this show, which could also pack a punch for his more clubby songs.”

Michael B Duncan departs for a nine-week run with wife-and-husband act Pat Benatar/Neil Giraldo as production manager as well as LD. “We’re using local production on all tour dates, so I make it up as I go,” he says.