LD Justin Bridges with Brandi Carlile

by Debi Moen
in On the Road
LD Justin Bridges
LD Justin Bridges

TOUR: “The Story: An Acoustic Evening with Brandi Carlile.”

DATES: To Sept. 15, U.S. and Canada.

DESIGN: “LD Mikey Cummings had the original concept for how Brandi’s show should look and feel. Brandi likes the feeling of the Grand Ole Opry — a theatre with great acoustics to complement her music. She likes to see her audience, and she will walk to and from the light for that connection with them. Many times she goes out onto the lip of the stage to be closer and more intimate with the audience.

“On this acoustic tour, the first set is Brandi and the twins performing, ‘The Story.’ After intermission, they change up the setlist based on audience reaction and requests, so we commonly busk on the fly.

“We like to make subtle lighting changes to let the lighting build. On this tour we use a complement of what was locally supplied. This tour was to be minimalistic and simple, as the band wanted to put more toward the War Child charity that the new CD, Cover Stories, is supporting. There are no scenic pieces this time. We don’t want to over-dramatize the lighting — it’s about emotions, lyrics.”

Brandi Carlile at Red Rocks. Her 2007 album supporting the War Child organization turns 10 this year. Photo courtesy Justin Bridges

BACK STORY:

HOME BASE: Long Island, NY

YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY: 12

WITH THE BAND: 1

CAREER SPARK: “I was always interested in behind the scenes. As a kid, I started out hanging at the Apollo Theater in New York. Their approach was, ‘If you’re going to hang around, you might as well learn something,’ so I did. First day of high school, I got introduced to lighting design. Nobody knew how to use it. The music department director gave me a budget of $20,000 and said, ‘We need a new lighting system.’ It was trial by fire. I learned from self-teaching and mentors.”

FIRST INDUSTRY GIG: “DJ technician on weekends. I would set up DJ equipment, audio systems, run sound and sometimes lighting for different DJs, before it turned into the EDM industry it’s become today.”

HEROES/MENTORS: “Paul Hoffman, watching the depth he puts into all his lighting rigs. I also learned from watching Patrick Dierson and Steve Lieberman command massive stages of EDC and Ultra Miami. I followed Mikey Cummings’ career and, next thing I knew, he called me for this gig.”

RECENT GIGS: “I just finished programming pyro for Paul McCartney’s ‘One On One’ tour. I also LD and program the Hyte Music Festival in America, a German techno festival.”

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO? “I love the travel — I always wanted to see the world. And being able to stimulate people’s minds — seeing people’s faces at the end of a great show — is an added bonus.”

BEST ADVICE? “It’s only a matter of time until the audience is logging into a concert in virtual reality and not having to be physically present. Technology changes faster than a blink of an eye, so there’s always something new to learn. And always stay humble!”