"Gordon and his core design team—longtime collaborator Jared Slomoff, seasoned Broadway set designer David Gallo, and lighting director Jason Liggett—played with several options before arriving at a simple, relatively low-tech set piece. The band plays in front of three light boxes, each 8 feet tall. Each is fronted by a pair of mesh screens (think screen doors) arranged a few inches apart. In the back are arrays of multi-colored Philips ColorBlast TRX LED fixtures. When the boxes light up various colors, subtly shifting moiré patterns appear on the screens as they vibrate with the music or billow slightly as the air around them moves. Gordon even commissioned moiré instruments for himself and guitarist Scott Murawski to match the light boxes. The guitar and bass—crafted specifically for this tour by Ben Lewry of Oakland, California’s Visionary Instruments—are hollow, with LEDs inside that make them glow, and moiré screens stretched across the front. The LEDs in the guitars and in the giant boxes on the stage are manipulated by lighting director Jason Liggett, who sits at the back of the venue and follows along with the band, swapping colors and flashing patterns in response to the music.
“Ninety percent of what I’m doing is improvisation,” says Liggett. “There’s a lot of lights up there, and it’s a trick to make it all work together cohesively.”
The result is subtly psychedelic—the musicians playing moving blobs of color, standing in front of a giant wall of shifting tones—and totally unlike your typical light show. The stage lighting is sometimes complimented by simple, monochromatic projections of organic shapes and patterns that lighting designer Liggett splays across the band. It all adds an ethereal, otherworldly visual layer to the proceedings.
The effect is enhanced by the fact that much of the on-stage gear common to a rock show stays hidden. Amplifiers are concealed behind the light boxes. Effects pedals are covered by hoods. The guitar and bass are outfitted with elaborate wireless setups, so there are no cables. Floor monitors have been eliminated in favor of in-ear monitors. Almost everything else on the stage is painted flat black: the microphone stands, the organ, even the congas. As a concert-goer, all you see are the blobs of color, the shifting patterns, the guitars with their flashing lights." *SEE FULL ARTICLE ABOVE