I came across this fantastic article on PLSN yesterday, in which Mark ”Junior” Jacobson (lighting designer & director) and Breckinridge ”Breck” Haggerty (video designer & director) talk about the stage setup for Tool’s recent 2016 winter tour:
Mark ”Junior” Jacobson
Lighting Designer & Director
“The band hadn’t played live since Spring 2014, and they were offered a festival date in Tempe for Halloween 2015. We found out about it in July 2015, and thought with three months notice, this would be a good time to put together a new show from scratch. It also gave me a chance to finally move Tool off of grandMA1 and into the grandMA2 world.
“In the past, we had always taken our arena design and tried to fit as much of it into a festival stage as we could. There always seemed to be mixed results. This time, we thought we would make a new design that is based on the space you have in a festival stage and geared to work well within those limitations, and maybe even exploit them. This would become our ‘Festival’ rig and we would use it any time they played festivals in the near future. The thinking was that when they do finish the next album we will make a new ‘Arena’ show from scratch, and then we would have two application-specific shows to choose from, depending on the type of show and venue.
“The band enjoyed playing that Halloween festival with their old friends, Primus, and decided to put together a January arena tour with them. We are not quite ready to put together a new ‘Arena’ show, we didn’t want to regress to the old show, and the set list from Halloween is similar to what they planned to play on this tour, so we decided to modify the ‘Festival’ rig to work for this tour. It seems like it goes against our ‘separate rigs’ plan a bit, but we didn’t have to modify it too much to make it work. Mostly sight-line issues you wouldn’t have on a festival stage, since the band is in a box there. We had to move some side lighting trusses up to accommodate the potential 270-degree seating. That was about it for lighting. Video made a few changes, as well.”
It’s a great article, and worth the read. It also features many great photos taken by Steve Jennings.