Phish’s 2012 New Year’s Eve Gag, Part 2: The Lighting


Working alongside scenic designer David Gallo for Phish’s annual New Year’s Eve performance and prank at Madison Square Garden in New York City was longtime LD for Phish—24 years longtime, that is—Chris Kuroda.

Accompanying the aerialists—14 over the audience and one more over-stage, all choreographed and sometimes being flung upward at breakneck pace—Kuroda’s lighting was necessarily complex. “With people flying from winches, I didn’t really want to spotlight them with followspots and cast shadows that would look projected onto the audience,” Kuroda says. “I wanted something more mysterious. Where we hung the grid to fly people, I put two wash units—Martin Professional 2000 Wash XBs— at each position for downlighting for more a shadowy, airy look.” Scroll down for the video.

A total of 32 Martin MAC 2000 Wash XB units were brought in specifically for this show, and Kuroda makes regular use of MAC III Profiles and Philps Vari-Lite VLX Wash units in his touring rig with the band, as he did for this performance. “The MAC III Profiles and VLX units were on a platform with the scissor lift backstage of the band gear and all around the decks.”

Kuroda has started using up to 36 Clay Paky Alpha Beam 700s this year in lieu of wash lights in his regular touring rig. “You can get a nice wash or use it tighter, adding to the arsenal of stuff we use,” he says. “For this show, I used them around the circle truss, and I could point them down as a wash or in at the scrim and make cool pan-and-tilt angles. Or I could make them more chunky with frost or slash as profile—neat effects.” Kuroda also notes he made extensive use of the house entertainment package in MSG, including 12 Clay Paky Alpha Spot 1500s and 18 Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures, both of which he says he “loves.”

Kuroda had three MA Lighting grandMA 2 consoles for the New Year’s Eve show, and he ran the lighting segment with the aerialists during “Steam” and “Down With Disease” on the fly. “We prevized it through grandMA 3D, but we really had to run parts on the fly. The great part is that Phish is never ‘done’ evolving, so we can always previz throughout the year. I write effects all year, so wherever the jam music is going, I always have something new, and there’s always more I can write." He adds that the grandMA 2 “has really opened up new artistic abilities.” The consoles were networked for the production, with the third used for dimmers. The lighting programmer was Scott Chmielewski of Digital Media Designs. Lighting gear was provided by Upstaging.

Phish New Years Eve Show
2 MA Lighting grandMA 2
3 MA Lighting NSP DMX Module
34 Philips Vari-Lite VLX Wash
35 Martin Professional MAC 3 Profile
32 Martin MAC 2000 Wash XB
36 Clay Paky Alpha Beam 700
16 ETC Source Four 14° Ellipsoidal
12 Martin Professional Atomic Strobe
12 Marin Professional Atomic Strobe Scroller
3 ACL Par 64-Lamp Bar
4 HazeBase Base Hazer
4 Martin Professional ZR 33 Fogger
5 10’ Tyler Truss Hud Truss
20 8’ Tyler Truss Hud Truss Black
Various Circle Truss
Various Black Box Truss
22 Columbus-McKinnon M 1-Ton Motor
20 Columbus-McKinnon1/2 -Ton Motor
1 8-Station Intercom System

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