Matchbox Twenty kicked off the first of over 30 stops on their Matchbox Twenty: Exile in America at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida this past January, and with over 44 million albums sold, the band made their way across the US, playing to more than 30 sold out venues. The tour concluded on March 18, 2008 at the Pearl Concert Theatre in Las Vegas.
With a expedition of this magnitude, it was only appropriate that lighting designer/programmer and video designer Benoit Richard of Millennium Lighting Design, Inc. not only employ unforgettable lighting, but use quality products that possessed a strong temperament for the duration of the tour and translate the band’s vision.
“I always use pre-visualization software as a starting point for all of my designs,” notes Richard. “I also like to have a large amount of control when it comes to the visual package. Having a hand in all aspects of the production definitely helps give the show a seamless look.”
Keeping dynamism in mind, Richard chose a rig outfitted with a large quantity of Martin products including 28 MAC 2000 Wash, 12 Atomic Strobes with Color Changers, 25 Stagebar 54, and 22 MAC 700 Profile. It is safe to say, however that Richard’s choice of using 36 LC2140 and 4 LC1140 may be what sets this tour apart from the rest.
The LC Series is a semi-transparent, modular system of LED panels, perfect for displaying video and images. The LC closely integrates light, video, and set design, offering entirely new possibilities for staging.
“Out of all the transparent video products on the market, I thought the Martin LC had the perfect look for the band,” says Richard. “It’s definitely the ‘cleanest’ and the most transparent that I found.”
Richard’s sentiments are echoed by Stephen Gray and Eric Wade of CT Touring, the video vendor for the tour. “I was very impressed with the overall image quality of the LC panel, especially considering that this product is Martin’s first venture into the LED video screen realm,” says Gray.
“I thought it was wonderful,” agrees Wade. “We are going to use it in Australia and Europe on the last leg of the tour. I think that speaks a great deal about the product.”
“The 40mm pixel pitch gives it a certain texture that works very well with the type of content we are using for each song,” notes Richard. This was important, as he was intent on bringing a beautifully complex video design to life. “To create some 3D video looks at certain points within the show, the LC panels worked really well in front of the Lighthouse R16 hi-res LED screen,” explains Richard. “The fact that the LC is 60% transparent made it possible for us to spread the two LED surfaces apart and increase the field of view for the audience.”
Other challenges revolved around travel, set-up, and breakdown time, all of which the LC panels handle famously. “I haven’t had one issue while traveling with the LC,” states Wade.
“Due to the panel weight and size it allowed for a quick install/strike time,” adds Gray.
Richard concludes, “Coming up with visual design concepts is not as hard as finding the right team to execute 4 or 5 load-outs each week. If I didn’t have these dedicated professionals by my side, this show would never be as cool as it is.”
North American Tour Equipment Suppliers:
- Ed & Ted's Excellent (Lighting)
- CT Touring (Video)
- Show Distribution (Motion Control)