No Doubt officially hit the road in May for a reunion tour (lead singer Gwen Stefani having put out a few albums and toured solo over the past few years) in May, in support of no new album, but just for the thrill of it.

Creative director and production designer Ray Woodbury, who has worked with Stefani and the band on past tours, took the lead again to oversee the creation of an all-white, LED-clad set and lighting design. Woodbury says the band itself fosters a sense of the unified vision that necessitates having him at the helm. “There was already somewhat of an infrastructure in place from Gwen’s tour,” he says. “I took on I took on creative and production design, overseeing everything in this particular situation.”

The band held a couple of shows in advance of the official tour in Atlantic City using an entirely different design. “Rehearsals started about a month and a half before that,” says Woodbury. “We put them in a studio in LA so they could rehearse, create tracks in ProTools, and create elements that didn’t really exist; so much didn’t really exist five years ago, so we started talking about that stuff in January…We started production design on the west coast as they were finishing on the east coast.”

Woodbury notes that, while Stefani had been recording and performing solo, she developed an image of a fashion icon that didn’t exactly fit with No Doubt’s history. “The band has really been more street-level, punk roots, straight-ahead with the look and attitude,” he says. “They wanted to get back to that.” Inspiration came from a black-and-white photo the band has on its website, which Woodbury calls “simple, stripped down but still stylish as far as their look and attitude—sort of mod looking—so we started playing with arrows and targets originally, but it all looked like something done in the past, and the arrows didn’t have enough dimension. We wanted modern but to have some other element.”

That’s about when the Encounter restaurant and bar at Los Angeles International Airport started to become an inspiration. “Ted Baumgart, who also knows [lighting designer] Butch Allen, draws, starting almost with simple stick figures, and he gets into depth and dimension,” says Woodbury. “We can describe something to him in our own words, and he starts piecing together ideas of what you’re saying, and you start to refine it that way. As soon as I mentioned that building at LAX, he says, ‘That’s Googie,’ this architecture that was born out of Anaheim, which is where the band grew up. A lot of places there are Googie: Disney, the Convention Center.”

One of the goals of the production design was to give it dimension and transparency so the audience can see elements through the set. “I was a big fan of super-impactful video for this,” says Woodbury. “I wanted to go with 8-mil video as high impact as possible and land the video on the all-white stage floor, so you don’t look up like it’s a TV but more like it’s part of the set. We designed a lot of content over the elevations of the set, so it would fit right and be part of the set.”

And the lighting designer was also involved in the overall production design, according to Woodbury. “Butch is as instrumental in helping me design this stuff as possible,” he says. “He’s my sounding board for everything and where I put it. Without him, I would have made a lot of mistakes.” The design includes 312 Winvision 8mm LED tiles that form a 48’x 22’ video wall, as well as screens on either side “that sort of diagonals downstage with the [Barco/High End Systems] Showbeams 2.5,” says Woodbury (more on the lighting design with Butch Allen later).

As far as the stage construction itself, built by All Access Staging & Productions, Woodbury refers to the process as a “nightmare for them because of the compound angle—two keyboard players up there I wanted to integrate into this custom stand we built. Those guys came out to measure, and there are two stands on either side, and it just looks like an integrated piece of the set but they house everything.” He adds that the drum kit has two bent pieces of metal that holds all the parts of the kit, so it looks as if it’s all built directly into the set. “All Access also built the cone under the drummer,” adds Woodbury. “We knew we wanted to light that some way, so we threw lights under the set in general, and then video tubes inside of the drum cone so we could pixel-map what was on the cone to correspond what was on the main screen.”

Stay tuned for additional coverage, including the Butch Allen’s lighting design and Sean Cagney’s video programming.

Credits
Creative Director: Ray Woodbury
Video Director: Sophie Muller
Lighting Designer: Butch Allen
Lighting Director: Jesse Blevins
Video Director: Michael Tinsley
Video Programmer: Sean Cagney
Production Manager: Jimmy Pet
Stage Manager: Steve Roman
Lighting Crew Chief: Wayne Boehning
Video Crew Chief: Ken Ackerman
Video Engineer: Nelson Funk
LED Lead: Rod Silhanke
Lighting Crew: Trevit Cromwell, Terry Smith
Projectors/Hippotizer Tech: Brandon Oosterhof
Lighting: Epic Production Technologies
Video: Chaos Visual
Stage Build: All Access Staging & Productions