Panic! at the Disco, launched its first American arena tour with a set by Atomic Design, Inc. The band recently won Video of the Year at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards for their hit “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” The band and their artistic director and lighting designer, Robb Jibson of Robb Jibson Design, created the concept for the tour set based on the video’s gothic circus theme.
Jibson brought the concept to Atomic Design, Inc. where it was put in the hands of scenic designer, Mike Rhoads. Jibson and Rhoads fine-tuned the design and brought in long-time friends and associates, Tait Towers, to handle staging and custom risers. Central to the theme is a large circus big top and tenting, a lion cage keyboard riser and a merry-go-round drum riser that opens to reveal an entrance for dancers.
The band also wanted a sense that they are playing in the round with the contemporary audience on one side and a Victorian one on the other. Working from a concept that Jibson and the band put forward, Rhoads created the Victorian era audience digitally. This image was then hand colored by fellow Atomic designer Joanna Davis and printed in large format to create the look the band desired.
“This was a perfect project for Robb to bring to us,” said Mike Rhoads of Atomic. “My background is rooted in theatre and this is a very theatrical set. We also thrive on intense collaboration so Robb’s willingness to let us run with the concept while bouncing things back to him worked beautifully.” With the set complete and Jibson’s lighting applied, the final effect proved stunning and exceeded the band’s expectations. "Working with Atomic and delegating some of the design was as seamless as if I were involved with the day-to-day scenic process, instead of only general scenic concept direction. This, in turn, allowed me to focus more time on the lighting but still get an end result that often only occurs when the scenic and lighting designer are the same person. This tight integration made the impossible schedule, with the band actively touring in the UK, Europe and Australia, possible.” Jibson continues. “In the world of flashy LEDs and constant changing scenic elements having a tangible set with real, physical set pieces gives this show a Broadway musical look instead of an awards show. It has been an amazing process and the friendship between Atomic and Tait Towers means that you have the best of both worlds: amazing soft goods and innovative manufacturing. But it still feels like working with a single company.”
The tour kicked off in Fort Lauderdale, FL on November 7th and has stops throughout the US and Canada until mid-December, including Madison Square Garden in New York on Nov 13th and 14th, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, Vancouver, Las Vegas, and San Diego.
Talent Management – Crush Management
Tour Director – David ‘5-1’ Norman
Lighting Director – Robb Jibson
Show Director – Andrew Logan
Lighting & Trucking – Upstaging
Video – Nocturne
Scenic Design – Atomic Design
Staging – Tait Towers