Live's home on the road--at least for two hours every show night--features arches, towering columns, and chandeliers. It may be a far cry from York, PA, where the band grew up, but it is an apt reflection of their latest album, Secret Samadhi.
Designed by LeRoy Bennett and fabricated by Tait Towers, the set has LD Joel Reiff's whole-hearted approval. "A lot of set designers submitted some pretty wacky ideas," Reiff says. "Roy's was the only one that really took the record into account. Roy is so tuned into lighting because he's one of the best LDs there is, so the set has been amazing to work with. The columns have gold-bronze facing, and they take light so well--they're just made of rope, but they look like steel. They really look solid."
While Reiff describes the lighting system as fairly basic, it does include 25 Vari*Lite(R) VL2C(TM) automated luminaires and eight Clay Paky Golden Scan HPEs. "Obviously, I have my array of moles and scrolls for those nice little power plunge moves," Reiff says. "And we've got 16 Diversitronics 3k strobes, which are huge, and I love them. We only use them a few times, where it fits the songs, but every time the audience relaxes, thinking, 'Okay, I survived that last strobe burst,' five or six songs later we nail them again. In rock and roll, people come for the abuse. That's what they pay for, isn't it?"
Hammering out these effects with Reiff is Vari*Lite programmer/ operator Jim Pettinato, who runs the Artisan(R) console. "With Jim, it's not like a designer and Vari*Lite operator setup; it's two designers. We have a real give-and-take, back-and-forth relationship," Reiff says. "There is a real synergy, because we just keep building on each other's looks.
"The Vari*Lites really take the show to new heights. There's so much flexibility in the incredible amount of colors you can go to and in the way the console is set up. The Vari*Lite console is like an old lighting guy's console. It's very user-friendly. The key to the way the show looks is truly that there's not just one person directing it. And Jim and I are both really critical of our work, so we're always adding cues and changing looks."
During the show, Reiff runs the Clay Paky HPEs from a Celco Navigator console and a Celco Gold for the conventional equipment with a Leprecon 1200 for the color changers. "I'm trying to get one of everything," he laughs. "I'm a console collector."
SK Lights and Vari-Lite, Inc., are the tour's lighting suppliers. The lighting crew includes technicians Craig Stephens and Frank "Food" Fedele, and rigger/carpenter Brian "Puffy" Knight. Ken Hague is the production manager. The tour will finish up its US leg and then head overseas to conquer Europe.