Marilyn Manson's Guns, God, and Government tour, in support of his Holy Wood CD, is playing theatre-size venues for a more intimate feel. But there's still a rush for the audience — and from the pulsating lights and strobes of lighting director A.J. Pen.

Pen, a programmer for TLC, Yes, and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, hooked up with Manson through the latter act's Soul 2 Soul LD LeRoy Bennett (see February LD, page 70). “Roy designed this tour and sent me out to program it; we spent a couple weeks on the phone, sending drawings back and forth, then worked on rehearsals. He was out with me for the first week of shows. It's a total pleasure to work for him, with his past experience with Manson and the way he lights up a rig.

“I usually videotape every third show to see if there is anything I can improve on; it's a good reference tool. With this tour Manson was really concerned with timing, and when he saw that I was hitting the cues at the right time he got comfortable with me. I think he trusts me — if he sees something he doesn't like he'll tell me right away. And he's an artist who notices everything — the set changes, the audio, anything with production.

“Everyone involved is interested in putting on a good show, which is fortunate because it's very theatrical. We have seven different stage looks, different set pieces, a lift for one song he does — there's a lot going on.”

The lighting supplier is Upstaging. “We're using High End Systems Studio Colors® and Studio Spots®. We have 42 Diversitronics 3k strobes, and 10 of those have fixtures that are double strobes put together with a color changer in front. I had never done that before, and it's incredible; I can use strobes in every song because I can get a different look for every one.”

For the “evil, weird angles” Manson prefers, Pen has elected not to use followspots. “We're using Strand Beamlight projectors, with a 5k large-format scroller on the front. I have control over those — they're mounted on the downstage truss so they're at a very high side angle, starting with a 20" beam that spreads out to about 40". It's a very solid shaft of light that comes down on him — he doesn't like frontlight. The spot guys can always get him, and I have control over them from the console as opposed to calling spots.”

GUNS, GOD AND GOVERNMENT TOUR

LIGHTING EQUIPMENT
10 single-cell cyclights
3 custom 7kW audience blinders
42 Diversitronics80 3kW strobes
2 Strand81 Beamlight projectors
19 High End Systems82 Studio Spots
62 High End Systems Studio Colors
10 Wybron83 Colorams for strobes
2 Wybron Colorams for Beamlights
2 High End Systems F-100 foggers
2 Reel EFX84 DF-50 hazers
2 Flying Pig Systems85 Wholehog II consoles
60 ETC86 Sensor 2.4kW dimmers
6 Tomcat117 8' black pre-rig truss sections
10 Tomcat 8' black 12"×18" box truss sections
2 Tomcat black truss corner blocks
15 Tomcat 8' black 12"×12" box truss sections
16 Columbus McKinnon96 chain hoists
1 Motion Laboratories118 motor control system
7 traveler track systems
2 underhung spotlight seats
1 kabuki system
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