So, over the last year or so, I’ve had a couple people tell me that I’ve gone completely overboard with lighting.
They say “You don’t need more than 8 lights” or “People go to hear the music, not see a light show”.
I disagree, strongly. Sure, you don’t need a super-complex light show with 40 washes and fog and lasers and whatnot. You can set up two LED par cans on stands at the front of the stage, and the audience will see you just fine. As far as that goes, you can clamp two work lights to your speaker stands with 60 watt incandescent light bulbs and your audience will “see” the band.
But for me, I can’t help but think of the times I went to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra (6 times), who almost certainly has the most visual effects of any band ever, and just being blown away by the sound AND the lights. The light show masks the fact that they don’t really run around the stage too often, probably because the stage is so crowded, not to mention they’re not as young as they once were.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing After Dark to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra; they’re a phenomenon, we’re a cover band, but I can draw some parallels between us and them. It seems to me that having a visually interesting light show is a good way to help disguise the fact that older guys can’t run around a stage without worrying what their knees will feel like the next day, or that once you pull your back tying your shoe, you’ll never forget how long it took you to feel normal again.
Unless the miracle of modern medicine can make me 43 in a 25 year old body, we’re gonna keep our light show as interesting as possible.
The other parts of the light “hate”, I believe come from misunderstandings. The idea that a complex light show is hard to set up and tear down, is complete and utter nonsense. Our light show goes up in 15 minutes (give or take), and comes down in the same amount of time. It would take one person three trips to get everything from the vehicle and vice versa, and none of the parts weigh more than 20 lbs.
Also the idea that lights are more trouble than they are worth due to a lack of clean outlets/electricity. For the After Dark light show, total power consumption is 1590 watts, about the same as a microwave oven, or professional hand-held hair dryer, except that because they’re all LED, they don’t throw any heat.
And lastly, finding “someone” to run the lights, and paying them out of the band’s earnings at the end of the night. Our entire light show is run via computer. We don’t have to worry about the “light guy” getting drunk and missing cues or running to the bathroom and not being there to black out the lights at the end of a song, or not even showing up because his girlfriend (who is his ride) got arrested for DUI and is currently in jail.
So you folks that disagree can stick to your “KISS” principle. In the meantime, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing.