Nine Inch Nails Lights In The Sky (2008) - Top Concert Tour Design of all time
Credited by: LiveDesignOnline.com
Aug 1, 2010 3:53 p.m.
Leroy Bennett has designed lots of shows through the years that have pushed the art of stage design, but Lights In The Sky finds itself on this list for many reasons, not the least of which was the imaginative use of varying resolution screens positioned in layers — sometimes in front of the band, sometimes behind it, and sometimes both. One even came in to land 6' from the edge of the stage for a couple songs, the band behind it with two more screens as background. There was even band and crew "interaction" with the screens including a crewmember who appeared to erase the content on a screen using his flashlight. Bennett also made inventive use of an audience–facing, upright array of Martin Professional MAC 300 LED fixtures that sat on the stage, programmed to use the movement of the fixtures themselves as effects (think: the wave performed by luminaires). Cory FitzGerald programmed the lighting, and Sean Cagney programmed the video for the tour.
It was our cover story in October 2008.
'Heart' Stronger Than Faith
McGraw & Bennett Duet Makes History
Credited by: By Dan Aquilante
June 26, 2006
Tim McGraw loves his wife Faith Hill, but at Madison Square Garden Friday night the rhinestone cowboy also revealed his devotion to American music icon Tony Bennett: The jazz singer took center stage with him to sing the Hank Williams classic "Cold, Cold Heart."
McGraw said it was a dream come true for him personally. It as also an incredible moment in country-music history that bridged the half–century it took to get from when Bennett made that song the first country tune to become an international hit in '51, to today, when this Soul2Soul tour featuring McGraw and Hill could sell out the Garden for two nights.
Tony looked and sounded excellent, and seemed very excited to be playing for 20,000 fans - McGraw was awestruck – and Faith had to be just a little jealous at how well her man was clicking with another man.
It was certainly the most exciting moment during the show dubbed Soul2Soul II, which reprised the formula from the 2000 edition of the all–the–hits extravaganza.
The production was one of the most elaborately staged concerts the Garden has ever hosted, exceeding the razzle–dazzle that U2 and the Rolling Stones brought last year.
They played in a theater–in–the–round staging, with a quartet of catwalks that reached the cavernous arena's compass points. The setup allowed everyone in the theater, even those in the nosebleed seats, great views and top–grade sound, albeit louder than you'd expect.
What the fans saw close–up, besides McGraw making goo-goo eyes at his hero Tony, was how the Hill/McGraw combination generated the kind of electricity that Johnny Cash and June Carter were able to spark when they sang together.
During the couple's generous, 2 ½ hour Garden show, there was plenty of kissin' 'n' huggin' and some very sweet harmonies between them. When they did their full-set solos – the lady first – these artists showed off the kind of showmanship that's earned them top ranks among Nashville's elite.
Since her first hits, Hill has evolved into a very cosmopolitan country singer. At this show, her music often had more to do with Mariah Carey pop than Loretta Lynne twang. Hill's range has reach, but her strength is in her lower register.
That wasn't noticeable when she sang her own hits such as "Mississippi Girl" and the pretty ballad "Fireflies," as when she dipped into the blues shouter "Piece of My Heart." Working the deep sultry pleading of that number, she projected Janis Joplin's appealing earth mama quality.
Of the pair, McGraw definitely wears the cowboy hat in the family. He bangs and twangs his way through most of his set like he's a rodeo rider. He also has a better band than Faith, which revels in playing hard-core honky-tonk.
There were a couple of minor missteps during the show, but McGraw and Hill were successful in showcasing the facets of modern country while proving to other hat acts that there is an audience for the music here in the city.