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          Sometimes I am amazed in the transformation of people that can take place in less than a year. With this thread I’m talking about musicians. It’s funny how one day you can watch them be understanding, thankful people who praise your work while understanding typical mishaps that can happen during any stage performance. Then a year later, they have themselves become perfectionists who notice every little detail. Instead of appearing thankful, they have turned condescending.

       I designed a show for a club band last year that was quite grateful for their little set and the nice little lighting package. As the band grew, so did their gear list. In other words more instruments filled the stage. The physical size of the stage got bigger. The lighting rig expanded. The PA more than doubled in size. And of course along with that, every ego became a bit larger, just as it should. Money and fame are powerful aphrodisiacs.

      But the one thing I expected was for this band to remain humble, which they actually have. Except now they notice every little thing that may go wrong during a performance. A perfect light show, flawed by 1 miss-timed Cryo hit makes them think the show was a disaster. And something must be said. So instead of being told, ”Wow great show tonight”, I have people second-guessing my ability to put on a flawless show because my pyro guy hit a cue early. Mind you not a soul in the audience minded. But the show went horribly wrong in someone else's' head.

       Everyone at the show is raving about the lighting. They go in the dressing room and rave to the band about how amazing their production looks. And I think I may have a problem. Certain bands really want their music to do the talking, not the lights or set or dancers or whatever. Guys like Springsteen want a good-lit show; they just don’t want to read about the amazing lighting the next day. Rumor has it that this actually cost a world famous LD his gig years ago. But the fact is I am giving them every thing they have asked for. No static looks on stage, everything has to have some energy to it. So something is always chasing in beat to the music. While not my choice, I am perfectly capable of giving the artist what they want usually. So it looks sharp, but I may have made it what they have asked for.

        But now we are knit picking. I have these cryo units that set off 15’ high bursts of CO2, like a fire extinguisher. They are nice and effective several times during the show. I like the ones I am currently using because they have these built in LEDs that light up the steam coming out. But now I have a problem. The LEDs are getting stuck on in the fixtures, all by themselves. I will black out the whole stage and only 1 little ring of blue LEDs will be stuck on. Barely noticeable to anyone in the arena but the band. And I hear about it. Apparently it’s a pretty big thing to the band because they cannot play while these little blue lights are stuck on. So I shall get rid of them altogether or put black tape over the LEDs themselves. Not sure I can fix them or just need to replace them.

         Chinese technology has bitten me in the hind quarters. A great idea with flawed results it appears. I will see if I can disable the LEDs and use them as old-fashioned CO2 canisters may be better for all of us. Then maybe I can have a perfect show.

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Comment by Nook Schoenfeld on February 18, 2014 at 6:28pm

Clever response. UI learned something new.

Comment by Brooke Kimple on February 18, 2014 at 3:29pm

Not to "knit pick", but it's "nit pick". :-)

Comment by Randell Gillespie on February 18, 2014 at 10:31am

This whole article sums up a portion of what my last 4 years have been like with a job I was recently dismissed from. Lot of hard work, thought and effort went into said gig over a long period of time and as things grew bigger the last 13 months or so even the slightest bump in a otherwise solid show went thru minor to major levels of making an issue of it.

Always enjoy your insight and thoughts Nook. Thank You.

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