The show and visuals director for Dead & Company, Christopher Ragan, says he designed the lighting for the group’s tour of “iconic” venues after careful listening to its songs in the studio.
Formed by members of 1960s group The Grateful Dead with singer-songwriter John Mayer, the band played venues including Dodger Stadium (56,000) in Los Angeles, Folsom Field (53, 600) in Boulder, Colorado, and Citi Field (41,900) in New York.
Illinois-based production company Upstaging used its own HUD truss system to install a 48ft (14.6m) long downstage truss above the stage. These were loaded with 10 BMFL Spots, six BMFL Blades, eight Spiiders, some strobes and other lights. A 50ft (17m) mid-stage truss carried 10 BMFL Spots and LED batten effects. Nearly 150 Robe moving lights were used in the show.
The band’s set drew on a catalogue of over 200 songs and Ragan says he had to be ready to deploy the cues he developed in rehearsal with lighting programmer Jim Rood for the tracks selected each show.
“About 20 songs have some special cueing that may or may not be played on any given night,” says Ragan. “Jim provided me with a handful of unique tricks for each song and I use the ones I like best.
“A major objective was to ensure quick load-ins, so we had sound, lighting, video and all the band kit installed and ready to rock for 3pm sound checks every day.”