Lüz Studio reflects on Jack White: The Supply Chain Issues Tour

Lüz Studio Creative Director, Matthieu Larivée reflects on the unique production design behind Jack White’s aptly-titled world tour.

Jack White’s latest live campaign, The Supply Chain Issues Tour, celebrates the release of two new records, Fear of the Dawn and Entering Heaven Alive. Embarking on his third collaboration with the former White Stripes singer, Lüz Studio Creative Director and the tour’s Production and Lighting Designer, Matthieu Larivée enlisted the support of audio, lighting and video vendor, Solotech, to transform an ambitious design from the sketchpad to stages across the globe.

“Jack White concerts are unique because there is no set list, everything is live, with over 100 songs for him to perform,” Larivée began. “Songs are either performed on the piano or his electric guitar, so we have assembled a reactionary road crew able to create moods based on his ever-changing performance style.”   

A series of aesthetic blocks are programmed with lights, video and automation to ensure cohesion. “Every block has its own identity, a series of visual and lighting programming cues, which the LD or VD are able to manipulate and interact with each other,” the designer commented. 

The main production design saw a 40ft wide by 24ft deep stage decorated with an Austrian curtain above, a back wall video screen made up of ROE Visual CB5 LED panels housed in Air Frames, flanked by IMAGs and extendable back and side lighting towers on each side of the stage. The dynamic stage design also boasted a 6ft 2in Hawaiian statue inspired by one of White’s latest music videos. A pedal board which controlled the lighting of the statue was positioned by the bass player on stage. Depending on the song, the colour changed in accordance with the music – red for White Stripes, green for Raconteurs, and blue for Jack White’s solo material.

“The screen adds depth to the stage and a live camera crew helps connect Jack with the audience. However, we had to be wary not to upstage the band’s performance,” Larivée said, highlighting the famed blue colour scheme of the singer-songwriter’s live shows. “Jack likes that the audience dives into his world,” Larivée was keen to point out. 

“Creating content solely with a blue colour palette is tricky, as it often tricks your eyes, if you hit a white punch, it looks yellow. Thankfully, the contrasting black and white IMAG mix with blue lighting created  a unique contrast for the audience.”

As for the video content, Lüz created 3D set extensions lit by volumetric lighting which, according to Larivée, is a signature for the studio. “We usually make designs favouring par cans, which create a nice volumetric beam. Recreating single pixels that can zoom in and out, all render-free, was a huge step up for us,” Larivée said. ”We had to create a grandMA fixture type that goes with it because it’s not a video file, it’s a virtual lighting fixture run by Notch VFX and disguise gx 2c media servers. Our crew did a lot of R&D to allow it to be run live with no latency.”

The Lüz Studio team was made up of: Production and Lighting Designer, Matthieu Larivée; Production and Lighting Assistant, David Rondeau; Video Content Producer, MC Dufort; Video Content Designer, Dave Pawsey; Interactive Designer and Media Server Programmer, Philippe Marquis; Notch Designer, Simon Rouhier; as well as Motion Designers, Maxime Lortie, Sebastien Deschenes, Maxime Rouleau-Villeneuve, Camille Joubert, Emilie Fortier and Jeanne Joly. 

The wider touring team meanwhile featured: Production Manager, Adam ‘Cutty’ Richards; Tour Manager, Lalo Medina; Lighting Director, Michelle Sarrat; Lighting Crew Chief, Kevin Chan; Video Director, Tyler Chapel; Video Content Director, David Leonard; Video Crew Chief, Olivier Tremblay.

This article originally appeared in issue #270 of TPi, which you can read here.