Thursday have reunited after a six-year breakup, the New Jersey-born group, came back to the place where it all began – the Starland Ballroom in central New Jersey.
For their reunion, the band wanted a lightshow that conveyed the emotional weight of the occasion, without distracting from their performance. This is precisely what Cody James of JDI Productions delivered.
“The band spent some time talking to us about the emotional aspect of the two shows they would be doing at the Starland Ballroom,” James commented. “This was the first time in six years that they would be performing at their hometown, where there were so many memories. They didn’t want the lights to distract from the show, but they wanted to reflect the emotions involved in this reunion.”
“We had it so everything came from behind them or far off stage left and stage right,” he said. “This left the band plenty of room to perform without the lights being distracting or taking away from what they do.”
James selected eight Rogue RH1 Hybrid and six Rogue R2 Wash fixtures for this task. He arranged four RH1 and four R2 fixtures on cases at just about cab height and positioned them in a line upstage He also hung two RH1 fixtures on 2’ truss towers positioned on either side of the downstage deck and had one R2 Wash positioned on the floor downstage right and downstage left.
“The RH1 Hybrids gave me a lot of different interesting looks without taking away from the artists’ performance,” he said. “The speed of these fixtures also kept up with the music. I used a lot of their custom colour effects and went from beam to wash zoom very smoothly, so it looked like I had twice as many lights. I add the R2’s to my rig mainly for the colour saturation, which gave us emotional depth.”
Weaving the needle between being emotionally intense but not distractive with a lightshow is always a challenge. It was one that James met with flying colours. “Josh Mihlek, who was my Production Manager for these shows, helped me navigate the waters of both nights, so we could pull them off without a hitch,” said the LD. “The entire JDI team was also helpful in more ways than I can say.”
James’ lightshow kept pace reflecting the different moods by changing colours, gobos, beam angles and speed on his Rogue fixtures. He relied on wide bright beams with a lot of purples and yellows, plus a heavy dosage of audience lighting, for the emo concert, then went with soft colours and more up lighting for the second night.
“We had only 40 minutes to prepare for the different set lists, so that was a challenge” said James. The reunited band’s fans had more time to expect something special. Months ahead of their reunion, Thursday put out an Instagram post that read, “NJ-you won’t believe the homecoming we have planned. The line-up and setlist are going to be insane.” So too was the lightshow, thanks to James’ adroit use of some versatile fixtures.