Alternative rockers Matchbox Twenty are hitting the North American concert tour once again with a string of tour dates that will keep the band on the road through the end of the year.
Despite having been on the road non-stop since April, with tour dates that included an initial North American leg before heading to a sold-out arena tour of Australia and Europe, the quintet show no signs of slowing down. And, why not? The band’s third album, More Than You Think You Are, has hit the multi-platinum sales level.
Accompanying the band throughout the year has been a powerful lighting rig made up of Martin MAC 2000 and Atomic fixtures. Lighting for the tour was designed by Mark Brickman, however for touring dates the lighting was left in the capable hands of Lighting Director Ben Richards.
Lighting suppliers Ed and Ted’s Excellent Lighting of Oxnard, California supplied the Martin equipment for the North American legs while in Australia lighting was supplied by Bytecraft Entertainment through Martin distributor Show Technology. Neg Earth took care of the lighting needs on the European leg.
“Mark and the band’s drummer, the artistic director in the band, came up with the physical design of the show,” explained Ben. “However I’m allowed to be creative too. I take the physical design of the show and create the cues all the way through with input from them both. Of course, we can’t re-create the whole show on every continent but I redesign the show to make sure it still has the same drama.”
Lighting for the North American leg features MAC 2000 Profile, MAC 2000 Wash and Atomic 3000 strobes. While the original leg featured MAC 2000 Profiles surrounding six customized soft boxes, on the latest leg these have been moved to truss elements with six 12-foot truss sections carrying three MAC 2000 Profile apiece. Some 10 MAC 2000 Wash are located on the floor with 8 more flown vertically. Eight Atomic 3000 strobes complete the look. The shows in Australia were not the full production with the main loss being that of a video element in the form of giant LED screens and the soft box moving pods. One thing Ben made sure he had down under was the Martin MACs including eighteen MAC 2000 Profile and sixteen MAC 2000 Wash fixtures.
“The system is still in transformation but it’s been Martin from day one,” added Ben. “I dedicated over six years of my life to High End Systems products because I was a programmer for them but once I started my company (Millennium Lighting Design LLC) and began designing on my own, I found myself leaning towards Martin products…it was so much more cost effective to use Martin products and they are excellent.” Ben described the brightness from the MAC 2000 Wash as ‘amazing’ and he also liked their fluid movement.
“The response from the console, for all the features of each light, is fantastic,” he said. “The MAC 2000 Profiles are up in the air while ten MAC 2000 Wash fixtures are on the floor. A further six MAC 2000 Wash fixtures are in the air to light up set pieces. I’m also using eight Atomic 3000 strobes, which are excellent, and you never lose them no matter how long you’re strobing. They’re also very bright.” Another prominent element in the lighting was three DMX Controlled Chandeliers.
Pounding out an eclectic combination of hard-edged but melodic rock, their live performances draw sold out crowds and receive critical acclaim the world over. Since making their debut six years ago, Matchbox Twenty has become one of the most admired and consistently successful rock bands in recent history, with over 20 million albums sold worldwide.