Matchbox 20 in the ring (photo: Jim Trocchio)
USA - The redolent power of the mood ring made an appropriate metaphor for Matchbox Twenty’s Slow Dream Tour, which recently concluded its 54-show run at Chicago’s Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre. The Playground design studio evoked images of the emotive cultural icon with a large inflatable semi-circle that arches over the upstage deck and is backed by a massive video wall.
An array of images from retro clips to abstract patterns displayed on the video screen, is suggestive of the dreamy, translucent look of a mood ring. Accenting the 3D quality of this ‘ring’ is a collection of lighting fixtures, including the Chauvet Professional Maverick Force 2 Profile, arranged along angled stage left and stage right horizontal truss structures.
“Things that felt important to us were that the show feel minimalist and architectural. It had to exist as an environment in which the band lived in. The sphere gave us the environment, and the trussing gave us the minimalism. That together was the architecture,” said Matchbox 20’s guitar player and creative director Paul Doucette, who worked closely with production designers Sooner Routhier and Curtis Adams of The Playground. “At the same time, it was also important that it all could go away and become intimate.
“The ‘nucleus’ gave us the ability to leave the environment entirely for a moment and enter a new world,” continued Doucette. “So, that when we brought the sphere back it felt new again. And finally, the show had to grow and evolve as it moved on. Which is where the wall came in. We feel you have to save something for the middle and for the end that shows people something they haven’t seen yet. But more importantly feel something they have not felt yet.”
Elaborating on this vision, Routhier noted: “From the first moment we spoke with the band, we knew this show was going to be special. Unlike in a traditional show, we developed four primary moods (for the three acts plus an encore) in this one. We then knew that we needed to create a visual icon to convey this concept, so the “Mood Sphere’ inspired by the mood ring was born.”
The production team developed the Mood Sphere with an opaque to luminous gradient, which softens and texturises the light and colour emanating from it, giving the show’s visuals the appearance of being “dream-like.”
Contributing to this colourful aura were the 28 Maverick Force 2 Profile fixtures, positioned on overhead truss as well as the angled side structures. Like the rest of the lighting and video rig, these units were supplied by Solotech.
“They were one of the main workhorses in the rig,” Routhier said of the fixture. “Our associate lighting designer and programmer, Nick Van Nostrand and lighting director Fraser MacKeen cued the Mavericks to create a variety of looks to go along with the music.”

Latest Issue. . .