Gary-Numan passes the 1,000-gig milestone (photo: Lorne Thomson/Redferns/gettyimages)
UK - Gary Numan, celebrated reaching an impressive 1,000th gig milestone by performing three consecutive shows at London's Electric Ballroom. To mark this remarkable journey, lighting designer David Howard was enlisted to create an immersive backdrop that encapsulated every essence of Numan's career.
Independent lighting designer David Howard boasts a diverse portfolio spanning music tours, special events, and more. From working with artists like Jo Quail and The Hoosiers to contributing his expertise to prestigious events like Glastonbury and MCM Comic Con, Howard's creative flair knows no bounds.
First introduced to wysiwyg whilst studying at university in 2013, David Howard instantly recognised its transformative potential. The lighting design software opened doors to unprecedented creative possibilities, enabling him to turn abstract design concepts into tangible visualisations. With its comprehensive features encompassing 3D previsualisation, paperwork generation, show programming, and the ability to seamlessly bring designs to reality, wysiwyg swiftly came an integral part of Howard's workflow.
Howard explains: “With the convenience of real-time visualisation, I'm able to design using the right fixtures, provide production teams with detailed plans, and even stimulate attendee experiences to not only bring my ideas to life but also bring people onboard my creative vision. Without wysiwyg, I’d struggle to deliver the same level of full production. Be that the design, the plots, or the plans for the production; it’s such a convenient all-in-one holistic platform that complements my workflow perfectly.”
When the opportunity arose to design the 998th, 999th, and 1,000th gigs for Gary Numan, the creative direction was clear: create a moment that encapsulates every essence of the artist's long career. Howard's creative process began with receiving the initial brief, spending two or three days brainstorming ideas, and then visualising those ideas using wysiwyg to bring them to life.
Through extensive research into the history of Numan's performances, Howard used wysiwyg pre-visualisation to incorporate newer elements such as video technology and pixels and demonstrate how these would breathe new life into the production.
Taking Numan’s preferences into account, the entire show consisted of 12 universes of lighting and another 10 of pixel lighting. The stage itself was lined with pixel tape, adding a visually intense dimension to the experience. Drawing from Numan's nostalgic triangular motif, Howard used wysiwyg to introduce innovative video tile concepts to the team; enhancing the visual impact and creating a fresh revamped version of the artist's trademark.
To create a visually striking backdrop, Howard used 24 GLP JDC1s and ran video pixel content which was projected onto the triangular screen. This video content was also fed through the pixels of the JDC1s to effectively blend the visual elements and create a pixel-rich environment.
To acknowledge Numans admiration for aviation, Howard featured Ayrton Magic Blades as well as the SGM BeaSt moving light that resembled an aircraft landing light, with an overhead rig of Chauvet Spots and washes. Unlike previous Numan shows, the consecutive gigs were set in much smaller intimate venues with low ceiling heights. This presented distinct challenges that wysiwyg effectively addressed by assisting the build process, the transition from Howard's laptop design to live execution on stage became effortless.
Howard emphasises: “wysiwyg allowed us to not only 3D visualise the venue but also check that the rig would be compatible with the space. This meant that the entire production team was able to see the show in advance, and I was able to guarantee that every element fit perfectly.”

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