Popular American jam band Goose grooved their way into the 2023 festive season with four special concerts staged over two days at the Hampton Coliseum in Virginia, all completely sold out.

Lighting designer/director Andrew Goedde chose Robe moving lights as the principal fixtures and worked closely on developing his design with lighting programmer/technical director Tony Caporale, using their 2023 touring rig as a starting point. From this they evolved some new concepts for the tenth annual Goosemas event.

They were then both delighted to hear that the band and their creative director Will Thresher moved away from traditional Christmas themes to embrace “Goosemas in Space” for this year’s show.

Goose has grown and substantially expanded its fanbase in the last couple of years, and for Goosemas 2023 wanted to make some big statements and give something spectacular back to everyone in terms of production values.

“We took this idea very seriously when imagining and programming the lighting,” stated Andrew, expanding that the theme offered plenty of creative latitude.

The intergalactic journey took a direction that dovetailed beautifully with one of the visual concepts already bouncing around in Andrew’s head … and the aesthetic developed from there with the lighting rig based around six flown mini diamond-shaped ‘pods’.

With no video playback or IMAG onstage or indeed in the venue, lighting and scenics were the main visual tools for getting the energy and magic off the stage and swirling around the audience, so Andrew and Tony set to work to produce something memorable with the assistance of 42 x Robe FORTES, 32 x MegaPointes, 46 x Tarrantulas, 60 x TetraX’s and 16 x LEDBeam 350s.

Each pod was constructed from 4 x 5ft GP truss sections plus corner blocks, so the sides were nearly 10ft long when completed.

They were flown at different heights and depths in a symmetrical pattern – a derivative of the larger diamond shape seen on the tour. Linking the look back to the touring architecture was important but gave these shows the separate identity that Andrew wanted, and resembled large UFOs descending from space.

Every part of the stage was able to be hit by a light with these positions making it “massively flexible – having this much coverage really gave us all the options,” noted Tony.

Each pod was loaded with six FORTES which were the main profile and effects lights.

Six Tarrantulas per pod constituted the base wash lights, and the front two truss sections of each pod were outlined with 10 x TetraXs. Beneath these was a line of pixel strip.

Two short upstage/downstage orientated side trusses (stage left and right) were each loaded with five more Tarrantulas.

Out in the audience and around the periphery of the spherical shaped arena – new for a Goose show – were four ‘finger’ trusses each rigged with four MegaPointes used to immerse the audience with light, pulling them into the action onstage. The fixtures could also reach the stage from these positions if needed.

These trusses added to the spaceship feel of Goosemas 2023 and were a huge hit with everyone. They were trimmed high to avoid obstructing sightlines which is always a conundrum for audience trusses.

Andrew and Tony commented that it was the first time they had relied completely on FORTES for key lighting and specials for a Goose show, and the plan worked perfectly. “The brightness is phenomenal even from the longest throws above the audience,” observed Andrew.

The LEDBeam 350s were not originally on the plot but were added to illuminate the assorted set elements produced by the scenic team led by Will (Thresher) and Sonny Flemming. “Andrew, Will, Sonny and I collaborated closely to ensure this all happened seamlessly on site,” commented Tony. The first time they saw any of the set pieces was when they arrived at Hampton Coliseum, and once in place, the LEDBeam 350s were deployed in the best places for lighting them.

The six FORTES on the ends of the six fingers were in ideal positions to highlight the band.

Andrew explained that this was the first year FORTES were in place for key lighting … but it won’t be the last! Extensive use was made of the FORTE’s accurate shuttering to frame the band. “It’s simply a fantastic bright fixture with a quality light output that looks brilliant live and on camera,” he claims.

The concerts were all live streamed – cameras directed by Jon “Coach” Lombardi – enabling a larger audience to enjoy the Goosemas experience.

Andrew and Tony both love the Robe Tarrantulas for their fat, rich beams and great colour mixing, and think the colours generally on all the Robe fixtures are well matched. “Another advantage of using a single manufacturer,” says Tony.

The 2023 touring rig had also featured FORTES, Tarrantulas and TetraX luminaires, and both use Robe products regularly in their work.

Also new to Goosemas this year were timecoded audio/lighting show opener intros for each of the four concerts, all slightly different in keeping with the ‘featured planet’ of the evening, which ramped up the atmos and excitement as the Goose spaceship ‘crash landed’ in different parts of the universe.

This gave scope for some creative programming where Tony was able to perfect effects like transforming Tarrantulas into rocket thruster engines.

After prepping the rig at lighting vendor Gateway Studios & Production Services’ (GSPS)St. Louis facility, it was slickly project managed by Conway McDonald-O’Lear.

While there were two load in/rehearsal days at the venue, there was no time to fly the pods beforehand, so getting these lined up and floating quickly, efficiently and in the right positions was a challenge with several unknowns, however it all went smoothly on site.

Tony and Andrew did a full week of Depence 3 pre-viz at Gateway Studios ahead of the shows which were programmed on grandMA3 consoles.

Lighting control was run over a Cat5 network via sACN with network switches on the pods, so not a single DMX cable was involved, and each fixture was controlled via its own IP address.

While this was considerably larger than previous Goosemas lighting rigs, Andrew and Tony highlighted how working with a “great team” made it efficient and seamless, especially the rigging crew led by head rigger, Eric Keeble.

Keeping everyone and everything coordinated was lighting crew chief Sandy Paul, working alongside Peter Spadaro, the lighting tech and floor lighting crew chief, lighting techs Danny McDonald and Martin Nguyen, with Scott Smith looking after dimmers.

FOH sound engineer Eric Loomis was also production managing, assisted by Gillian Pelkonen, and Sam King was the tour manager.

Stage manager Pat Dickinson kept everything moving and grooving in the performance space, Bubba W.G. Bulifant oversaw pyro – also amped up this year – working with Jordan Burkholder on SFX and pyro.

Photos: Abby Fox & Chris Quinn.


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