Exclusive Tour of New Dave Matthews Band Set

By: Val Thompson Email
By: Val Thompson Email

May 2, 2013

The lighting director for Dave Matthews Band gave the Newsplex an exclusive sneak peek into the new set the band will use in its upcoming tour.

The crew has been building the set at the John Paul Jones Arena for the past two weeks.

Fenton Williams is the lighting director for the band.

"It's typically 10 a.m. to late at night," said Fenton.

On Thursday the crew was installing what they call a "video wall." It is 60 feet long and 20 feet high, and it curves around the stage. During concerts, the screen will show live video of the band and other original videos created by the crew. Williams says the curved design will make it easier for all fans in the arena to enjoy the show.

"Even if you're way off to the side you're going to get a really nice shot," said Williams.

But building the set at JPJ is just the first step. Next week the crew will have to take down all the equipment, load it into ten trucks, and start taking it around the country. The different venues can create challenges.

"The stage is not as deep or not as wide," said Williams. "We don't have the height. We have to be prepared to go in anyway and make it work."

Williams has been with the band for 20 years, since the beginning.

"It's a real family vibe," said Williams. "We've all worked together for so long."

As a result, the band gives Williams and the crew almost complete authority over the appearance of the show.

"We've really figured out what their tastes are. What they like, what they don't like," said Williams. "They're very focused on the music end of things."

That allows Williams to focus on all the other stuff. And despite twenty years on the job, Williams still feels like a kid.

"it's kind of like summer camp when you go out on summer tour."

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