Analyzing the Design: Jeff Waful, LD for Umphrey’s McGee

I made a new friend this week at NAB in Las Vegas after having three days to wax poetic about lighting and Phish with Jefferson Waful from Umphrey’s McGee.  You get to know somebody better over drinks, and after all, we were in Vegas.  By the way, Patrick Woodruff’s lighting installation at the Wynn is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.  Ever.

When you get to know a designer, it’s interesting to meld the conversations you have before you meet them to the conversations after.  I talked to Jeff back in January about his exploits as lighting designer for moe. and Umphrey’s McGee and a host of other musings, and I just had the chance to talk geek again with him this week.

I was sitting here going over my notes from NAB, and I glanced at Jeff’s blog to check out a video I hadn’t seen of the band playing “Nothing Too Fancy” on February 28 of 2010.  Take a moment to check out this video – it’s actually ten moments, but it’s well worth your time:

I always think of a good LD as a pilot of an intangible, fast spaceship – the more in tune that person is to the music at hand, the faster and harder they’re going to fly you in and around all that is awesome.  My favorite LDs are the ones who know when to use a slow move in a period where most LDs would bang on the audience abusers to emphasize their point.  I think I am also one of the few LDs left that actually kinda link the audience abusers for what they represent.  But that moment when you’re at a show, the lighting designer is flying hard and fast in their lighting spaceship, and all of the sudden some actual art hits your eyes – those are the moments I live for, when you have to remind yourself that you’re standing at a show and not flying around the universe.

Lighting designers like Jeff Waful make it hard to remember that yes, your stinky Tevas are actually still planted to the sticky floor of the venue that is being rocked.  Thanks for kicking some serious ass while doing what you do best, Jeff!

4 replies
  1. Mike
    Mike says:

    I think Jeff is my new favorite concert designer. Love these looks & cues, which is rarely seen in concerts anymore.

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