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To Josh- notes re: your tour

padmejyh's picture
on January 9, 2011 - 5:15am

It's been a busy week, but somehow in the midst of it all thoughts about your upcoming tour began taking shape, kind of a delayed but hopefully not too late response to the open question you posed inviting input through your Before We Begin series. So I thought I'd pass them on in case you find them interesting. I'm more of an auditory person rather than visual, so it's interesting that the thoughts I've had address mostly visual aspects of the concert experience. Not my area of expertise by any means so you'll have to forgive me for not having all the technical terms down, but hopefully it will be beneficial to you as simply a fresh perspective.

I suppose what intrigued me and got my thinking going was what it would take to create a concert experience that is at once "intimate yet powerful," as you've described your new album. I think in a smaller venue one clearly gets the "intimate," but it is still a puzzle to me as to whether the "powerful" can be achieved to its full potential. A larger venue- at least up to a point- may allow one to attain a better balance of both. Intimate may be achieved in a larger venue, for example, through the use of soft lighting and solo placement of selected instruments/musicians, ie the piano, the guitarist, or in small groups of a few. Powerful- pointed, grand gestures, these are more self-explanatory I believe.

Your voice has a presence all its own-- an undeniable gravitas. So movement that is more rock/pop, dance-like doesn't quite go with it in the same way that slower, grander, and even more subtle gestures more characteristic of a classical performer do. In lieu of running, skipping, hopping, etc., that pop stars do across a large stage in a large arena, you might consider mobile platforms that could spice up a traditional stage setup. Additionally, a circular stage with 360 view could allow for more variation in movement during a performance. Possible limitations of course being the availability of such setups in a given arena.

With this being your "Illuminations" tour, you might have considered taking the opportunity to really shine that light, literally and figuratively speaking. Perhaps your Lighting Designer/Technical Director is having some fun coming up with ways to enhance and support the light in your music. Going back to the "You Raise Me Up" video, I thought the sequence of video clips did an excellent job of illustrating the flow of the music (as opposed to an actual storyline behind the lyrics). Somehow perhaps this concept could be applied to the visual effects in a concert experience as well.

Lastly, one of the unique things about your music is that it is truly global, representative of multiple languages, people, and cultures. Visually perhaps this could be brought out by highlighting (through lighting, placement, choreography), the various instruments that are distinctly linked to the heritage from which a particular song was conceived. Probably already done with regards to solo/intro instruments, just mentioning it to emphasize this angle here. I think people all over the world appreciate your versatility and embrace of different cultures, and to highlight that visually could only enhance the messages of peace, love, and harmony you bring to audiences around the world through your music.

Just some food for thought!

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