Fall Out Boy wanted to find a way to bring their audience up close and personal for their recent tour so they turned to longtime production designer Robb Jibson for a unique and immersive design. It was important to the multi-platinum artists that they create a memorable experience for their loyal fans. Jibson, principal of the Chicago-based So Midwest Inc., responded with a continually evolving design over the course of the 18-month tour cycle, culminating at the end by bringing the band’s vision to life with the winter-themed Wintour.
Fall Out Boy’s Wintour is predominantly a cinematic experience with custom content provided by several content creation studios. Being heavily video driven allowed for a strong immersive environment but also meant that Jibson would need to select his gear for maximum visibility, and where needed, transparency. “I’ve been blown away by the video product and video system we are using,” Jibson says. “Screenworks supplied the video package with cameras, switchers, the upstage 40-foot wide by 20-foot high wall of Roe 7mm LED modules and Roe 25mm Vanish panels. I also relied on, and was very pleased with, Blackmagic Design, who supplied the complete switching and engineering system.”
Right from the start the band’s performance leverages the production design by beginning their performance hidden in plain view behind the 25mm Vanish panels. The audience engagement explodes when on cue the opening video content turns off, revealing the band lit in silhouette behind the transparent screens. The Vanish screens reposition under the 7mm upstage video wall expanding the potential image surface. “I was pleased that even with the different pixel pitches, when an expanded image is stretched across both the upper and lower walls it appears seamless,” notes Jibson.
Wintour’s clean set design also features excellent sightlines for the audience, which was important to Jibson and Fall Out Boy. Using just a tiered drum riser, without backing, the audience can see video elements across the entire stage. The design’s V-shaped thrust stage reaches out 80-feet into the crowd, allowing the band to get out into the audience. The stage configuration also creates a VIP audience area for diehard fans within the center of the triangle-shaped.
Jibson’s lighting rig mirrors the shape of the stage with three trusses over the stage and two torms hanging on either side, set up symmetrically to resemble a trapezoidal-shaped pod. From the center of the trapezoid a long straight truss extends from midstage center out over the arena floor.
Wintour’s complete automated key lighting system is mounted on a truss suspended 100’ from the stage. Jibson placed two trusses front of house with automated fixtures that can be adapted to manually-operated spots with handles. “I want to be sure that we always had quality front spots regardless of where we were playing. The spots on the band are important to the audience experience. Their experience was the top priority in my design choices and top priority for the band.” A goal that Wintour meets night after night.
Fall Out Boy Wintour Gear List
Dirt Empire, So Midwest, Syndrome Studios
Staging: All Access Staging & Productions
58 Claypaky Mythos
40 Ayrton Magic Panel
14 Claypaky B-Eye K20
62 SGM Q7 Wash
56 GLP impression X4
Lighting and Media Control:
Jands Vista L5 and D1 Consoles
PRG Mbox Media Server
1 Blackmagic ATEM 2 M/E Production Switcher w/ multi-viewer and EIC rack
4 Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K
(1) FOH w/ 72X Long Lens
(1) for Jib
Blackcam remote camera with dolly track
Blackmagic Design Hyperdeck Studio SSD recorder