“How concerts shifted from songs to spectacles”

In een artikel in The Washington Post over speciale effecten tijdens liveconcerten, wordt ook gesproken over de lasers tijdens de Who-concerten in de jaren ’70.

“In 1975, Led Zeppelin also became one of the first bands to use an actual laser (…) John “Wiggy” Wolff, production manager for The Who, took one mesmerized look during a London concert and said to himself: “That’s the future, right there.” Wolff, who had the reputation of being a bit crazy, explained his vision to the band and received a blank look. “Everybody in those days thought lasers meant James Bond,” he recalls. “So I did it on my own, quietly.”

The Who’s first laser was a four-watt Spectra-Physics argon beam — more powerful and versatile than Led Zeppelin’s beam had been. From the back of the stage, Wolff manipulated the laser, by hand, splitting the light into multiple beams using a diffraction grating. (Because the lasers were so hot, he had to have a garden hose on hand for cooling.) He covered the laser with a piece of cardboard and, during the band’s dramatic “See Me, Feel Me,” he slowly pulled it back to reveal a “ceiling of light.”

Recalls Wolff: “When Pete [Townshend, guitarist] saw beams coming out, he actually dropped a chord and looked at me, and he mouthed, ‘Oh, [expletive], what’s that?’ The audience just went ludicrous — they were jumping up, trying to grab the beams.”

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