Credit: Ralph Larmann

Concert Ticket Guide: Meet the Small Town that Makes the Best Sets

Get concert tickets to see a superstar and you get superstar talent plus superstar production. You expect great vocals and great dancing, but you might be surprised by this summer’s one-of-a-kind sets.  Giant flowers burst through trap doors at Lady Gaga’s show. Katy Perry travels back to ancient Egypt. And Miley Cyrus slides down a giant tongue. We know there’s talent on stage, but there’s also talent behind these sets. A recent Wall Street Journal report clued us into what’s happening in Lititz, Pennsylvania.  Stationed in Amish country  with a population of just over 9,500 people, Lititz has become the capital of concert set-building. Tait Towers and Clair Brothers, two companies based in Lititz, make some of the most expensive sets in the touring industry.  They’ve worked with artists whose tours have changed the nature of live performance in the music industry forever:  Madonna, Michael Jackson, the Rolling Stones, and U2 to name a few. If you bought concert tickets this summer or this fall, there’s a good chance you’ll see some of their work. Here are a few recent highlights:

With Katy Perry tickets to the Prismatic Tour, you’ll go back in time:

Credit: WireImage, Kevin Mazur

Credit: WireImage, Kevin Mazur

It was clear from the start that Katy Perry would be showing up fellow queens of pop in the live performance department. Her colorful album covers and elaborate music videos hinted at this, and it all came together in the Hello Katy Tour, her first of three.  Like most headliners today, she attempts to recreate the artistic expressions in her music videos: after winning four VMAs, it’s obviously a very expensive endeavor.   Her entourage travels with nearly thirty tractor-trailers packed to the brim with props, gear and costumes.  Oh, and a heap of makeup and wigs, no doubt.  An apparatus designed by the Lititz team allows her to soar over frenzied fans with nothing but a graceful hand clutching a set of giant balloons. They practically recreate Egypt, pyramids and all, while a mechanical horse rides in sporting a gothic Ms. Perry on its back to match her “Dark Horse” video.  Her 2008 hit ‘I Kissed a Girl’ is illustrated with human spiders and mummies chasing a cute Katy around the stage.  Don’t worry guys; she’s rescued heroically by her guitarists who shoot sparks out of their headstocks.  Thankfully, there’s still time to get Prismatic tour tickets to see the see the spectacle in action.

With Justin Timberlake tickets, you have the 20/20 Experience

Credit: Ralph Larmann

Credit: Ralph Larmann

Justin’s fans won’t be missing N’Sync with his latest tour. His voice is practically comparable to an angel and his dance moves are so smooth and effortless. Plus, this year he’s got this huge band, The Tennessee Kids, accompanying him with matched energy.  Creative work by Tait Towers gives the stage a backing wall consisting of hexagon panels designed for the projection of light and images, also obviously making for the perfect acoustic surface. The pride and joy of this set has to be the automated bridge that transports performers from one end of the arena to the other, acting as a seemingly floating structure. The bridge lands at another stage so that Justin can give his entire audience the full 20/20 experience.  Some pretty cool technology is at play here. The bridge operates on a rotary laser system that scans the room, maintaining an optimal height and speed!

With Lady Gaga tickets, you experienced the ArtRAVE- The ARTPOP Ball:

Credit: WireImage

Credit: WireImage, Kevin Mazur

 A futuristic fairyland welcomes Gaga to the stage, which she owns with pride, dressed in anything from sparkling 8-foot wide angel wings to blowup octopus suits. The luminescent stage and catwalk, designed by Tait Towers of Lititz, contains secret trap doors through which flowers dramatically burst and bloom throughout the show.  Lady Gaga has got no hesitations in proclaiming herself as the “ultimate showgirl.” which she indeed lives up to. Beyond the crazy set,  her phenomenal voice and piano skills are what it’s really all about; her classically trained talent sets her apart from most other pop artists today. With talent comes showmanship too. Gaga uses the whole stage, making the most of Tait Towers work. At one point, she sports three-foot tall wigs while falling into humongous manicured hands, waltzing around odd looking trees.

With Miley Cyrus tickets, you get the BANGERZ experience

Credit: WireImage, Kevin Mazur

Credit: WireImage, Kevin Mazur

Miley established her image with the ever-present tongue, a plastic version of which she obnoxiously slides down to start each show.  Her latest show comes equipped with enormous puppets, a gold car that sprays fake money, and a massive blow-up dog that marks her late companion, Floyd.  Audio guidance from Clair Brothers and stage design by British creative director Es Devlin worked hand in hand with Miley pre-Bangerz tour, but everything on stage was apparently Miley’s idea (including the massive hotdog on which she swings).

If you’ve missed the aforementioned tours and are disappointed about it, don’t fear.  The creative talents of Lititz, PA will be seen in when you get Garth Brooks tickets, whose comeback tour is sure to gain a lot of attention.  And with 5 Seconds of Summer tickets  will also be hitting major cities across America after much success in opening for One Direction’s ‘Where We Are Tour’ this summer.

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