Tool’s Lighting, Laser And Video Production Designers Reveal What Goes Into The Band’s Live Shows


Those who have seen Tool perform live are aware that the band’s elaborate stage production, lighting and visuals are as integral to the experience as their music. In a piece published earlier this month over at, the band’s stage production crew Mark “Junior” Jacobson (lighting), Breckinridge Haggerty (video) and Scott Wilson (lasers), explain what has gone into the band’s current tour and the challenges that it continues to offer.

Jacobson, who has been  involved in designing the touring production for the band for the past 23 years, stated that this time around frontman Maynard James Keenan made the conscious choice to be a bit more prevalent onstage:

“After 18 years of requesting no light, the timing this time around just felt right to start lighting Maynard. He has come to me and requested certain times that he wishes to be lit. I think if he is expecting the light to come on, it’s fine. We try not to surprise him and throw him off balance.”

Meanwhile, Haggerty reveals that while they operate from a cue list, the numerous video cues are often done manually via the front of house, he commented:

“The band doesn’t play to a click, so we don’t have a bitstream we can latch onto; hence, we’re responsible for making everything happen on time. If something visual has to be in time, it has to be done by hand. As consistent as this band is from night-to-night on tempo, they are not machines — which is a good thing.”

Likewise, the laser cues also have elements of fluid implementation, as Wilson stated “cueing lasers is a combination of small timed segments that are triggered and then also some free-time clips…. that I manipulate based on the feel or timing of the music.”

Haggerty further provided a look into what goes into a single song, citing “Pneuma” off of the band’s latest record “Fear Incolulum” as an example, sporting 42 video cues, 70 lighting cues and 20 laser cues amid its roughly 12-minute runtime. According to Haggerty, at least a half a dozen songs have more than 50 video cues.

Should you want to delve deeper into the elaborate production and see numerous shots of it in action, head over to If you want to catch the spectacle of Tool live in person yourself, you can catch them on the road as follows:

With Author & Punisher:

02/22 Melbourne, AUS – Rod Laver Arena (tickets)
02/23 Melbourne, AUS – Rod Laver Arena (tickets)
02/28 Auckland, NZ – Spark Arena (tickets)
02/29 Auckland, NZ – Spark Arena (tickets)

03/09 Spokane, WA – Spokane Arena (tickets)
03/11 Portland, OR – Moda Center (tickets)
03/12 Eugene, OR – Matthew Knight Center (tickets)
03/14 Boise, ID – Ford Idaho Center Arena (tickets)
03/16 Salt Lake City, UT – Maverik Center (tickets)


06/12 Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo Festival (tickets) may receive a commission from tickets purchased through the links in the above post.

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