At a cozy yellow house tucked within a city block of Chartres St, nestled well-within the pulse of the famous French Quarter, myself and nine friends took up residency for three nights of Dave Tipper amidst the spirit of New Orleans. Expecting an unspeakably transformational stimulation of our audio/visual senses. As with every in-house Tipper curation, we were all on the same page about the level of detail that inevitably went into planning the event—a three-night extraordinaire set to unwind at the breathtaking Saenger Theater.
Up from the concourse and out from the balcony, a marvelous night sky reveals itself.
The way it works is via an installment of around 150 fixtures that twinkle like stars, while various hues of blue light are strewn across the ceiling. Where the sky meets the horizon, a landscape from a 16th century Italian courtyard that spans an entire panoramic view with help from the top of the stage border. From the ground-up, a massive projection screen greets center stage while DJ booths splay from either side. Farther out from center stage, a state of the art Funktion One sound installment rises from the ground, with wicked horn cabs and subs looming—gracefully assertive—imposing itself afore the immaculate trim which envelopes the stage.
Figurehead to a grouping of atmospheric theaters that were built and designed early in the 1900s by Saenger-Ehrlich Enterprises and architect Emile Weil, Saenger New Orleans opened in 1927. Its artistic vision is to evoke essences a fifteenth century Italian Baroque courtyard, realized through incredibly elegant architecture, hand painted art, and tasteful lighting/projection mapping. Upon taking my seat on the center balcony for night one on Friday (casually dubbed ‘Beats Night’ by production) I observed the vision come alive before me, all production facets, all artists, and all viewers were plugged in and attuned to high levels of respective detail. A grand effort in allowing me slip seamlessly from the bounds of time and space.
Visualizing each night as parts of one precession of the Tipper equinoxes, the third night would be where the movement completes, an ambient exploration that I experienced as a celebration of life and love.
Tipper’s night one set is the unquestionable crescendo—three hip hop dancers cycling through center stage while Datagrama mapped their silhouettes in real-time to the screen where Glass Crane mixed his visual set.
Each movement after that is motion towards an ever-slowing of the preverbal wheels. Night two felt like a supersonic journey through inner space.
Gently floating through ambient nights’ end, which left us with one final spike of hip-hop energy that appeared just before the curtains closed on a magical showing at Saenger Theater.
Written by Cade Waller
Image and Video credit to Stephen Beard, Reagan Bachus, and Cade Waller