How do you take a cartoon band on the road?
This is the question that faced Gorillaz creators Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett as they prepared for this fall’s “Plastic Beach” tour. In the past, they’ve experimented with holograms only to be sorely disappointed.
“You still can’t make holograms work the way we want to,” Albarn told Canada’s Postmedia News.
Instead, the live show, which they debuted at Coachella and Glastonbury during the summer, mixes an army of live performers and special guests — Lou Reed and Mos Def will be appearing at Friday’s show at Madison Square Garden — with an elaborate animated backdrop.
But Gorillaz is not the first band to mount a stage show this elaborate.
Throughout the years there have been bands as devoted to stagecraft:
His infamous (and accidental) “Chicken Incident” in 1969 — Cooper threw a live chicken into the crowd where it promptly was ripped to pieces — kicked off a career of notoriously bizarre and theatrical performances.
In the mid-‘70s, Kiss was touring with a spectacular live show. Beyond their makeup and costumes, Gene Simmons and co. indulged in some serious pyrotechnics.
Another of the granddaddies of the theatric live show, Pink Floyd is almost synonymous with the word pyrotechnics. The band hit new heights with the “Wall” tour in 1980-‘81, spending millions of dollars on lavish stage sets, puppets and more.
In the era of the boy band, the dancing was as important as the singing. This Justin Timberlake-led quintet wasn’t the only band in the ’90s employing tightly synchronized choreography and special effects, but they did it most memorably.
The alter ego of Stefani Germanotta lives her life as a theatrical production. In public appearances, she’s always clad in over-the-top costumes and wigs, and her stage show is remarkable for its dramatic choreography.
If you go: Gorillaz, Friday, 8 p.m., Madison Square Garden, 4 Penn Plz., $49.50-$125