‘Andi, can we turn on the lights so we can see the people’, said Thom Yorke at Radiohead’s epic performance at Glastonbury 1997. He was talking to their lighting and staging director, Andi Watson.
Also that night, after the band came back on stage for their encore: ‘Now these two lights, here and here: off!’ It wasn’t Thom complaining about the light show, but because the Radiohead frontman couldn’t see the large crowd. The band have spoken out about their fantastic crew before and Andi Watson is surely one of them, as the stage designs and lighting really stand out on all of Radiohead’s tours. Now, Thom Yorke has written the foreword for the book on Andi Watson’s work over the years. Thom reveals the relationship between the band and the lighting designer.
Named after song from Radiohead’s second album ‘The Bends’ a new book is titled ‘Bullet Proof…I Wish I Was’, written by Christopher Scoates and features the work of Andi Watson. The stage designer has worked for Radiohead since the mid-90’s as well as for artists like Vanessa Paradis, Counting Crows and Oasis.
The New York Times write: On tour, Watson functions as the sixth member of Radiohead, reacting to changes in songs and structures from the lighting booth. This is only after months of planning — after absorbing the band’s music and having conservations with its members and concocting a vision. “I get pictures in my head of what should be going on while the band is playing — of the ideal color, and the dynamic and where light should be coming from,” he said.
He said he’s already working on the next Radiohead tour, which hasn’t been announced yet, in the sense that he’s always working on the next Radiohead tour. The difference? “This time ’round I probably didn’t get the record earlier than anyone else,” he said. (The band released last month’s “The King of Limbs” only four days after revealing its existence. Watson’s favorite tracks are the low-sizzle groove of “Lotus Flower” and the womblike ballad “Give Up the Ghost.”)
The book ‘Bullet Proof…I Wish I Was’ is available here.