We aren’t the only folks who know there’s something so indescribably awesome about laser light shows. It’s as if we are transported to another time, in the distant future, or a planet that’s not our own—a work of science fiction in dancing neon lights.
The best part is, these laser light shows aren’t the work of science fiction but moving light paintings created by laser light industry professionals!
Some of the shows on this list are set to music, the current EDM scene, for instance, is known for its intense light displays. Of course, guitar-based jam bands and arena rock gods have all used laser lights for decades now. Some of these light shows will also be closer to the work of high art and the results of true visionaries in the laser light field.
The laser light scene has grown and taken on international renown. We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 best laser light shows and facts that prove it!
5. Ghostland Observatory
There are more than a few up-and-coming bands who are making consistent use of laser lights at their shows and one of such bands is Austin, Texas’s Ghostland Observatory. Though their name might be strange, the music, an infectious brand of electro-pop, is complimented well by their vibrant lights. They’ve even done onstage collaborations with Snoop Dogg!
Their world tour laser light show nabbed Lightwave International an ILDA (International Light Designer’s Association) Award in the Live Performance Category. It’s clear that with lasers lighting their way, these two will go far!
It wouldn’t be a laser light show list without the likes of Phish. The venerable jam kings and heirs to the throne of the Grateful Dead have become well known for their light shows.
Chris Kuroda, once a student of lead guitarist Trey Anastasio, became a roadie and then moved all the way up to Lighting Director for the band. Amazingly, Kuroda doesn’t just work for Phish; he’s been designing laser light shows for pop acts as well, most notably on Justin Bieber's "Believe Tour."
With Phish set to reunite for a baker’s dozen of dates at Madison Square Garden this summer, we can certainly expect to see some dazzling displays of laser lights!
3. Deep Web
Laser lights aren’t just for rock stars anymore. Moreover, laser lights have become increasingly common in the art world as well. Look no further than Deep Web, a massive audiovisual installation and performance piece produced by light artist Christopher Bauder and composer/musician Robert Henke.
Deep Web features 175 motorized spheres of lights and 12 laser systems that are choreographed to dance alongside an electronic soundtrack. It debuted at the Lyon Festival of Lights in 2016 and, due in part to the overwhelmingly positive response, is sure to get another home and another run soon.
2. Dream Laser Russia: Project Wonder
Dream Laser is a do-it-all laser light firm that has created light shows for everyone from car companies to the Sochi Winter Olympic games. By far their most breathtaking installation was the “Wonder” project, a laser light display projected against the historic Bolshoi theatre in Moscow during the Circle of Light 2016.
The show is a brief, but breathtaking, narrative featuring a young girl and some wild creatures. With its show inextricably linked to the Bolshoi theatre, it’s unknown if “Wonder” will get another run but we’re hoping it will!
1. The Empire Takes Over Epcot
It wouldn’t be a laser light show list without a trip to the House of the Mouse. Yes, Disney has always been known for their killer light shows. Whether it be the fireworks and laser lights streaming across the Magic Kingdom during Fantasmic or the childhood favorite, Main Street Electric Parade, Mickey knows how to get it done right.
For us, these laser light shows all pale in comparison to the day the Empire took control of the Epcot “golf ball” and painted it with LEDs to look like the Death Star, replete with a neon green laser light death ray!
Unsurprisingly, this change was to celebrate the release of Star Wars: Rogue One but, with Disney showing no signs of slowing down on the beloved film franchise, fans can be sure that the Death Star will make an appearance again!
Some of these shows are still going on right now and some will certainly come back around in the near future, but all of them have shown the world that laser lights are more than just a cool feature for your house come Christmastime. Instead, laser lights can be the perfect accompaniment to any musical style, the basis for a boundary-pushing multimedia art piece, or a very creative way to market a beloved franchise.
Anyway you slice it, it’s clear, laser light shows will get better and better, evolving to fit with whatever fad comes our way!