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Nowadays, any major band with a reasonable budget can have a visually dynamic show--but only Rush has bunnies. Which, as the Canadian band approaches its twentieth anniversary next year, only goes to prove that time hasn't dulled its sense of humor.
Nor can the stage show for its recent Counterparts tour, designed by the band's longtime lighting and set designer Howard Ungerleider, be accused of serving up any dull moments. The designer combined video projections and animation with a powerful light show, pyrotechnic displays, and the aforementioned inflatable rabbits, which were created by London-based Air Artists.
"One of the things that we do is create the illusion of a set without really using a set," Ungerleider says. "And because of the film and all the lighting and a few props, we can create the illusion that it's a huge stage set, when in essence it's not. And economically, that's really great. It gives the show a lot of space, an open ceiling--there isn't a bad house for this show."
For this tour, Ungerleider teamed up with a fellow Toronto-dweller, architect Rick Hopkins, who sketched out many of the staging plans.
"Back in August , we started with a couple of schemes and ideas," Hopkins says. "We'd talk about things and I'd do some sketches and some drawings, sometimes computer renderings, and then come back with a series of perspectives and drawings and we'd …