At one point during one of the last full days of rehearsal for his upcoming Tattoo Your Name Tour, Hunter Hayes told his half-dozen band members he wants something more “eventful” to happen during the transition from one song to the next. Holed up in a huge warehouse where the stage, a series of neon bars and squares, has been fully constructed and the lighting design is being tested, Rolling Stone Country joined Hayes and his crew just days before the trek is scheduled to kick off. (See exclusive video of Hunter’s tour rehearsal above).
One of the most buzzed about aspects of the tour are the wristbands all concertgoers will receive on their way into each venue. Synced with an app that can be downloaded before the show, the wristbands allow an interactive experience for audience members. Enter information into the app and each fan becomes an integral part of the production.
For now, 100 of the plain white bands are merely scattered on the floor, as if a flock of origami swans has landed in front of the stage. But on the night of Hayes’ shows, the wristbands will come alive, as they react to various parts of the concert: Hayes’ specific commands, for instance, or the proximity of high-tech beach balls bouncing throughout the venue. Two long aisles on each side of the stage will put the young country star right in the middle of the audience. Whether he’s playing drums at the end of one side or piano or guitar at the other, Hayes remains just one element of the entirely interactive experience.
“I want to be shaking hands, running up and down, doing the whole thing,” the musician told Rolling Stone Country at last weekend’s rehearsal in Nashville. “Not only do I get to do that but now we have something that reacts to that and spreads the energy across the room. So you’re not just creating something that’s like this four-walled box on a stage. You take something that happens and then spread it out over the entire audience. Then everybody’s immediately closer and part of the show. The show changes shape, it changes dimensions immediately.”
The changing dimensions will, Hayes says, allow the musical arrangements to be “sort of exaggerated” and hopefully more exciting and emotional.
“I like the word ’emotion’ because my favorite thing about this is sitting in the middle and seeing it all kind of come together,” he explains. “It is a pretty cool experience. Tying that to different arrangements, we’ve come up with different ways to make that happen.”