Rock Concert Visuals from the 1970s and Beyond


One of the most popular fads of the 1970s was also the culmination of hybrid multimedia regarding music and technology—laser lighting display, or more commonly known as “laser light shows.”

Laser light shows combined theatrical and musical aesthetics to enhance not only the musician’s work but also the audience’s experience and interpretation, similar to the psychedelic liquid shows held back in the 1960s decade. In the 1970s, rock and roll bands such as The Who, Led Zeppelin, and—most notably—Pink Floyd popularized laser light shows in their concerts to convey story and emotion, such as when their 1973 album release “Dark Side of the Moon” and performances were done utilizing laser light shows from concert venues to planetariums.

Nowadays, despite intense safety regulations from the FDA, laser light shows have experienced a revival thanks to technological advancements and the electronica/EDM festival culture.

Perfume, a Japanese pop trio and one of my favorite artists, are well-known for hosting concerts with laser light shows that coordinate with each song and costume. In 2015, they attended South by Southwest (SXSW) and performed “STORY” through numerous laser lights and imagery, similar to their various concerts both in Japan and international.

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