It has become a piece of Phish trivia to know that Chris Kuroda, lighting director for Phish over nearly the band’s entire 30 year career, has been ‘moonlighting’ as lighting director for Justin Bieber’s ‘Believe’ Tour, now well into the European leg of the tour. But what one could not expect is for Kuroda to find himself enamored by the Bieber tour life on the road, more so than that of Phish. For this, and other reasons, Chris Kuroda is signing on as the permanent Justin Bieber lighting director, leaving behind Phish for greener pastures. “I love Phish but man, have you even seen the crowds that Bieber brings in? They’re huge and with the lights being even bigger on Phish tour, plus being able to go to Europe again, especially the big rooms…. I mean, how can I pass this up?” said Kuroda over Skype from Copenhagan. “Beliebe be, this wasn’t an easy decision, but I justin had to do it.”
Jeff Waful, lighting director/designer for Umphrey’s McGee and widely considered second only to Kuroda, will reportedly be called up to the big leagues to light Phish’s 2013 summer tour. Chris Kuroda has become invested in Bieber fans, who he reports as having “shown him the light of day and opened his eyes to the real, true music.” Phish fans everywhere collectively felt a pinch in their gut, followed by dull vision and disillusionment at the prospect of no Kuroda to light shows as he has since the late 1980s.
Dan Kanter, who brought Kuroda on board for the ‘Believe’ World Tour, let out a half smile, knowing he was that much closer to getting Trey’s number. “I’m happy for him, and it was his decision. I’m glad I brought him on board for the tour and hoped that he would reciprocate this summer back in the states……. Man, this backfired completely didn’t it?’ Kanter, a Canadian and therefore incapable of swearing or being anything but polite, then went on a profanity-laced tirade, including a litany of ’Gosh Darnits’, ‘Fuddle Duddles’, ‘Eh!-holes’ and ‘Budweiser!’.
Jeff Waful, hearing the news, reportedly said, “Working for Umphrey’s may have been the minors to some, but it was the majors for me. Even though the bus isn’t as nice as Phish’s will be, and we’ll be playing big towns and skipping backwater burbs, yeah, I’ll miss it. But hey, Phish, right? This will bring Jeff Waful +1 to a new level.” Drama did accompany Waful’s slated departure for Phish, recalling a recent incident on the bus. “I was watching Bittersweet Motel on my iPad and Bayliss caught me and ended up smashing it out of anger. He couldn’t take the fact that I was leaving. I don’t know, I mean, I’ll see him on the road, right? I have to do this. It was like a lightbulb that I had perfectly timed to go off in my head when I had that thought, just went off in my head.”
While the transition may be rough for some fans, fear not – Umphreys has planned to perform one of their popular song mashups, incorporating Umphrey’s tunes and Phish tunes, notably “Meat in the Kitchen”, “All of These Dreams in Time” and “40s Theme from the Bottom”.
No report if there was anyone else in contention for the position with Phish, as no one can name another lighting guy other than Kuroda and Waful.