Planetarium and observatory entertain with music of Pink Floyd and U2

Students, professors and guests gathered last week at the UNA Planetarium and Observatory to watch the spring laser show, featuring music from Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” and the band U2.

The laser shows have been hosted by the planetarium for two years and have since become one of its most popular attractions.

“The people who come really like them,” said Dr. Mel Blake, director of the Planetarium and Observatory. “The response we get is almost universally positive.”

The 75-minute laser show, full of psychedelic patterns, distorted guitars, ominous sounds and images perfect for fueling nightmares, did receive an overwhelmingly positive response from those attending. The lobby of the planetarium was full of excited conversation, glazed over gazes and people eager to experience the show again.

“I thought it was really good,” said Taylor Holman, a freshman. “I thought the lasers went really well with the music.”

Others said the environment wasn’t perfect.

“It was good,” said Dale Cronkhite, a freshman. “Just neck-breaking.”

The chairs in the planetarium have been a big complaint among people attending the laser shows.

“People are not fond of our chairs because they’re not really designed for looking straight up for an entire hour,” Blake said. “But we’re working on that aspect of things.”

People who have attended the laser shows before prefer lying on blankets more than sitting in chairs. Even those without blankets were lying on the floor within a few minutes.

Since the laser projector is a rental and all the shows are stock, it limits the choice on what music can be shown. However, Blake makes several considerations when deciding on a show.

“I try to pick stuff that will have a general appeal,” he said. “Somebody asked me how do I pick the music, and I said ‘well, I have to hear it every night for a week, so it’s going to be something I like.’”

Students suggested a variety of bands for future laser shows. Among the bands suggested were Black Sabbath, Daft Punk, Aerosmith, Muse and Snow Patrol.

While most students enjoyed both of the bands at the laser show, many said they preferred one band to the other.

“I liked ‘The Wall’ a little better because I’m a little more familiar with Pink Floyd,” said Chase Alexander, a planetarium visitor.

Others preferred U2.

“I guess because I’m a little bit younger than (Alexander), I liked U2 better,” said Vivian Lesende, a junior at UNA.

Blake said he hopes in the future that UNA will invest in a laser projector. He said he sees how investing in one could have many positive benefits to the planetarium, as well as the community.

“I am very interested in getting a laser system on campus that we could make our own shows, but it’s a very expensive piece of equipment,” Blake said. “But, potentially, it could be a big program from us because we could do partnerships with a lot of different people.”