Going to a concert isn’t just about the music, it’s about the entire physical experience. One thing that really adds to the ambience of the concert is the fog machine, especially when paired with some great lighting. You can probably picture it in your head right now with a cloud of smoke rolling through an arena, but which bands and acts used fog machines the most? Here’s a few that have had noteworthy experiences with the underrated piece of concert equipment.
5. Black Sabbath
Headlined by the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio, Black Sabbath has been no stranger to fog machines at their concerts, but it even extends to album covers. For their smash hit self-titled album, Black Sabbath used a fog machine to capture the right look. At first, they tried dry ice in the early hours of the morning, but eventually felt that the fog machine would do the trick.
4. Luke Bryan
While it might seem strange to include a country musician on the list, Luke Bryan has had a lot of problems in his career with fog machines. This includes an incident in 2015 when a fog machine went off while he was standing nearly directly on top of it, causing him to stop singing for a moment while he laughed off the incident. Then, in 2021, Bryan thought his fog machine was doing too much at a Phoenix show and got accidentally kicked in the head while trying to move the machine. “So smoke machines dry my s*** out,” Bryan said.
3. Pink Floyd
Perhaps the best psychedelic rock band of all time, Pink Floyd has had several members come and go throughout the years. Currently, the lineup consists of just two members (David Gilmour and Nick Mason), but the love for the fog machine has never died. Gilmour in particular is known for his love of the fog machine to set the ambience for performances, including arriving on stage while surrounded by fog. Of course, there’s a fog that sits over the audience, too, but it doesn’t come from a machine.
2. Led Zeppelin
When you’re describing the sound of Led Zeppelin, “hazy” is a word that doesn’t typically apply to sound, but you know it when you hear it. If you’ve ever been to a Zeppelin concert in their long history, you’ve probably been hazed out yourself both metaphorically and literally. Zeppelin concerts are known for use of dry ice and fog machines that make the lower halves of the musicians almost impossible to see. It does make for quite an experience, though.
1. Jethro Tull
Jethro Tull has been rocking since back in 1967, and has been led by frontman Ian Anderson throughout their duration. However, the use of fog machines for more than half of a century has caused Anderson to experience lung problems in his own words. During an interview in 2020, Anderson stated that he had developed COPD because of the foc machines. “I’ve spent 50 years of my life onstage among those wretched things that I call smoke machines,” Anderson said. “Today, they’re politely referred to as hazers, as if they’re somehow innocent and not damaging to your lungs. I really do believe that’s a very significant part of the problem I have.”