This year was the first year Morro Bay hosted a laser light show instead of a traditional Fourth of July fireworks show. Although I’d be the first to support an environmentally-friendly, high-tech alternative, I wasn’t very impressed.
The lasers were not at all what I imagined. In my head, I created grandiose images of brightly-lit lasers projected into the night fog, viewable from all across the bay. We waited at our spot at the foot of Morro Rock, sitting wrapped up in blankets to see the $25,000 laser show.
We waited there until 8:50 (ten minutes before the start of the show) when the people in the SUV next to us said the laser show would be projected onto a screen a mile a way — not into the sky, and certainly not visible from Morro Rock. So we drove to Tidelands park and walked five blocks to the crowd of people waiting to see the show.
Why it wasn’t cool
Unless you’re sitting right up next to the screen, your view of the show will be obstructed. As soon as it started, there was an outcry of people screaming, “Sit down! We can’t see!” With fireworks, on the other hand, you can see the show from miles away.
The “Oooh! Aaah!” factor created by fireworks is gone. Fireworks feel larger than life. With a laser show, you’re watching little hokey images of the flag and trumpets and soldiers being played onto a screen to patriotic country songs. (Not very epic).
A few people in Morro Bay were setting off fireworks from their homes, and every time a real firework exploded in the air behind the laser show, everyone started cheering and clapping.
As I walked through the crowd, I heard comments like, “$25,000 for this?” or “Is that it?”
Fifteen minutes into the start of the show, people were already headed back to their cars. I saw one group of people with cardboard boxes soliciting money and chanting, “$5 to see real fireworks next year!”
Full disclosure, though — I was one of those people who left before the show was halfway over, so maybe the end was better. That was partially because I wasn’t interested, partially because I didn’t want to deal with hordes of traffic, and partially because I was with younger cousins who needed to use the restroom.
Feedback on the Web
So far, I haven’t seen much feedback on the laser show (considering it just finished a few hours ago), but what I have seen hasn’t been positive.
Laser Show @ Morro Bay = Super lame…
On Topix.com, LoCal from Arroyo Grande, Calif. said:
Morro Bay Laser Show SUCKED!!!!! Would never sit though something like that again!!!!!! Stupid Snowy Plover and the Tree Hugging Enviromentalists!!!!
Morro Bay had a laser show instead of fireworks. Lasers < fireworks. There entire crowd left before it was over. It was truly epic fail.
How it could be better in the future
Don’t get me wrong– there were benefits. Fireworks are hardly distinguishable in the fog (or so they say), but if you were in front of the screen and people in front of you weren’t standing up, you could view the whole show — fog or no fog. Lasers are both environmentally safe and prevent wildfire potential — both of which I obviously support. Still, I wish I would have gone to Pismo to see the traditional fireworks.
If the location of the screen onto which the lasers were projected had been in a better location, it would have been more interesting. The screen was in a heavily-lit location surrounded by trees.
My suggestion for the future would be to put the screen on a boat a few hundred yards into the bay. That way, it’s completely dark and people standing all around the bay would be able to see it (instead of the people who were lucky to push themselves right up next to the screen). It might work.
It was a good attempt at something new. The first attempt at experimentation is usually failure. I applaud their ability to innovate and break away from tradition, but until they can get it right, I probably won’t attend another one.