Gearhouse South Africa Tours Lionel Richie

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Gearhouse South Africa supplied all technical production – staging, rigging, lighting, video and audio - for Lionel Richie's hugely successful South African tour, with resources pooled from their Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban bases.

Rigging Anthony Banks, Operations Manager for Gearhouse Rigging was head rigger for the tour, which played a mix of indoor and outdoor venues.

In Cape Town they used an 18 metre wide by 12 metre deep TFL roof. The PA Towers were done with Layher scaffolding, while the Durban gig was staged on a 20 metre wide by 14 metre deep Stageco roof with integral PA wings. The P A wings were at a height of 25 metres. The Johannesburg shows which concluded the tour took place in the Dome, a 13 212 seated capacity venue which sold out for 2 nights. The Dome show involved 28 points straight into the roof and some complex bridling to suspend a total of 9.3 tonnes of production equipment into the roof which has 350 Kgs maximum loading on all nodes except for rings 11 and 12, with 500Kg loadings. The motors were all CM Lodestars – a mix of half, one and two tonnes.

Banks worked with a team of two local riggers (in Cape Town & Durban) on the tour, one climber and one ground person. At the Dome a local crew of three climbers and one ground person was used – GHSA is also a preferred supplier at the Dome – the local crew did a pre-rig, led by Kendall Dixon and went in the morning of the day before the first show to get a head start for the touring crew, who arrived from Durban later that day.

Lighting The GHSA lighting department was led by Rob Baker, a regular freelancer for the Cape Town branch, who worked with 4 touring crew and 2 lighting crew from the local branches.

They matched the plot sent by Richie's LD Joel Young. This consisted of three 54ft long straight trusses, each loaded with 7 bars of 6 PARs and following a clean, classical theatrical style with a blacked out stage, a basic PAR wash and moving light ‘specials' layered over the top and used for colour and movement.

There were 12 Martin Professional MAC 2K Washes on the upstage truss and 9 on the mid truss, along with 14 Selecon Pacific Zoom Profiles distributed between front and back trusses for band specials and key lighting. The front truss also contained 8-lite Molefays for audience illumination – a vital element for any Richie show which features plenty of audience interaction.

The upstage black scrim was lit with 20 Robe ColorWash 700E ATs, and another 10 MAC 2K profiles on the floor were used for hard edged aerial beam effects.

Young operated the show using a Hog iPC console running in Hog II mode, and they also utilised 3 Supertrouper follow spots.

Video Craig McGinn was the senior Video Engineer on the tour, and the kit was supplied by a combination of Gearhouse AV and EventCam, a new company in the Gearhouse Group.

Between the two companies, a 3 camera SDI PPU was supplied. The IMAG mix was directed by Lynton Allsop, engineered by McGinn and beamed onto two 24 by 18 ft side screens fed by a pair of rear projecting Christie machines.

The cameras were stationed one at FOH with long lens and 2 in the pit. Allsop used a Snell & Wilcox DVS 1000 switcher to cut the show, and received a brief before the first gig from Richie's production manager, after which he was left to his own creative devices. Most of the shots were tight into Richie, with the practical goal in mind of bringing him into and closer to the audience. The camera crews were sourced locally at each of the 3 locations.

Audio Gearhouse Audio's team was led by Revil Baselga. The L-Acoustics VDOSC rig varied in size, with Newlands in Cape Town being the largest venue for which they used 48 VDOSC elements, 15 a side for the main hangs with two outer hangs of 10 a side plus 3 delays, 2 of dVDOSC and one of Kudo.

For the Dome, it was configured as 12 VDOSC a side with Kudo outer hangs, and dVDOSC downfills, infills and outfills – all driven by a networked LA8 amplifier system. Gearhouse is one of the first companies to tour this, which is proving very stable and reliable.

Richie's engineer Kevin Elson specified a trusty Midas XL3 console with an extender wing. This was complimented with one of Gearhouse's standard FX racks loaded with a Yamaha SPX 990 and a 2000, a Lexicon PCM 91 digital reverb, a TC M3000 multi-effects processor and a TC 2290 tap delay.

He used Drawmer DS201 gates, and a variety of tube compressors including Summit DCL 2000s, and an array of dbx comps - 160SLs, 566s and 160XTs. FOH systems engineer was Gearhouse's Jako De Wit. The drive rack included Dolby Lake Processors (DLPs) that were utilised for the main PA along with a XTA 226 and a GQ600 EQ for quick adjustments.

At the other end of the multicore, Richie's engineer Joshua Swart used a Yamaha PM5D console, taking advantage of the onboard effects, so making a tidy footprint. They ran a Sennheiser IEM system for all 6 musicians/singers with a total of 8 mixes including technicals.

The only wedges onstage were a downstage line of L-Acoustics Hi-Q 115XTs to provide some air movement and sonospherics, Gearhouse also supplied a full package of mics – primarily Shures - and stands.

The tour was a huge success, and once again proved that Gearhouse's ability to supply all aspects of technical infrastructure maximised operational efficiency and offered a really competitive deal to the client.

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