The top tour on the list, Bon Jovi's Lost Highway Tour, used 5 RJ Ivanhoe 2500W HMI units whilst the second most successful tour, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Magic Tour used a total of 6 RJ Topaze 1200W MSR spots, 3 short throw RJ Manon 1200W MSR and 4 of the flagship RJ Lancelot 4000W HTI followspots.
Celine Dion's Taking Chances Tour came in at number 5 using 8 RJ Cyrano 2500W HMI long throw followspots while the Eagles Long Road Out of Eden World Tour – ninth in the list - used a further 9 Robert Juliat followspots as truss mounted units.
Jeff Ravitz, long-time lighting designer for Bruce Springsteen, decided that the Magic tour was the right time to put some Robert Juliat followspots into the rig.
“For a band in perpetual motion, followspots are invaluable. A bridge 30' downstage held six Robert Juliat Topaze spots colour-corrected to 3,200K. These have a beautifully flat field and are balanced for accurate operation. For consistent backlight were three Robert Juliat Manons, a smaller version of the Topaze,” says Ravitz.
“Jeff selected the combination of Topaze and Manon, but nothing is easy!” explains Robert Juliat USA's Fred Lindauer. “Jeff wanted the followspots to have electronic power supplies to ensure there was no flicker, since Springsteen insists that each show is recorded in HD so he can review the work after each show. The use of high speed digital photography, video and film for each recording means a constant colour temperature of tungsten and the flicker-free output of an electronic ballast are essential.
“At the time, Robert Juliat did not have an electronic ballast option for the Manon and Topaze – although we do for many of our other followspots - so we decided to team up with Morpheus Lights – the production company behind Bruce's tour – who manufacture some lighting products with electronic ballasts which we felt would work well with our followspot technology.”
The result was a hybrid followspot that married the Topaze and Manon head with the Morpheus electronic ballast. Nine of the new â€˜RJE' units were assembled at the Robert Juliat USA workshop in Connecticut before being sent out by Morpheus on tour with Bruce where they proved very successful.
In addition to the newly adapted 1200W models, Ravitz also chose to trial the latest Robert Juliat product, the Lancelot 4000W HTI, for the long throw work on the European leg of the tour. The Lancelots were hired from German based Tour Service Lichtdesign, and used throughout the summer on the outdoor tour dates where they proved themselves invaluable over the long throw distances involved. They were then replaced for the winter (indoor) tour dates by 3 RJ Cyrano followspots with electronic ballasts.
Teddy Goetz of Tour Service Lichtdesign says, “We decided to go for the Lancelots as we needed to provide a unit which would satisfactorily replace the American brands that are more common in the USA. After sending the lighting team the technical details of the Lancelots, they finally allowed us to give the Lancelot a chance. They were totally surprised and satisfied with the result. In fact, after the European tour, when they played the NY Stadium using their old spots, they realized that the Lancelots had been a good choice!”
The RJ Lancelots will be on board again for Springsteen's 2009 world tour, Working on a Dream when it returns to Europe this summer.
Ravitz has also added two additional Topaze RJE truss spots to the rig for the tour, bringing the total number of Robert Juliat spots to eleven (8 Topaze and 3 Manon). Concluding its America leg in March, the Working on a Dream tour continues across Europe throughout June and July.
“The product concept is an attractive alternative because of the electronic supply,” explains Lindauer.
Developed by Morpheus Lights and assembled at Robert Juliat USA, the RJEâ„¢ Electronic Ballast replaces the factory-standard magnetic ballast for Robert Juliat's Topaze and Manon followspots with a compact, flicker-free ballast. This highly successful adaptation is now available for purchase directly from Robert Juliat America.