Tom Kenny Lights Trio of Sir Elton John-Leon Russell Performances with Support from Scharff Weisberg Lighting

Photo by Star KahnScharff Weisberg Lighting scored a hat trick when it supported lighting designer Tom Kenny's needs for a trio of back-to-back appearances by Sir Elton John and the legendary Leon Russell.

Elton and Leon kicked off the release of their new studio album, their first collaboration in 40 years, with a concert broadcast live from The Beacon Theatre on October 19, an appearance on Good Morning America the following day, then wrapped up their stop later that night with a T Bone Burnett-curated benefit for arts education, The Speaking Clock Revue.

Scharff Weisberg Lighting responded quickly to Kenny's requirements with a wide array of equipment for three different gigs. The newly-renovated Beacon Theatre posed a particular challenge being a tight fit for large lighting rigs especially those that needed to accommodate a live broadcast and benefit concert

“Scharff Weisberg was fabulous, as always. We asked a lot, and they looked after us very well delivering a lot of equipment and cabling within a short space of time,” says Kenny.

Elton and Leon kicked off their stay in the Big Apple with Fuse, Madison Square Garden's national music television network, airing their Beacon Theatre concert as part of the Fuse Presents series. Produced by T Bone Burnett, the concert launched the duo's Union Tour promoting their just-released album of the same name.

“I worked with Elton's LD Andrew Piggott and programmer Mike Appel to adapt the Beacon concert for television,” Kenny explains. “The Beacon required a massive lighting rig in a small space: It's a tight Broadway stage, and we had a star-studded band and a star-studded audience. But after a couple of days of really hard work the end result was fabulous and everyone loved it.”

Among the lighting gear supplied by Scharff Weisberg was an extensive automated complement featuring new Martin MAC 101 LED washes. Used on the stage's scenic elements, the 101 is an ultra-compact, lightweight LED moving-head wash. Kenny was the first in the world to use the 101 when he tapped them for the 2010 MTV VMAs in September, and his successful experience with them prompted him to tap Scharff Weisberg's inventory of 101s for the Elton-Leon performances.

Other automated fixtures provided included Coemar Infinity Wash XLs, VARI*LITE 500 TD Washes, VARI*LITE VL3000 Spots, VARI*LITE VL3500 Framing Spots and VARI*LITE VL3500 Washes.

LED fixtures included Color Kinetics ColorBlaze 48-inch kits and sven ColorBlaze 72-inch kits plus ColorBlasts. Assorted Source Four Ellipsoidal spots and PARs, four-light Mole Fay kits, ARRI 650 fresnels, Chimeras. a pair of ARRI HMI Pocket PAR 200s and Litepanel 1x1 standard tungsten floods and daylight floods comprised the conventional lighting roster. Scharff Weisberg also furnished a full grandMA and back up for lighting control.

The next day Kenny worked on a smaller scale, lighting a special Beacon performance of Elton and Leon for ABC's popular Good Morning, America. By nightfall Kenny was using a modified version of Scharff Weisberg's rig to light Elton and Leon for The Speaking Clock Revue also headlined by Elvis Costello and John Mellencamp.

“We were able to do some proper theatrical lighting for the Revue to lots of great critical acclaim,” Kenny reports. “We had to tweak everything else for television. So the Revue came as a nice relief after lighting for TV and film for four days.”

Star Kahn was the set designer.

Scharff Weisberg and Video Applications are collaborating partners to clients requiring unique and imaginative solutions for their event, spectacle and large-meeting lighting, sound and video needs whether local, national or worldwide. For more information visit www.scharffweisberg.com or www.videoapps.com.

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