Luke Bryan has rolled out his That's My Kind of Night Tour, and Elite Multimedia Productions in Nashville is providing Clay Paky A.LEDA, Sharpy and Sharpy Wash lighting fixtures; grandMA2 consoles; and MDG's theONE fog/haze atmospheric generators as Bryan once again takes to the road.
Luke Bryan has rolled out his That's My Kind of Night Tour, and Elite Multimedia Productions in Nashville is providing Clay Paky A.LEDA, Sharpy and Sharpy Wash lighting fixtures; grandMA2 consoles; and MDG's theONE fog/haze atmospheric generators as Bryan once again takes to the road. The popular country artist's new tour is named after his latest single, which has catapulted to # 1 in the country charts. A.C.T Lighting Inc. is the exclusive distributor for Clay Paky, MA Lighting and MDG in North America.
"We just concluded the Dirt Road Diaries Tour with Luke; his new tour will run from January 2014 to the end of October," says Tom Wilson, vice president of event productions at Elite Multimedia Productions. "For this tour they've doubled the number of Sharpys and added Sharpy Washes. They've been really thrilled with the Clay Paky fixtures, which have been very durable with a really low failure rate. In 10 months on the road, there have been almost no failures. The only light we lost was due to a guitar player accidentally kicking it into the audience!"
Lighting designer Justin Kitchenman of Fade Up Design Group points out that Bryan "wants all of his productions to be big, ambitious and with lots of bells and whistles. When someone walks into this show they're walking into a party."
Bryan is at the center of the action figuratively and literally. "We designed a 42-foot wide circle stage that sits at the end of the thrust giving the entire audience a 360º view of Luke for the majority of the show," says Kitchenman. "Having a lighting rig that can light the entire room and have lots of punch was essential."
Kitchenman was challenged to keep the sight lines clean and offer the entire audience "the full concert experience. We don't want the people off to the sides or way up top to ever feel like they are missing out on elements of the show."
Kitchenman's Clay Paky complement consists of 46 Sharpy Beams, 20 Sharpy Washes and 12 A.LEDA Wash K10 and 32 A.LEDA Wash K5 LEDs, which are positioned "all over" forming "the teeth of this lighting rig," he says.
"I chose Clay Paky based on the reputation of the manufacturer as well as the unparalleled support provided by A.C.T Lighting," Kitchenman reports. "After a full year of touring with the same type of fixtures last year, there was very little down time. I've found all of the Clay Paky fixtures to be extremely rugged and reliable. There wasn't a single reason why I should have been looking for alternatives this year."
Kitchenman has been using grandMA and grandMA2 consoles almost exclusively for the last seven years. "MA consoles are by far the most user-friendly on the market today," he says. For Bryan's new tour he's running two full-size grandMA2s at FOH and a grandMA2 light at dimmers for tech and emergency back up.
He programmed the majority of the show himself but brought in programmer Johnny Caudill for rehearsals; he plans to call on Caudill throughout the year for larger-scale productions that may need advance overnight programming.
Kitchenman admits that he's become so accustomed to all of the features of the grandMA2 that he sometimes forgets "that they are unique." He cites "the ease of MA net for data distribution on such a large production, which is huge for me" and the dedicated Art-Net output for running media servers. "The physical size of the console and number of playback faders and buttons give me the ability to operate the show with comfort and ease," he adds.
MDG products round out the tour with Kitchenman deploying two MDG theOne fog/haze generators, a pair of MDG Atmosphere hazers and an MDG ICE Low Fogger. He selected them, as he did the Clay Paky fixtures, for the reputation of the manufacturer and A.C.T's high level of support. Kitchenman also points to the devices' high output and limited residue as "major contributors" to his choice.
"We use the low fogger to create a bit more of a dramatic scene during one of Luke's new songs," he says, "and the hazers just ensure that we have plenty of haze in the air for all of those Sharpys!"
Having come full circle to the Sharpys, Elite's Wilson chimes in that the "Clay Paky fixtures are great performing lights that hold up well" during tours. "As a company owner, that's a big one for me."
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