Irish boy band Westlife just wrapped another successful tour. Bandit Lites UK supplied 24 Martin MAC 2000 Profiles and 28 MAC 2000 Washes for the latest UK/European tour with lighting design by Peter Barnes and lighting direction by David Lee. Martin lighting has been an indelible presence on all of Westlife’s big tours to date.
"The lighting brief for this year’s tour was similar to those of previous tours–big, bright and active," David Lee says. "Westlife may be a boy band but they have a good chunk of rock ‘n roll mixed in. Pete Barnes has done the last three tours and I have operated and programmed them for him. This tour is kind of a joint effort between us to come up with the looks for the show."
The lighting rig consisted of two diamond trusses, trimmed at different heights, and gently raked to show off the metalwork. MAC 2000s were evenly spaced across the truss working with Jem ZR33 Hi-Mass foggers as well as Cirro Hazers.
The show broke into five sections, each with a different feel and look to it. "Section one starts after about three minutes of video tape at the other end of the arena, designed as a distraction while the band gets into position," explains Lee. "The four members make their way to the stage from the FOH position, walking through the crowds, and lit only by four MAC 2000 spots. The boys hit the stage, pyro goes off, and we're straight into the first four songs of the set where there is loads of activity.
"Section two is dominated by ballads and is very subtlety lit using the MAC 2000s. The last song of this section is a loud and in your face Westlife anthem ‘Lookin Like That’. In this number, the 2000s really get a pounding and stand up to the pace," Lee continues.
Section three, a medley section, is "very discotheque" as Lee describes it, so he incorporated a lot of rolling color and gobo effects. "All songs have a good strong bass line, so the 2000 wash lights with a narrow beam play a vital part," he says. "I like to use the PC lens as you can get a good, narrow and powerful beam or a super-wide wash–it’s a very versatile light."
Section four is inspired by the "Rat Pack" era, which features songs from Westlife’s cover album of original Rat Pack hits. For this section, the stage features a set of red velvet pleated theatre-style drapes. "We decided to keep this section very monochrome, black and white looking, utilizing the CTO colors of the MACs at different levels with saturations and not much movement from the fixtures," Lee says.
Section five concludes the show with three of Westlife’s biggest hits, so Barnes and Lee create a finale of big looks and fanned focuses. "The specific features that I like with the 2000 wash lights are its output and zoom features, which let you create some great effects with just a simple change of zoom and color at the same time," Lee says. "And the PC lens gives you that tight beam; it allowed me to make some great ACL looks without having a single Par64 up there."
Bandit also supplied other automated lights, Chroma Banks, Truss Toners, 4 lites and 2000 spots for the show. Control was from a Wholehog® II with expansion wing.
Crew Chief and moving light operator: Ian Lomas
Dimmers and electrical: Jason Hyne
Technicians: Ricky Butler, Charlie Denny