The Who kicked off its world tour with rave reviews and a packed calendar of gigs in the US, with lighting design by Tom Kenny and video design and direction by Aubrey Powell.
The tour, which has been dubbed “Uncut. Uncensored. Unrepentant,” features “the first new Who music in 20 years,” according to Kenny. “There are six new songs and a mini-opera in the middle of the show. When we went into it, Pete Townshend asked me to treat the show in a very different light, literally. He wanted it to look very different from what we've done in the past, but we couldn't use haze or smoke since Roger Daltrey has a smoke allergy.”
The result is a “unique-looking show, very high-tech, very 2006,” says Kenny. “There are different types of backdrops, reveals, screens, different formations. Very theatrical footage is displayed on five large, moving LED screens from XL Video and three big projection screens. The five LED screens are the main focus of the lighting rig.”
Powell's video design, with gear supplied by XL Touring Video Inc., includes Barco SLM R12 projectors for the I-MAG screens; Barco ELM R18 projectors for the overstage landscape screen; and Barco D7 LED tiles to make up six 9"×12" and one 12"×25" LED screens. Other video gear includes control equipment from Barco/Folsom (including an Encore LC control panel and Encore 3ME VP video processor), Ross S3-001 Synergy 3 mainframe and Synergy 3 switcher control panel, a Leitch 32×1 control panel, and an ABA-XY control panel and integrator. Sony cameras are used with Fujinon and Canon lenses. Playback equipment includes a Panasonic progressive-scan DVD-RAM; three Doremi hard disk recorders; a Yamaha 01V mixer; and a Sony DigiBeta A500 edit recorder.
For Kenny's PRG-supplied lighting rig, an MA Lighting grandMA console controls 14 B52 Syncrolites, 40 Martin MAC 2000 washes, 22 MAC 700 spots, 32 4-way Molestrips, 10 ETC Source Four ellipsoidals, 20 Coemar PARlite LED fixtures, 10 James Thomas Engineering PixelLine 1044 LED strips, 29 Martin Atomic Strobes, and six Lycian M2 truss spots.
The crew for the show includes lighting programmer/director Kathy Beer; crew chief Jason “Attaboy” Stalter; lighting techs Ty Brooks, Mike Mehmert, and Carl Horahan; and Syncrolite tech Glenn Rupert. Roy Lamb is the production manager, and stage manager is Scott Williams.
US dates for The Who are currently planned into March 2007.