Patience is said to be a virtue--and it's certainly one that has held LD Cary Richter in good stead. For years now the designer has wanted to try out black light on a tour, and John Fogerty's current Blue Moon Swamp tour has afforded him the opportunity. "When I first talked to John, he was really not big on having any lighting at all," Richter says. "So there's no exciting technology, but the UV idea is a cool gag in that it happens--but it doesn't really happen as a lighting effect. John specifically said he didn't want a lot of flashing lights, so this is just a way to achieve a neat lighting effect that isn't comparable to 100 Scans moving all over the place."
The LD admits that previous attempts to use UV on other tours were met with skepticism. "I've wanted to do it for a couple of different tours, but it never came together," Richter says. "Everybody's reaction was: 'Black lights are kind of out.' But they don't have to look like a velvet Elvis. I assured them that if we used these lights it wouldn't turn blaze orange and lime green, and this really doesn't. It's more of a light blue look. Then I explained to John that I wanted to do a sunset and showed him a model, and he thought it looked amazing. So, I was very happy that he went for it--especially since the show has no other real effects."
Fogerty wanted a Southern theme, so Richter came up with a swamp backdrop. Santa Monica, CA-based UV/FX Scenic Productions then fleshed out Richter's sketch. The company's creative director, Kent Mathieu, rendered the drawing of the dual image scenic drop, which is what they showed to Fogerty. Using regular and UV paint, the company's art director, Kipp Lott, painted the drop, front set, and scenic elements to depict the swamp during the day; Richter's lighting then transforms the drop into a sunset and finally, a nighttime scene.
"We got the 10 UV lights from Richard Green at UV/FX(TM)," Richter says. "They had actually done work like this before, but never on this scale, or for a tour. As far as lighting gear, we have PAR cans, about half a dozen ETC Source Fours, and three Molefays. Light & Sound Design provided the equipment, and John Lobel put it together for us."
Helping Richter out on the road is lighting technician Dave Conventino, and the LD is using a Celco Gold console to run the show. "I could pretty much just put the entire first part of the show on a time fade, and then nap out on the bus," Richter laughs. "It moves slow, but it does move. A lot of people get it and a lot of people don't, but the crowd that we're playing for is older. They don't necessarily care what it looks like. They come out there to see him, and he puts on a great show--he sounds great; there's no real need for any big, spectacular thing to draw away from him, because he certainly takes the show and runs with it."
Fogerty covers a wide range of material in the two-hour-and-20-minute show, which encompasses everything from his Credence Clearwater Revival days to his latest solo work. "He first gave us this humongous list of songs; it was like a festival song list, but with only one band," Richter says. "So he did cut about ten. I had heard the songs many times on the radio, so I already knew every song by the time I went into rehearsals. It was a pretty easy show to program, and he does the same set list every night."
The tour is scheduled to run through December. "They haven't said so, but we're kind of hoping he'll go out again next year," Richter says. "He's been away for a long time, and he is really happy to be out. Every artist tells his audience how happy they are to be there, but he's one of the only ones I believe."