Irving Plaza in New York has hosted an amazing array of acts from ‘Nsync-er J.C. Chasez to Neil Diamond cover band Super Diamond, not to mention Joey Ramone's birthday party, a Betsey Johnson fashion show, and a plethora of punk, hip hop, rock, and electronic acts.
For a venue its size — 1,100 people, legally — Irving Plaza is one of the most sought after spots in New York City. So it was no wonder that LD Ian Davis was given the go ahead to update the lighting rig for the first time in almost a decade. “After sparks flying here and there and getting electrocuted a couple of times, I figured it was time for a change,” he says. “Once, I tried to address a single issue, but we realized that we needed to change out the entire system.”
Davis wanted the new system to be more complete so that acts would not have to seek out additional rentals. Among the new lights nesting at Irving Plaza are 36 ETC PARs, six ETC Lekos, five Lightronics RE-82D 2.4 dimmers, eight VARI*LITE VL3000s™, four Martin Atomic 3K strobes, one Le Maitre Neutron XS Hazer, and a Lightronics 2448 Conventional dimmer board that join six High End Technobeams already in place.
Aside from the new fixtures, Davis is now programming on a Jands Hog 1000, Davis has to keep tabs on his own imagination, now that he has the ability to do more with new equipment. “I'm having a lot more fun with the flexibility of the board and the lights,” he explains, “but it's still a matter of feeling the vibe of the day when new acts come in. You don't want to do too much or too little. I have to be careful now and not go crazy with the moving lights, but I want to make it as sick a show as I can.”
Davis added that the updated lighting equipment is not the only new addition to Irving Plaza; a blue proscenium that was once on the stage is now a memory. “It was constricting the designs,”
Davis explains. “With some acts, you want to get the light out in the audience and let the crowd be a part of the show. Now, it's only three and a half feet, and all the lights in the back of the rig can shoot upstairs into the crowd. Before, it would get cut off, and it would just be a stage show.” Davis added that the proscenium acted to conceal the old, messy rig, but that's not a problem any longer, as he spent many hours cleaning it up and tightening the wires.