The fact that We Own The Night — her first stadium/arena headline tour — has been able to achieve exactly that is largely down to the artistry of creative director / production designer Seth Jackson and lighting wingman Brian Jenkins — and their deployment of 29 GLP Volkslicht LED spots.
Introduced to them by AnnaLise Laundrup, Operations Director at GLP's West Coast office, the creative director immediately approached lighting hire company, Bandit Lites. “I have a long history with Bandit — and when I contacted them [about the Volkslicht], it turned out that they were looking for a similar fixture to add to the inventory. So this was a perfect match.”
One of the key drivers was the light's energy efficiency — with â€˜green' issues also very close to Bandit Lites' heart. “This is a theatre-scaled tour, and the amount of fixtures we have out there gives the show a much larger look than the actual size. A lot of this is due to the fact that power draw is extremely low, which helps us get more into the rig.”
The tour — designed to promote Gomez' third studio album, When The Sun Goes Down — marks a reunion between Jackson and Jenkins, who had been assigned by Bandit Lites as Jackson's board operator back in 2007 on the Carrie Underwood tour. “We found that our personalities worked very well together, and along with co-designer Brent Sandrock have been working on projects together ever since. However, this is Brian's first time as LD and he has done a masterful job,” credits the creative director.
The artiste outlined the dance party vibe she wished to create for her and her fans and tasked Jackson and Sandrock with delivering this. “She wanted the room lit to create the feel of a disco rave. We knew that we wanted to break the tradition of video screens, by using different shapes and aspect ratios, and Brian was developing a very nice asymmetric rig, so I knew we were in great shape.”
But Seth Jackson knew he needed a small fixture to hang under the LED walls where size and weight were crucial issues. And that's when AnnaLise Laundrup suggested the Volkslichts.
The creative team also foresaw further duties for the Volkslichts — featuring as uplights across the stage apron, using the fixture placement to â€˜frame-in' the stage and deliver symmetrical ACL-type looks while the other fixtures took on asymmetrical focus duties.
Production needed to be sure that in order to create a rave atmosphere, the response time of the fixture would be fast. “In that sense the Volkslicht is definitely very well suited to the kind of show we were looking to create, with all of the complex chases and movement required,” he said.
The LD is also a big fan of the Volkslicht. “When the impression originally hit the market, it became a game-changer and set the tone for other manufacturers to follow. This is my first time using the Volkslichts and after reviewing the â€˜bang-for-the-buck' we would get, it made perfect sense to use them. I had already scouted the fixtures when a friend rolled through town with 100-plus of them — and that gave me a great heads-up of the fixture's capabilities.”
They have been ultra-reliable throughout, he confirmed. “We've been through rain, dust storms, extreme heat and high humidity levels... and these fixtures keep trucking along.”
Summing up the Volkslicht's contribution to this tour, Seth Jackson says, “The brightness is tremendous — they hold their own against arc lamps and even the LED surfaces.”
Brian Jenkins agrees. “Volkslichts deliver the bold and strident colors that are in evidence throughout the show quite beautifully and with plenty of punch. The speed is lightning fast and it definitely surprised me during programming. More times than not, I will delay the Volkslichts' parameters a bit so they're in harmony with the other moving lights in the rig.”
It can be argued that any touring product is only as good as the support mechanics behind it, and both men declare that GLP have been “top-notch” in that regard.