The Bon Jovi Because We Can tour is working its way around the world in two distinctly different legs—an arena design and a stadium design. For both designs, Performance Environment Designer Doug “Spike” Brant of Performance Environment Design Group (PEDG) has created spectacular visuals that integrate video, scenic, and lighting in an unexpected and innovative manner.
PEDG’s lighting design is being supported during the entire tour with packages from Production Resource Group (PRG), who are supplying each design version with complete fixture, distribution, and lighting control solutions. The arena leg of the tour recently wrapped up the winter/spring run in North America having played dates throughout the U.S. and Canada. For the arena design, PEDG’s Brant conceived a performance environment that was a fully realized kinetic sculpture in which 40 individually automated hexagonal video projection columns, 10 automated lighting towers, and 32 lighting winches offered an infinite array of stage looks.
To integrate the lighting into the arena’s dynamic design, Brant wanted the lights to change position within the vertical plane. This was possible by using 32 high speed TAIT hex-winches each with a PRG Best Boy 4000® Spot Luminaire mounted on RSC Lightlock stabilizer. The lights could move at a rate of five-feet per second which allowed Brant tocreate unique shapes and framing throughout the performance, complementing the hexagon lift system.
Since one of the driving principals of PEDG is sustainability, it was no surprise that PEDG selected PRG’s Best Boy as the primary light, using 80 Best Boys in the arena design. “Sustainability is something that we’ve always pursued; everything from how we work to the choices that we make in our designs,” comments Brant. “We needed a Swiss Army knife light, and the Best Boy is just that. It is simply in a class by itself,” explains Brant. “I love the Best Boy; it’s my favorite light. They’re so bright, they don’t draw much power, and they do things that no other light does. They were very important to this design. The Best Boys on the lifts and winches are a very successful element which supported the kinetic nature of the design.” There are also 10 light lift towers, built by TAIT, that rise from 7-½’ to 29-½’ positioned across the back of the stage. Each tower has a ‘Texas Longhorn’ arrangement of one Best Boy luminaire and two GLP impression X4 LED units.
Though visually complex, the lighting design boasted huge power savings. Drawing a mere five-amps per luminaire, the Best Boys allowed Brant to significantly reduce the power consumption for the arena design. “Less than 400-amps for the whole thing; that’s it. That is probably the least amount of power that Bon Jovi has ever had for any show since the band was playing in a bar,” notes Brant. Chris Shaffer, Dimmer Tech for the arena leg of the tour points out, “We were on a 400-amp service but in theory we could have been on a 200-amp service with additional rebalancing, but for safety we went with 400-amps. We used house power the whole time we toured throughout the US arena tour; no generators needed. The Best Boy’s really low power draw made a big difference.”
Along with the 80 PRG Best Boys the lighting package included 103 GLP impression X4 LED lights, 20 Clay Paky Sharpys, and 20 Philips Color Kinetics ColorBlast LEDs. For control, lighting director Soonier Routhier operated an MA Lighting grandMA2 console with a grandMA2 light for backup. “It’s very simple, but the design is very dynamic,” concludes Brant.
Live Design will be posting in-depth coverage of PEDG’s stadium design version, which debuted in Sofia, Bulgaria on May 14th and will be touring throughout the summer, coming to the US in mid July. The arena design version will be back touring this fall.