The 2012 Honda Civic Tour, in its 11th annual run, featured headliners Linkin Park and Incubus, with dates through North America in August and September. Travis Shirley, who is production designer for Linkin Park and works in conjunction with creative director Bill Boyd, created the looks for the band’s performance for this tour in a design that will continue once the band hits the road on its own.
Shirley first worked with the band for the Billboard Awards earlier this year. “We carried the concept from that show into this tour in terms of incorporating a pyro design and the overall feel of the show,” he says. “The band has a lot of new material, so we really wanted to go with a new and different look for them, a more dynamic-looking show.”
This started with the stage, made up of an X-shaped ramp that the band members can travel, leading to a section referred to as “the bunker,” a 7'-tall riser that spans the length of the stage. “This acts as the backbone of the set design,” says Shirley. “In that bunker, we have pyro coves where we can have gerbs and mines, and we actually have dragons built into the physical set. Underneath the set is where the techs have their different stations. The video world is upstage underneath the set as well.” Pyrotek Special Effects provided the pyro effects. Tait built the set.
Covering the bunker are four “shutter boxes” as Shirley calls them, describing them as “devices that we put on the downstage side of the bunker to cover up the tech world, and they’re essentially a wall—each box 10' wide by 7' tall—with approximately 140 Chroma-Q Color Blocks behind it.” A series of mechanical louvers, metallic on one side and black on the other, can open and close via air pressure to create various looks and chases throughout the show.
Significant in Shirley’s lighting rig is one of the first uses of the new Martin Professional MAC Viper Profile. “I was one of the first to take out the MAC 101s on Enrique Iglesias, and the timing worked out once again,” the designer says. “There won’t be a show in my near future that won’t have these lights on it.” He specifically notes the fixture’s optics, color temperature, and stock gobos. Shirley’s all-Martin moving light rig also includes MAC Auras™, MAC 101s™, MAC 401s™, MAC 700 Profiles™, and MAC III Performance™ units.
Shirley calls the MAC Vipers, positioned on the downstage truss as well as upstage right and upstage left, his “slice lights” on the rig. “They really slice right though everything we have going on,” he says. “So if I have a beautiful Congo blue look with Auras, I can really turn the Vipers on, and just due to their brightness and color temperature, and how they cut through everything, I can use them to define and frame the big picture and act like a marquee.”
The MAC Auras—the workhorses of the show, used in every song—create a general stage wash and set the tone of the palette. The MAC 101s sit on upstage vertical towers for timecode-triggered chases and backlighting for the band members. The MAC III Performance units are used for general profile lighting and to texture the stage and audience, as well as for some aerial effects. The MAC 700 Profiles sit on the floor “to help give some sizzle and eye candy to the floor and complete the picture,” Shirley says. “I’m really big on sidelight, and I also have MAC 401s on pipes at different heights on the side of the stage, and they give a really cool wash from the side to the band members.”
Shirley also uses Chromlech Jarag 5s, half pointed down on the stage and half into the audience, for blinder effects. Lycian M2 truss spots and house spots round out the lighting, which was supplied by Christie Lites. The show runs on an MA Lighting grandMA console, with an additional console on tour for backup.
The 18mm video screen is V-18 from PRG Nocturne Productions, which Shirley calls “a beautiful screen that does really well handling a tasteful blend of I-Mag layered on top of all the other content.” That other content was created by Boyd, who is a music video producer, with additional footage from Ghost Town Media. “The content is really crucial for the show,” adds Shirley. “We’re running all content via [SAMSC Design] Catalyst media servers, all triggered with timecode via the tracks. There’s a lot of electronics involved with Linkin Park, so the entire show is timecoded—lighting cues, video cues, pyro, everything.”
Shirley notes that the show is “very industrial looking, in terms of set design and the way we lit it. It’s a little bit like organized chaos the way the show is put together and the way I’ve cued it. A lot of the cues are a little bit dirtier than I’m typically used to, but this show called for that type of cueing.” Drew Gnagey programmed the lighting and the video, while Matt Mills is the touring lighting director.
Linkin Park has wrapped the Honda Civic tour, but this design will be out again, touring South America later this year and hitting Europe and South Africa early next year, with additional US dates to be announced.