Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler is out on an extensive 100+ show world tour that includes five nights at Royal Albert Hall. Bandit Lites is supplying full lighting production to the Shangri La tour that includes a MAC 2000 lighting package.
Lighting designer Simon Tutchener, who has a background in theatre, knows Knopfler well and understands the artist’s aversion to lots of movement or big gobo looks. "To tell you the truth, Mark is not a moving light fan, so the show really has little movement. He doesn’t want any rotating gobos for example, yet when the lights do move, it’s powerful and makes a big impact."
Knopfler did not want the lights to distract from the music, so Tutchener re-visited his theatrical roots for inspiration, using the moving lights sparingly. "It’s a theatre show really, with four sections, each with different looks. We have 50 MAC 2000 fixtures, 28 profile spots, and 22 wash. We’ll be increasing that to 82 fixtures for the five Albert Hall shows where the backdrop will change. We wanted reliability, and I know Martin is reliable. It’s a hard tour schedule and we wanted something that was going to work right out of the box."
The main lighting trusses are four 32’-long upstage/downstage fingers constructed from pre-rigged truss and angled gently outwards from center stage. The fingers idea came from the sun ray graphics on the Shangri-La album cover, and the backdrop color was specified by Knopfler himself. Lights are distributed across all trusses–including a 56’ rear truss–with MACs on the floor doing big scenic looks.
Across the rear of the stage, 16 MAC 2000s–eight wash and eight profile fixtures–sit on top of boxes to form a linear row just in front of the backdrop. These units are used to illuminate the backdrop and for eye-catching beam effects. The moving fixtures on the four fingers vary slightly truss-to-truss–the total count is 14 MAC 2000 Profiles and eight MAC 2000 Wash. The MAC 2000 count is completed with six Profiles and six Wash along the back truss.
Despite Knopfler’s resistance to moving lights, Tutchener hasn’t shied away from using pattern projections. "There is a bit of gobo projection," he says. "I use them a lot actually–but with no rotation, no waving around the audience or stage. When they do move, it makes a big impact. I like the MAC 2000s–the fixtures have been absolutely fine–but I must admit I don’t like the gobos in them so I went to the MAC 500 and chose four gobos that I like and made them the MAC 2000 size. I’ve been using the MAC 500 and 600 forever."
In addition to the MAC moving lights, Bandit has also supplied more than 100 PARS, ACLs and 8-lite blinders, plus ETC Source Fours® for key lighting. The truss toners are ChromaQ Color Block DB4 LED blocks.
Crew Chief: Mike Humeniuk
Technicians: Mick Freer, Ewan Cameron
Rigger: Johnny "Hotpants" Ashton