As The Who begins its world tour with rave reviews and a packed calendar of gigs, the grandMA begins its work behind the scenes controlling lighting design that puts the group in the forefront of artists performing today. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of the grandMA in North America.
The tour, which has been dubbed “Uncut. Uncensored. Unrepentant,” features “The first new Who music in 20 years,” according to lighting designer Tom Kenny. “There are six new songs and a mini-opera in the middle of the show. When we went into it, Pete Townshend asked me to treat the show in a very different light--literally. He wanted it to look very different from what we’ve done in the past, but we couldn’t use haze or smoke since Roger Daltry has a smoke allergy.”
The result is a “unique-looking show, very high tech, very 2006,” says Kenny. “There are different types of backdrops, reveals, screens, different formations. Very theatrical footage is displayed on five large, moving LED screens from XL and three big projection screens. The five LED screens are the main focus of the lighting rig.”
The choice of the grandMA and its back up unit, supplied by PRG, was a no-brainer for Kenny. “I’ve been around them since Day One; they’re everywhere I go,” he reports. “Programmer/director Kathy Beer has been using the grandMA for years, as do programmers around the world. We both knew the benefits of using the system: it’s very quick to program, very hands on. It’s great for live design that changes by the second and requires me to react fast to the audience and spontaneous band changes.”
Among the equipment controlled by the grandMA are 14 B52 Syncrolites, 40 Mac 2000 washes, 22 Mac 700 spots, 32 four-way Molestrips, 10 ETC Source Four Ellipsodials, 20 Coemar Parlite LED fixtures, 10 Pixeline 1044 LED strips, 29 Atomic Strobes, and 6 Lycian M2 truss spots.
The lighting crew for the show includes crew chief Jason “Attaboy” Stalter; lighting techs Ty Brooks, Mike Mehmert, and Carl Horahan; and Syncrolite tech Glenn Rupert. Roy Lamb is the production manager, Scott Williams is stage manager, and Aubrey Powell is video director.
“I am so pleased that Tom and Kathy have chosen the grandMA for the Who. Tom is a tremendous LD and has done a great job on this tour. It is a point of pride for us to have our console involved. No other console offers the live access that grandMA does, and both Tom & Kathy make good use of this to produce a modern show with an old-school Rock & Roll feel,” commented Bob Gordon, president and CEO of A.C.T Lighting.