Born in the US, the new Smashing Pumpkins World Tour it is a tour that took stage in Europe, traveled America, and will continue through the Pacific, Central America, and Costa Rica. Traveling for 11 months, the tour includes a minimum of six different lighting designs, all based around a central theme of triangles. And no one has had more fun on this tour than lighting designer, Greg Shipley.
Currently the Smashing Pumpkins are on their third European run of this tour. The act decided to take some of the lighting equipment from Bandit America, which was seamlessly incorporated with Bandit UK’s power distribution and motor systems, allowing the current system to meet codes throughout Europe.
"Apart from making the logistics flow, it was a great opportunity to show how intercontinental cooperation offers the client ultimate continuity," says Bandit UK's Lester Cobrin, adding, "It has been a great pleasure for us here in the UK to work with Chris Gratton (production manager) and his team."
Greg Shipley has been working with the band since June 2007. In that time, the lighting design has undergone several metamorphoses. Each leg of the tour has presented itself with different challenges. The designs have ranged from new LED technology to traditional rock and roll lighting.
After some initial input from Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan, Shipley has been free to create new and interesting designs for each leg of the band's tour. After designing several plots, Shipley worked with production manager Chris Gratton to evaluate each creation for touring reality.
"It has been a great pleasure to work with Chris Gratton. He is one of the great touring production managers on the road today," comments Shipley. Together, Shipley and Gratton present each design to the band for final approval.
For the current European leg, Shipley created a more traditional rock design utilizing 13 individually hung 15-foot sections of truss—each suspended on two motors—which make up six triangles, arching over the stage.
The band thrives on having a very intimate, personal look on stage. To achieve this, the lighting consists of an upstage trim of a mere 12 feet arching to a downstage trim of just 20 feet. There are no followspots and a plethora of back and side lighting, which produces many dramatic moments. With no production video on this leg, lighting has the pleasure of being the star of the show.
The fixtures are a combination of Coemar, Martin, and Vari-Lite. Moving lights include 24 Vari-Lite 3000 Spots and 30 Martin MAC 2000 Washes, which Shipley chose because he loves their brightness and durability. Adding to the basemoving package is the excitement of 10 Coemar iWash LEDs that create a layer of lighting just above the band's head, 37 Coemar Parlite LEDs, used not only as truss toners for creating varieties of color and flash, but also as up lighting of the artists- all complemented by 36 Martin Atomic Strobe 3000s with scrollers.
Shipley is a big fan of LED sources, and loves their speed and intensity. The power saving properties are also very important as many acts wish to set an example of energy conservation to their fans. Other permutations of the rig featured more LED fixtures and were video driven, but with this section of the tour, the main look is essentially back to a rock and roll traditional style: metal and movement.
The console of choice for this tour is the Compulite Vector Red, including one active and one slaved spare. Shipley has been using the Compulite Vectors for over three years. "The desk is absolutely amazing. I have the ability to compress or expand my shows at will. With the great support one can get from Compulite, the sky is the limit for this console," states Shipley. The consoles are running via Ethernet. With Artnet running thru 2 D-Link boxes and a Compulite E-Port, the desks are in sync and either is able to instantaneously control the show.
Shipley, who also acts as lighting director, is joined on the tour by crew chief Shawn Lear and techs Jackson Beck and Sam Morgan, who he says are, “just fantastic—I really can’t praise them enough—this is a great team effort.” Shipley also comments, “Working with Bandit UK has been an excellent experience. Everything was meticulously prepped on both sides of the Atlantic, and the process of fitting the gear from the UK and US together went seamlessly from the first European show. Thank you to Chris Gratton for his support, guidance and expertise.”
Production Manager: Chris Gratton
Tour Manager: Doug Goodman
Security: Gio (The Kiwi) Gasparetti
Production Assistant: Genevieve Neace
Baskin, Mark Newman, Donny Clay, and Ryan Merfy