Concert lighting designer Rob Sinclair was part of the creative team for the Queen Extravaganza Tour, adding a flexible lighting rig with automated fixtures by Clay Paky and Martin Professional, programmed by Nook Schoenfeld on an MA Lighting grandMA console. Live Design chats briefly with Sinclair about the tour:
Please talk a little about your collaboration Ric Lipson and Mark Fisher at Stufish?
Working with Ric was fantastic and he's the only person I know who works longer hours than I do.
Mark was involved in the early stages directly, and less directly through the whole process. I've never met Mark before but it was great to get an insight into his methods. Roger Taylor from Queen was also very involved from the planning down to talking about individual cues in a very complex show.
What was the visual goal of the production and the lighting... large rock tour, something more theatrical?
We wanted to show a progression with club lighting becoming theatre becoming arena. We did this by holding back intentionally at the start of the show and gradually 'inventing' parts of the rig—rather like rewards for playing a game.
Queen’s music is both theatrical and rock, often at the same time and I hope the way the show is lit reflects the mood of the songs properly. Lighting is all about emotion, and using tricks for their own sake doesn't work.
Can you talk about the choice of the automated fixtures and when and how they are used?
We used Martin MAC Auras because they are small, bright, and could fit on a cramped stage floor, MAC 2000s because they are reliable workhorses and, as an older product, fairly cheap to rent and Clay Paky Sharpys because they are awesome.
What about your color palette... choices and why?
Roger Taylor told me that he had been waiting forever for a lighting rig in which everything could go one color: a frustration left over from the Par can era. We lit the songs with big, strong blocks of single colors.
Did you want the audience to feel as if they are at a Queen concert?
No. The band members are not impersonators. They are a great group of very talented players and singers who are making Queen's great music their own.
How do you adapt the show to all the various size venues on the tour?
I tried to make the design as flexible as possible. Ron Schilling and his great Upstaging crew of Wade Cotton and Benji Meserole are doing a fantastic job of squeezing it in to a variety of challenging venues.