LD Patrick Marks has found the Avolites Diamond 4 lighting console’s Fixture Exchange facility a lifesaver during the band Status Quo’s extensive summer festival-style tour.

He’s touring his own console everywhere and picking up a variety of local productions across the UK and Europe. The schedule also encompassed a three-week Swedish tour with lighting sound and trucking all supplied by Copenhagen-based Nordic.

Having the D4 and using Fixture Exchange has not only meant, “No more re-programming shows on sunny afternoons with no time,” says Marks, it’s also saved him from worrying about whether the fixtures for the day are Martin, Robe, Vari*Lite. Whatever they are, his show remains the same.

Marks converted to the D4 at the beginning of the summer after many years of running Status Quo’s show on a Diamond 3. Now he’s using the D4 and the very latest software versions, which refine Avo’s dynamic Fixture Exchange facility even further. He’s delighted with the results, “It’s absolutely rock solid, and has done more than I ever expected. It’s quick, user-friendly, hugely flexible, and really makes for a stress-free day on any festival tour.”

He actually has 12 different shows stored in the desk, and can choose the closest one to the day’s rig, wherever he happens to be and with whatever kit to recall all his positional and palette information and all cues and programmed effects.

He also saves each show to his USB key (there’s capacity of 80 on one key) for additional security. This further enables him to edit and program on his laptop using the Avolites Visualiser and the D4 Virtual Panel.

He visited Avolites’ West London HQ for two days before the tour kicked off to convert the summer show from D3 to D4 and also to get the feel of the D4. An Avo user for many years, he says of the console, “The ergonomics are great – really comfortable to use and work on. I didn’t need any formal training on it, picking up the basics in about 10 minutes, and from there, it’s either really obvious where to go or the console prompts you what to do next.”

Quo’s summer festival touring rig is based on four straight trusses with four floor-mounted vertical sections of truss at the back. For the Swedish tour, the trusses were all trimmed at different heights – with the front being at 30 feet – headroom permitting – and the back 16 feet high. This enhanced the general spatiality and perceived depth of the stage.

As always with Mark’s rigs, every lamp has to work hard. The rig consists of twelve 6-lamp PAR 64 bars, eight strings of ACLs (i.e. 16 bars of four), eight Source Four key lights, four 4-lite and ten 2-lite audience blinders, 20 Martin MAC 700s and six MAC 600 washes, not a large rig for the stages and audiences they are playing, which range from 3,000 to 8,000.

The moving lights are the element that changes most frequently, and so far this has swapped many times between different types of MACs, Vari*Lites, and Robes – all dealt with by Fixture Exchange.

Other D4 functions he’s finding really useful include the shortcuts for calling up pages and the fact that pages can be assigned to preset buttons. He’s also using the cue and fixture Move and Copy functions extensively. “This is one of the most flexible, powerful and easy to use desks on the market right now and I love it!” he concludes.

Marks is joined on the FOH platform by sound engineer Andy May, and Quo’s monitors are being mixed by Tim Franklin.

Quo are currently scheduled to be touring until Christmas.