American Idol’s successful North American tour commenced in July in Sunrise, FL and runs until September 23, when the tour closes in Manchester, NH.

Lighting designer Alex Reardon worked with Upstaging, Inc. to meet the various artistic demands of the show. The tour features the TV show American Idol’s “Final 10” contestants with the design process beginning, by necessity, long before the finalists were chosen. Thus, Reardon had to design the show based on themes rather than personalities. Furthermore, without knowing who the performers were, a certain “talent contingency” existed, placing even greater demands on the tour’s production aspects. Reardon specified a Kinesys motor control system to move the show’s lighting rig during the show, providing added design flexibility and also some unique effects.

“With a limited budget and high production value expectations,” says Reardon, “I decided that in order to give each theme of the show its own identifying section, I'd adapt the architecture of the show. Having used Kinesys on a number of different tours (including Duran Duran and the Dixie Chicks), I had a chance to use their new K2 software and went for it.”

Reardon adds, “I've previously been thrilled by the simplicity, speed of programming, accuracy, and reliability of the Vector software, but K2 is an even more intuitive platform. The graphic interface makes it so much easier to quickly get the exact look desired. We even used the effects engine to create the ‘spinning coin coming to rest’ effect—very impressive when you seen a ‘tumbling’ circular truss moving from its high trim down over the stage! Crew chief Tommy Green had not used it before, and was very quickly up to speed, so much so that within a few shows he'd taken on the additional task of calling spots. Dave Weatherhead of Kinesys came over from the UK to help all those at Upstaging get their heads into the new software, but everyone took to it so rapidly that he and I spent more time discussing the virtues of Aston Martins! All in all, another tour perfectly handled by Kinesys, K2, and Upstaging. Very impressed!”

Says Upstaging’s account rep John Bahnick, “We purchase Kinesys systems built to our specifications through TMB. The guys at Kinesys and TMB have been very helpful with training, customer service, and technical support. Overall, Kinesys software and systems are a cinch to use and extremely user-friendly.”