Blackburn UK based lighting and visuals company HSL supplied Lighting Designer Neil Carson with full lighting production for chart topping, Brit Award winning singer songwriter Emeli Sandé’s most recent UK tour, together with a ‘specials’ package for the European section.
Carson – who has worked with HSL on several previous projects including Chase & Status – was instrumental in getting the company on-board, where the account was project managed by Mike Oates.
Says Carson, “I wanted a lighting supplier that I knew could deliver the best quality kit, crew and attitude – HSL were my first choice”.
Sandé’s meteoric career trajectory which includes some interesting and inventive collaborations - has included three number one singles and a number one album ‘Our Version of Events’ in the last two years and she performed at both Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the London Olympics.
Mike Oates comments, “It was great to work with Neil again on another new and exciting artist. As usual, he came up with a stylish design fusing quirkiness and simplicity that looked really cool!”
The design was based on three trusses and primarily Robe moving lights – a combination of ROBIN 600E Spots and Washes – 35 in total, which were spread across the trusses, together with seven of Robe’s ColorWash 750E AT Tungstens.
Using these fixtures, especially the smaller, lighter brighter ROBINs, enabled Carson to use smaller trussing, which all helped in saving space for an extremely challenging truck pack!
Carson’s initial brief was that the lighting should help make the show more personal, intimate and focused on Sandé and her captivating performance. It was really important that there were no visual distractions, and that the raw emotion of her music was at the centre of attention.
The ColorWash 750E AT Tungstens were rigged on the front truss and used to key light Sandé and the six piece band.
On the deck, Carson positioned eight Martin MAC Viper profiles along the back of the stage, plus six GLP Impression LED washes, used for side lighting Sande and adding low level cross-stage general colouring.
There were also eight single floor PARs dotted around to augment the side lighting, all run in open white adding a nice flourish of tungsten warmth.
Right upstage were three Nova Flower effects – used for specific accents and punctuation points – and behind these, the back comprised a custom drape bearing Sandé’s name.
A total of 21 x vertically orientated Showtec active Sunstrips were strategically placed across the three trusses adding architecture and form to the stage look and utilised for lifts and punches for selected choruses.
Boosting the ambience were 30 individual over-size light bulbs, each attached to a different length run of TRS hanging down ‘randomly’ from two of the trusses via outrigged drop-bars.
HSL also supplied two Robert Juliat Ivanhoe follow spots, and Carson was joined on the road by HSL technicians Mark Callaghan and Steve Bliss, “They were brilliant,” he comments.
Carson controlled all the lighting on a Chamsys MagicQ 100 desk with a Wing, which he found great for doing the daily cloning and morphing of moving lights when using house rigs in Europe.
For these European shows – a mixture of clubs and theatres - the only space available for any lighting kit to be carried was a corner of the backline trailer, just enough to accommodate the 30 hanging bulbs, a small dimmer and the console. These were added in to whatever house system was available at each venue.
Says Carson, “HSL did a fantastic job! The company is large enough to have all the kit you might want and personal enough to have real integrity and care. Mike’s passion for the job and the industry is truly amazing!”