Elation's Impression on the road with John Mayer

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

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USA - When John Mayer drew up plans for his 2008 summer tour, the singer-guitarist-songwriter expressed a strong desire to get back to his musical roots and make the show more "organic."

"On previous tours, we had video in the show," says lighting designer Michael Keller. "But John decided he was tired of doing video. We were going to go more straightforward rock 'n roll - the type of feeling where you're watching a band, not video. John wanted to keep everything very organic."

Keller, who has been Mayer's LD for three years, achieved the desired stage impression - and other organic benefits, too - with Elation Professional's Impression intelligent LED moving head. A small and compact, yet high-output, RGB colour-changing fixture, the Impression is the main lighting unit being used on the 30-city tour, which plays at 10,000-20,000-seat indoor and outdoor venues.

"You might think an LED is the opposite of what 'organic' is," noted Keller, "but the Impression is such a versatile fixture that you can get some very organic, true saturation colors with it." This marks the first time he has used LED-powered fixtures to light John Mayer's shows, added Keller, who initially discovered the Impression while visiting the Prockl Company, a lighting company in Europe. "I saw these little units and wondered, 'What are these?' Then I turned them on and it was like, wow, these things put out a lot of light."

Powered by 90 high-performance Luxeon K2 LEDs (30 each red, green and blue), each Impression unit delivers an output comparable to or exceeding a 575W discharge fixture. Yet, it's small enough to be mounted on a 14" centre and weighs a mere 16 lbs. It offers a 50% or better energy savings over traditional 575W fixtures, thanks to its high output of 60 lumens per watt.

Keller used a total of 34 Impressions on the Mayer set. Each of the six band positions is illuminated by four overhead units, two at the back and two on the sides. The remaining 10 units are mounted 8' high in a back row behind the band.

The LD reports he has been very impressed with the brightness and wide spectrum of RGB colors produced by the units. "I'm getting much more output and a better colour range than I ever could (with previous non-LED fixtures)," Keller said. "I have an audience focus, and the 24 (overhead) units are bright enough to light the majority of the audience, too."

(Jim Evans)

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