Pearl Expertise for James
Buckley has worked for the band for the last 18 years. They hit the road again after a substantial break, with a new album due out later in the year. These initial gigs were to test the water and interest in their loyal fan-base, which has very much proved to be still bubbling for them even after this substantial break.
Buckley has owned Avolites desks for some years and has always been a fan of the brand, and particularly a Pearl fan, right from the outset. When this came up, and he was asked onboard, he seized it as a great opportunity to test out the new Pearl Expert console. "It was the perfect tool for this type of show, he says.
He received no specific creative brief for the James show, other than the fact that - as with all artists on the road today - they expected a bigger and better production than that of the last tour at the end of 1990s.
The tour was playing a full variety of venues - from Academies to the Manchester Evening News Arena - which was sold out. With practicality to the fore, Buckley designed a modular rig that could be added to for the larger shows, without too much reprogramming.
As has always been the case with James, the set list changed dramatically each night, so the best way to run the shows was to busk them - again ideal circumstances for the Pearl Expert, he says.
"I think the split roller is pure genius," says Buckley "It's great for 'mixing and matching'." He maximises the facility by running all his moving lights on one side of the roller and all the generics on the other.
The rest of the lighting equipment was supplied by Neg Earth. The standard version of the rig consisted of two 40ft trusses (increasing to three at 60ft for the arenas). The moving lights were a mix of High End Systems X-Spots (16 in the standard set up and 30 for the arenas) spread over all trusses, and these were also used as projectors onto an upstage cyc.
There were 14 Atomic strobes, used strategically on a couple of numbers, plus PARs, plus 20 Source Four profiles and 20 Source Four Parnels with the new ChromaQ Plus scrollers. Then there were 8 "Fag-Pods", consisting of 9-lite DWEs with an atomic strobe in the middle and a large scroller covering the whole fixture.
All of this was controlled by the Pearl Expert. Buckley is pleased with his investment, commenting, "It's a Pearl, therefore I knew it would be a good experience."