Rob Thomas on tour with all Elation rig
Friday, 31 May 2019
rob-thomaschip-tooth-tourjim-trocchio-photoRob Thomas opened his tour at the Count Basie Centre for the Arts in Red Bank, New Jersey (photo: Jim Trocchio)
USA - Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas just kicked off his solo Chip Tooth Tour with an all Elation lighting rig specified, designed and programmed by Benoit Richard.
Richard, who has worked with Matchbox Twenty since 2000 and has designed Rob Thomas’ first two solo tours, serves as production and lighting designer on the outing. Lighting vendor is Bandit Lites of Nashville with lighting direction and additional programming by Patrick Hayes.
“My goal has always been to deliver a visual experience that is very 'clean & classy' and also offers forward thinking ideas by using new and exciting lighting technologies,” comments Richard, who has created plenty of visually stunning moments in the show, reinforcing hits from Thomas’ solo career as well as a few songs from Matchbox Twenty. “The toughest part is to avoid repeating key gags and effects more than once to create the anticipation of ‘what’s coming next?’ Having a bunch of multi-purpose lights that are more than one-trick ponies though certainly helps.”
Richard’s choice of fixtures includes Elation’s new Rayzor 760, a compact wash LED luminaire with SparkLED technology that he incorporates as a key visual component of the show. “The Rayzor 760 is the anchor in my design,” he says. “This new luminaire is so versatile and looks great as a simple wash or as a specialty effect light. We are using 48 Rayzor fixtures and they are everywhere in the rig.”
The Rayzor 760’s SparkLED is a pixel effect of 2W white LEDs placed inside the fixture’s oversized front lenses that works as a sparkle effect and fresh way of creating interest and depth on stage. When asked if he incorporates SparkLED in his design, Richard commented, “I certainly do! Rob has a song called Her Diamonds which was an immediate source of inspiration for me when I saw the SparkLED feature.”
Although an all LED rig was the designer’s original thinking, he says that due to the wide variety of venues they play, especially outdoors, he chose the IP65-rated arc source Proteus Hybrid as his hard edge light.
Seeking another multi-faceted light that could take on a number of roles, the designer turned to the recently launched Protron Eclypse with flexible 4-in-1 functionality. “With the Protron Eclypse, once again the recurring theme is versatility,” he says.
Richard says when he designed the set for the tour he was looking for a compact pixelated backlight to place on the floor behind the band. He chose the Chorus Line 8 LED batten with zoom and convenient tilt axis movement, which he says reveals more and more of what it can do over the course of the show. Raking a stunning textured backdrop with light from above and below is another LED batten, the slim, 6-foot Colour Chorus 72.
Placed on the floor under ramps and risers to back light custom fabrics is another hybrid fixture, the Paladin strobe/wash/blinder, whose wide-angle zoom Richard says caught his attention right away. Finally, the set is lined with 12 custom runs of Acclaim Flex Tube Pixel RGB LED strips to accentuate the contours of the risers and ramps.
Supplying the lighting package for the tour is Bandit Lites, a vendor Richard has worked with since his time with YES and Dream Theater. “Michael Strickland and I have been great friends for many years and I knew they would be the perfect vendor for Rob’s tour in North America,” he said.
Rob Thomas’ North American run launched 28 May at the Count Basie Centre for the Arts in Red Bank, New Jersey. The tour will extend throughout the fall, wrapping up on 28 September in Napa Valley before a series of Australian shows in November 2019.
(Jim Evans)

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