The BMFL Spots are the only hard-edged fixture on the rig (photo: Brent Sandrock)
USA - Barry Manilow is in the midst of a memorable and extensive 'Farewell' US tour for which creative director Seth Jackson specified 12 x Robe BMFL Spots as part of an elegant and stylish design to help ensure the legendary artist exits an incredible performance career on a high note.

Manilow, one of the most prolific and successful singer/songwriters and producers is also celebrating 40 years at the top in show business.

Seth has enjoyed a long-standing working relationship with the artist dating back to 1998 when he started as a 'fill-in guy'. Over that remarkable 27 years, he's also taken on the lighting, set and production designer roles, and has enjoyed the various challenges of creating fresh and invigorating performance environments each time.

Knowing the tour was approaching, Seth 'auditioned' 10 x BMFL Spots during the Austin City Limits Music Festival towards the end of 2014 and was "immediately sold" on using them.

The tour design does not feature a 'big lightshow' look as they wanted to avoid all the clichés of a 'rock concert'. Instead they chose a sumptuous theatre-referenced look, with lots of red velour draping, warm wood trims and the trusses completely concealed, "It gives the stage an energy that's more unusual in a standard world of grey carpets and truss toners," he remarked.

The BMFL Spots are the only hard-edged fixture on the rig and are positioned on the overhead trusses and used from the front to wash the stage area and from further back as down and rear lighters. They cover multiple needs from general color washes to gobo texturing to animation effects: "Incredibly versatile," says Seth.

"The flexibility of the BMFL Spot is remarkable. From tight beams to washes, terrific color mixing and the speed and brightness of the fixture, they are helping me cover a lot of ground with only a few units."

In addition to the BMFL Spots, there are also 10 of Robe's little LEDBeam 100s on the floor, used for punchy beam effects to help fill out the larger effects. "For their tiny footprint, they add enormous depth and scale to the space," comments Seth. Ten Robin CycFX 8s are positioned upstage to color the soft goods and scenic elements.

Thirty-six Anolis ArcDots are used to line the centre stage runway which allows Manilow to get right in amongst his fans.

The most difficult element of lighting this tour has been preparing for the vast back catalogue of music available for Manilow to play onstage. The artist himself is integrally involved in every aspect of the process of developing the show's concepts and technical elements and always has the highest expectations from everyone on the creative team.

Nathan is running the lighting from a grandMA2 ultra light console and the equipment is being supplied by Bandit Lites, crewed by Jeff Archibech and Carter Harris.

This tour is project managed for Bandit - one of the first rental companies to invest in Robe's new signature fixture - by Michal Golden, who says, "We're extremely happy with the performance of the BMFL Spots." The company is also actively working on a number of other projects with them.

(Jim Evans)

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