Craig David travels far and wide with Robe
Friday, 17 June 2022
robe-craig-david-dsc03725The timeline moved through sunrise, daytime, and dusk (photo: Daniel Richardson)
UK - Designer Daniel Richardson, working for international creative practice Sinclair Wilkinson (Rob Sinclair & Andrew Wilkinson) took the role of production designer for Craig David’s recent Hold That Thought UK tour. The scope of his work included a full stage, scenic, lighting and video design, plus content direction for the star’s acclaimed tour that was rescheduled from 2020.
Richardson’s spec included Robe moving lights - BMFL Spots, BMFL Blades and a four-way RoboSpot remote follow system - which were supplied by lighting vendor Neg Earth. Matt Arthur went out on the tour as lighting director and operator.
Craig David himself was very much involved in the show creation, explained Richardson. He shared his initial ideas with Rob Sinclair and Daniel back in 2019, who refined these into workable touring options from which a concept was chosen and developed.
Plans were then halted due to the pandemic and in this time the artist produced a wealth of new music.
During a production meeting in February of this year to get the tour re-started: “Craig indicated that he wanted to involve scenic elements in the show and loved the idea of having some real foliage on stage,” explained Richardson.
Taking the new 22 album artwork as inspiration, he and the team reimagined and reworked the stage design to capture the essence of all these fresh aspects. In the album, Craig is a journeyman, travelling through different lands, his previous homes in Miami to his present one in London.
With this in mind, a ‘real’ moon on a Kinesys hoist system was added, together with the LED ‘neon’ 22 signs plus some real palm trees and other foliage.
A strong narrative arc underpinned the whole show which started at night-time with David under a moonlit sky, complete with the 4m diameter scenic moon and twinkling stars. The timeline moved through sunrise, daytime, and dusk and back to the night, moving through three distinctive sections.
Fundamental to creating the right overall show setting were some real palm trees and other foliage, plus some scenic sand dunes made by Hangman were included in the set elements which looked spectacular. Daniel also commissioned the video content from Really Creative Media (RCM), and all this scenic and digital intricacy and detail needed very careful lighting.
He chose BMFL Spots and Blades for the hard-edged fixtures - adding 35 x BMFL Spots and 16 BMFL Blades to the plot - because he needed a powerful, multifunctional, and reliable fixture. “They were in action constantly throughout the show and are a solid workhorse,” he commented.
Two wing trusses each side of stage were each rigged with five BMFL Spots, and these 20 BMFLs were primary lightsources for the TS5 section, pumping vibrance, energy, infectious dance beats and the atmos of heady summer nights out into the arena, also helping to expand the area around David’s DJ booth and ensuring there were no dark spots.
They were joined by a row of 15 BMFL Spots on the floor at the back shooting powerful beams forward.
The BMFLs on the wing trusses also provided back and side lighting on the palm trees and even at the lower levels, they emphasised their three dimensionality and helped them pop out, adding plenty of depth to the performance space.
Adding in gobos to the BMFLs also helped light and through-light the palms effectively.
The 16 BMFL Blades were all on the front truss as “they are a great key and front light and we needed intensity (of light) from these positions.” Daniel notes the usefulness of the shutters in accurately highlighting the palm trees and other foliage, and he thinks they make excellent follow spots.
Four of the front BMFL Blades were on the four RoboSpot systems, two dedicated to following Craig David closely, with the other two on standby for solos and other specials including band positions and the palm trees.
In addition to these luminaires, also on the rig were quantities of wash moving lights, pixel fixtures and strobes.
Lighting was programmed onto a grandMA2 console by Daniel over 10 days starting in his own studio in London ahead of production rehearsals in Nottingham Arena, two days before the first show in the same venue.
IMAG camera feeds were sent to the left-and-right side screens, directed by Jamie Cowlin, and keeping everything co-ordinated and running smoothly on the road was production manager Joel Stanley.

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