Robe on the road with Westlife
Tuesday, 6 August 2019
robe-westlife-2019-tour-wes062209295The first leg of the tour culminated in two sold out nights at Dublin’s Croke Park (photo: Louise Stickland)
UK - Westlife are back after a seven-and-a-half-year hiatus, with a new production for the 20 Tour ahead of their much-anticipated new album, Spectrum.
One hundred and forty-eight Robe MegaPointes were prominent on the touring lighting rig - specified by lighting designer Tom Sutherland.
The first leg of the tour culminated in two sold out nights at Dublin’s Croke Park stadium playing to 170,000 fans. The gig was streamed live to cinemas worldwide.
Tom Sutherland of DX7 Design is part of a new creative team. He was asked onboard by show producer / director Brian Burke, and the two combined forces to create the production design that is supporting Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan, Mark Feehily and Shane Filan on the 20 Tour.
The performance space is defined by a large 70ft wide video screen upstage - which splits in two horizontally - and a full video floor, with columns of side and top lighting making up a large and dynamic box. Upstage at the back was a flying platform running the whole stage width, and several of the lighting trusses that also moved.
With musicians stationed just in front of the left and right stage wings, there was a totally clean space for the group to use, and the emphasis was all on the four of them, supported by slick video treatments and classy matched lighting looks.
Tom specified MegaPointes to be the principal hard-edged and effects fixtures, chosen for their brightness and versatility which enabled him to create a series of perfect ‘fun factors’ for the colourful, upbeat extravaganza of movement and texturing.
“MegaPointes are my favourite fixtures right now,” he commented. They were also running four Robe RoboSpot BaseStations remotely controlling 16 BMFL WashBeams which were operated by some of the truck drivers.
The total lighting fixture count for the tour was over 700 - including three different types of LED batten - all supplied by Southampton UK based touring lighting rental company, Liteup.
Overstage were nine angled trussing ‘fingers’ all on Kinesys automation, each one loaded with 12 MegaPointes plus strobes and outlined in LED battens. These shifted subtly into different positions throughout the two-and-a-half-hour show changing the architecture of the space.
Another row of MegaPointes upstage at the back punched through when the screen split, with the other 24 underneath the stage lift for beaming across the stage and audience when it rose during the acoustic section.
The RoboSpot system was tech’d by Mike Rothwell, who is also an experienced lighting programmer. Four BMFL WashBeams were rigged on the back truss as back spots - one per band member - with three each per band member, 12 in total on the front truss. All 16 units were working with separate motion cameras.
Liteup also supplied all the rigging, motors and 34 Kinesys points, with the account managed by Gordon Torrington.
Lighting control was all grandMA2, programmed by Tom and Martin Higgins. The touring camera director was Billy Robinson
Many people were involved in the video creation which was co-ordinated by content design producer Sveta Yermolayeva of interactive media production specialists Sila Sveta & Helen Spencer from The Field TV. The Notch and 3D design elements were created and produced by Northhouse Design.
Production manager Mark Wade is keeping everything in order on the road and Andy Proudfoot teaming up with Chris Vaughn oversaw the production into Croke Park.
The tour continues next in Asia, and Westlife’s new album is released on 8 November.
(Jim Evans)

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