Ayrton picked for Shawn Mendes tour
Tuesday, 23 April 2019
ayrton© Ralph Larmann The rose is the icon of the tour
World - Shawn Mendes: The Tour hit the road at the beginning of March on a nine-month world tour under a lighting rig which comprises Ayrton Khamsin-S, Ayrton Bora-S and Ayrton Mistral-S fixtures as the major components.
LD Louis Oliver avoided the use of followspots or remote tracking as part of his design intent for the show, choosing instead to work with Ayrton fixtures to provide key lights for the young Canadian singer, and carve out dramatic backdrops with creative back, top and side light.
“We wanted to keep the performance space organic, allowing the technology to hide in the background,” he says. “With the design, we wanted to craft bold environments for Shawn to perform within. We tested the new Ayrton fixtures and found they could compete with anything else on the market. Ayrton has created a range of LED fixtures you can use without compromise.”
The performing area is a 40ft wide circular stage with steps downstage left and right leading to wide, open 26ft-30ft wings. This gives a 280° line of sight to audiences in most venues, and the front seats curve around the stage to bring them as close as possible to the artist. The set is overhung by a large disc shaped video screen and echoed by five curved sets of trusses hanging in a massive upstage void, all of which move on Kinesys motors.
The 78 Khamsin-S profile units are the workhorses of the show, rigged on three motorised trusses upstage of the performance area, and on the curved front- and B-stage trusses, in addition to five units strategically placed around the stage. Each of the upstage trusses and the front truss carry 15 to 21 Khamsin-S units which are used as key light and to create a multitude of atmospheric looks, effects and gobo textures to frame and enhance the performance space.
“Each song has its own colour tone and is very identifiable by this and the looks created by the position of the trusses and lighting / visual arrangement,” says Oliver. “The songs are musically and visually complementary with varying pastel colours. It’s great that the Khamsin and Bora can produce these subtle colours.”
Overhead, a rectangular mothergrid supports a circular framed LED screen and two Khamsin-S fixtures located in the centre - the only lighting directly above the stage - which are used solely for back pick up. Three additional Khamsin-S are located at stage level - one at the bottom of the central staircase to light Mendes’ big statement entrance, and one on the far edges either side of the stage to provide harsh cross light on Mendes.
Sixteen Bora-S wash fixtures are treated as floor package but are actually rigged on floor-based pre-rig truss upstage of the main stage, from which position they are used as backlighting and for aerial effects. “The Bora are extremely versatile,” says Oliver. “They provide a very noticeable source of backlight for Shawn and the band. Where the units are positioned allows them to remain out of sight until outputting. They are a fantastic complement to the Khamsin, with a larger lens and varying frost filters. Using them both provides a cohesive lighting rig.”
Ayrton plays a large part on the circular B-stage in the centre of the arena which is overhung with a circular truss. From this, four Khamsin-S are individually attached to lightlocks which can then move through vertical space via custom winches to create shapes around Mendes. In addition to this highly original key light on Mendes, these Khamsin also serve as additional audience lighting and add dynamic interest during the VT breaks.
The B-stage set-up is completed by 8 Mistral-S spot fixtures sited on floor shelves to deliver effects and textures on the floor during Mendes’ piano break, acting as additional lighting on the audience and during VT moments as a more subtle alternative to audience blinders. “The whole look is more organic to match and complement the spirit of the show, and involves the audience without detracting from the action on onstage,” says Oliver.
The B-Stage’s spectacular centre-piece is a giant LED rose sculpture which reflects the album cover artwork. “We discovered early on that Khamsin has a rose gobo as standard. This was a welcome surprise as the rose is the icon of tour,” says Oliver. “It was the most used gobo in the show and we didn’t need to make 80 custom gobos!”

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