Robe on Starboy’s Legend of the Fall tour
Tuesday, 1 August 2017
robe-the-weekndThe tour is scheduled to continue for the rest of 2017 (photo: Steve Jennings)
USA/Europe - Canadian singer / songwriter The Weeknd is currently rocking plenty of style and enjoying success, critical acclaim, multiple awards and several hits from his chart-topping third studio album Starboy, propelling him a long way from his underground roots and early anonymous mixtapes uploaded to You Tube in 2010.
Lighting for 2017’s Starboy Legend of the Fall tour has been designed by Sooner Routhier who picked Robe Spikie moving lights together with BMFL Spots and WashBeams to be at the heart of the rig.
Sooner has worked with The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) since 2012. She and design business partner Robert Long of SRae Productions were contacted by his creative directors Lamar C Taylor and Drop last year and asked to assist with this tour, which involved lighting an impressively beautiful flown sculpture created by production designer, Es Devlin.
Much of the vibe of the show is dark, saturated and moody, and with projection also being central to bringing the powerful scenic centrepiece alive, the task of show lighting started with several brain-teasing challenges.
Nashville based Sooner – known for her fresh and inventive approach – enjoys challenges and thinking out-of-the-box.
She worked closely with lighting director on the road / associate LD Darien Koop on programming and evolving this one, while SRae Productions’ technical director Matt Geasey coordinated practical and physical aspects like integrating lighting with the set building process for a tourable solution.
The 80ft wide by 120ft long triangular structure constructed by TAIT is made out of 10 smaller triangles and eight trusses, all individually flown on multiple axes of automation, so it can transform into numerous different shapes. It resembles a huge, elegant origami-style jet-fighter and makes a massive architectural statement that defines the performance space.
The 55 x BMFL WashBeams are divided into different groups. Twenty-four in 12 pairs are rigged along the large double-truss central spine of the structure, providing high impact effects lighting and highlighting the gloss-finished runway below, which brings The Weeknd up close to his fans.
The rest of the BMFL WashBeams are on the grid flying above the structure, eight each positioned on the two long edges, with another eight towards the back of the grid where the triangular shape is widest. These produce colour, texture and some incredibly cool and spacey looking atmospheric engineering from above, outlining the structure and bringing a totally different dimension.
A single BMFL WashBeam sits upstage centre at the stage end of the runway and is used as a powerful beam to silhouette the artist.
The eight BMFL Spots are in four groups of two and used as follow spots. All eight of these BMFL Spot fixtures are operated using a BlackTrax remote system, triggered via the main lighting console. "They are brilliant for this application," stated Sooner.
Thirty-four of the 90 x Spikies are positioned along the structure’s back truss (traversing its full width) with the other 56 deployed on four angled internal 'fins'. They are a workhorse fixture for musical accents and other specials.
The structure’s shape is further accented with zoned LED strobes and outlined with LED battens. Upstage is the LED video wall and a truss full of moving lights at the top. There are also two side LED screens for IMAG.
As much of the lighting as possible is installed and travelled in pre-rigged truss, with four trucks dedicated just to double-stacked rows of PRT sections including all the Spikies and most of the BMFL WashBeams. Stage manager Rod van Egmond oversees the daily truck pack and makes sure the kit all gets transported safely show-to-show.
All the lighting and video kit is being supplied in North America and Europe by Solotech, project managed for them by Rob Kennedy.
Lighting crew chief Matt Lavallee is working alongside nine technicians, and there are six on the video crew including engineer Serge Bergeron. Head rigger is Chris Wilson, who supervises the 130 points needed each day to get the flown rig and the structure spot on. The tour is scheduled to continue for the rest of 2017.
(Jim Evans)

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