Country come to town in South Dakota
Monday, 21 June 2021
toby-keithToby Keith’s tour kicked off at the Denny Sanford Premier Centre in Sioux Falls
USA - Toby Keith kicked off his Country Comes To Town tour at the Denny Sanford Premier Centre in Sioux Falls, SD on Thursday May 20.
Stepping onto the stage, the country superstar became the first major artist to embark on a tour since the start of the pandemic 14 months earlier. For the happy fans in attendance that night, Keith’s appearance represented not only a chance to enjoy live music again, but a reunion with an old and treasured friend.
“The connection with the audience has always been a big part of who Toby is,” said Seth Jackson of Darkroom Creative, who along with his partner, Nathan Alves handled the lighting, video and production design for the multi-city tour. “From the earliest days of his career, Toby has developed an especially close rapport with fans, doing things like bringing soldiers on stage to express his gratitude for their service, and arranging surprise deployed soldier reunions during his shows.”
In recent years, Keith’s shows have featured a T-shaped runway to allow him greater opportunities to interact with the crowd. For Country Comes To Town, his design team took things a step further, creating a diamond shape runway with a pit that includes a full bar in the centre, and other “party pits” around its perimeter – all intended to bring the artist and his fans closer together for their long awaited post-lockdown reunion.
Enhancing the warm, familiar mood of the evening, was an inviting lighting and video design that featured Chauvet Professional Maverick MK3 Spot, Rouge R2X Wash and Nexus 4x4 fixtures. Like the rest of the lighting rig, these units were supplied by Bandit Lites, the tour’s key supplier, along with MooTV, and Gallagher Staging.
Operated by LD Eddie “Bones” Connell, the light show served up generous helpings of broad audience sweeps, bold immersive colours and a warm white ambience glow from the Nexus 4x4 panels around the fan pits adjacent to the stage.
“We tried to be intentional with every moment in our show,” said Alves. “Every fixture, every LED tile, every effect was there to celebrate the relationship between Toby and his fans. I think the past year has made this personal connection more valuable to our audiences. We’re trying to lean into that from a design standpoint across all our clients at Darkroom Creative.”
Along with its classic looks, the lightshow also projected a bold, unflinching tone, reflective of Keith’s own determination to stand tall during the pandemic. “Nathan, Bones and I decided early on to push everything to heavy primary colours and colour corrections, while keeping the pastels to a minimum,” said Jackson. “Even before the pandemic, this tour was going to have a bit of an edge and an attitude to it – we wanted to enforce that visually as well.”
Helping to project this distinctive outlook were the 10 Maverick MK3 Spot fixtures in the rig. “The MK3s were our heavy gunners,” said Jackson. “They are big, bold and are great at filling underneath everything. They basically hold everything together due to their brightness and thick beam.”
Key to ensuring the smooth flow of video and lighting are the rig’s 20 Rogue R2X Wash fixtures. “We needed the punch to get above video walls, while still have fixtures that were small enough to fit inside our custom touring carts,” said Jackson.

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