Robe LIVE at Pretoria’s Sun Arena
Monday, 12 February 2018
robe-live-sun-arenaThe two sold-out arena shows were part of the band’s Reunion World Tour (photo: Sean Brand)
South Africa - Two concerts organised by AMP Events at the newly-opened, 10,000-capacity Sun Arena in South African capital Pretoria were chosen to record a live DVD for American rock band LIVE.
LIVE was one of the first bands to tour free South Africa in the mid-1990s after the end of apartheid, and have a loyal and enthusiastic fan base in the country.
The DVD shoot was designed and lit by LIVE’s LD, Synapse Design partner Graham Hicks using nearly 100 Robe fixtures which are part of the house rig. These are looked after by a team from SA production company, MGG, who provide the venue’s in-house technical services.
The two sold-out arena shows were part of the band’s Reunion World Tour, which saw the original line-up back together in 2017 after a lengthy hiatus, and has included a mix of headline dates and high profile festivals like Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, PinkPop and Ottawa Bluesfest, and sharing the stage with acts including Guns ‘n’ Roses, the Foo Fighters, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
These South African shows used a custom, one-off design, Graham explained: “The whole production design, from initial lighting and video plots to final content selection, is something we worked on with the band through the summer. They were great about laying out the elements that were important to them, and the way they wanted the show to feel, both on stage and in the crowd. That gave me a great launching point to draw the show around how the lighting and video need to play together to create that end-result.”
The final design used a variety of Robe fixtures: 24 Spiiders were distributed across the whole rig, washing the stage and band with intense and even colours.
12 BMFL Spots were the primary hard-edged fixtures, providing texture to the camera shots. Another 12 x BMFL WashBeams were split evenly between the mid stage and upstage trusses, providing a mix of tight beam effects and added camera wash.
The floor package included five BMFL Blades, placed upstage of the band for a combination of saturated back-lit wash looks, and gobo shots in conjunction with the BMFL Spots, as well as 12 x LEDForce PARs which were side-lighting the band from the wings.
Twenty-four LEDBeam 100s were rigged close together in a long row on the upstage truss, to create a wall of narrow beams behind the band.
For illuminated set pieces, Graham utilized 18 large-format 2000 Watt fresnels, with the rig completed with 6 blinders on the downstage truss and a dozen Atomic strobes scattered throughout the rig.
Audience lighting for the wider camera shots was provided by 16 x moving spot fixtures mounted on a pair of trusses flown above the crowd.
The combination of Spiiders and BMFLs was key to giving each part of the show a distinctive look, said Graham.
“It’s a huge asset to have spots, washes and beams that can all play together in a web of narrow, irised-in beams one minute, and then everything zooms out wide to give a deep, saturated wash the next. It’s great to be able to bring the whole rig into looks like that, instead of just leaving each look to rely on the one or two fixture types that can pull it off.”
A pair of MA2 consoles drove the lighting and the video content stored on a pair of custom-built Synapse Spark media servers running Resolume Arena. Graham balanced lighting and on-stage video levels from the MA2s at front of house, while coordinating closely with the team in the video trailer over comms.
The 9-camera shoot, and the worldwide pay-per-view special, were directed by Eban Olivier of Militia Broadcast.
Advance support for the show extended from South Africa to North America.
Graham explained, “I had to programme this show on days off from another tour, and our Christie Lites rep Mike Johnston was great about helping me set up a pre-viz suite in whatever Christie shop I was near at the time, even with the final DVD shoot happening five thousand miles from any of their locations.”
(Jim Evans)

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