The Who move on with Astera
Friday, 12 July 2019
astera-the-who-peterednu-photo-william-snyderThe Who move on (photo: William Snyder)
UK - Lighting designer Tom Kenny specified 42 Astera Titan Tubes as part of the lighting rig for The Who’s Moving On! tour.
The iconic band is playing 31 dates in the US, Canada and England accompanied by a local orchestra conducted by Keith Levinson, plus special guests including violinist Katie Jacoby and cellist Audrey Snyder. The tour is also promoting The Who’s first new album in 13 years.
The orchestral presentation demanded a new style and approach to the visual design. With Roger Daltry against the idea of deploying a video wall at the back - or in fact, any onstage video elements - there was a clear directive to strip back and encourage audiences to focus on the show.
The backdrop is made up from a silver threaded laser fabric, a beautifully textured surface that takes the lighting well. Meanwhile, a curved, mid-stage drape made from Bule and supplied by Atomic Design flies in and out on TAIT winches for the sections of the show, where The Who are featured in full flow.
“Lighting-wise I wanted something new, innovative and different that could help create plenty of drama and that’s what is happening with the Asteras,” says Kenny.
The Tubes are run wirelessly and are dotted along the orchestra risers in three rows in between the musicians, which can be between 40 and 50 people each day according to the orchestra.
There is no smoke or haze during the shows, so ‘standard’ beamy lighting looks are also not very visible, meaning there is a lot of emphasis on the Titan effects punctuating and accenting the music.
Mounted on neat floor stands and needing no cabling, the Astera fixtures are quick and easy to deploy in a busy space and ideal for the creative task that Kenny anticipated.
His design is a mix of slow and subtle, fluid movements through to manic strobing chases, which the LD uses to highlight specific breakdowns and parts of songs as the band ‘blast’ through the set, picking their greatest hits together with teasers of the new music.
The Who have performed in some baseball and football stadiums “and the tubes have stayed solid and never fallen over in strong wind,” says Kenny.
The Titan Tubes are supplied to tour via PRG, VER and Showcat. They are run via grandMA2 console running all show lighting, which was programmed by Fuji and is being operated by Jim Mustapha on the road. The lighting crew chiefs were Iestyn Thomas and Looch Ciampara from PRG.
(Jim Evans)

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