Bon Jovi Tour Builds Momentum for Claypaky and grandMA2 Stage Markers

BON JOVI © Steve Jennings

Bon Jovi rocked across North America with the band’s “This House Is Not For Sale Tour,” which kicked off in February in Greenville, South Carolina and wrapped in New York City in April. The tour’s complex staging featured Claypaky Scenius spots and a grandMA2 full-size console provided by PRG. grandMA2 now offers improved Stage Markers and XYZ tracking with new dynamic recalculation for focus points and physical lighting fixtures.

“This House Is Not For Sale” was in support of Bon Jovi’s eponymous 13th studio album released last fall. It was the first to feature Hugh McDonald and Phil X as full-time band members. The tour picked up the album’s theme with a set featuring a stylised house under construction.

“The tour represented the next chapter of Bon Jovi,” said Spike Brant, the show’s creative producer and designer and CEO of Nimblist. “It was a dynamic show – a nod to old fashioned rock ’n roll with a fine art, metaphorical abstractness. Nothing about the design was fake, and with no fascia, the machines became the tools to tell the story.”

“Not many shows use this much motion to create a sense of structure,” noted Joe Bay, LD and programmer. “The show kicks off by building a house from truss and towers – very powerful and expressive – and throughout the show, we construct various abstract versions of the house. With this amount of automation driven from a console, we needed to use grandMA2. And with the incredible power of Stage Markers, it expanded our creative possibilities.” The Bon Jovi tour was among the first rock ’n’ roll tours to implement the new and improved Stage Markers, which were introduced in the current v.3.2 software.

“Bon Jovi has been using MA for almost ten years now,” said Brant. “The last tour really tested grandMA2’s ability to talk to the TAIT Navigator system for motion control. On this tour grandMA2 acted as the show controller, working with Navigator and video playback. We really pushed the limits of Stage Markers!”

One grandMA2 with three active NPUs drove the show’s automation, lighting and video. The lighting rig’s moving pieces included 12 hex towers surrounding the stage that telescoped up to 30 feet in the air “to give a raw steel look to the set pieces while also carrying lighting,” said Bay. Fifteen yoyo winches bordered the stage for lighting fixtures; six automated trusses were overhead. Five roll-drop, front-projection screens displayed video content while several LED walls supplied IMAG for the rear seating.

“The rig was very complex, and each song would have a unique shape,” Bay explained. “Previously, we would need to create a specific focus per configuration. But using Stage Markers and XYZ positions on the desk meant that I could reuse tracking focuses and they would work throughout the show – regardless of the configuration of the rig. It saved hours of programming and enabled us to create never-before-seen looks. And all this happened in the background for a seamless audience experience.”

“Some songs were very heavily reliant on tracking.” Bay noted. “Wanted Dead or Alive really showed off Stage Markers in action. Throughout the song, Scenius fixtures would constantly track the guitar solo, as the rig would take a new shape. This was something that wasn’t at all possible before.”

The show used 36 active Scenius spots on the moving trusses.

“As a programmer, I really like them. They look great in the air, and can do a lot of things very fast.” added Bay.

A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of Claypaky fixtures and grandMA2 consoles in North America.