1066 Touring and RCM look back on James Arthur’s Bitter Sweet Love Tour

Following a sold-out UK and European tour, Tour Manager, Alex Howell and Really Creative Media reflect on the Middlesbrough artist’s most ambitious production to date.

Having begun his stint with James Arthur at the end of 2018, Tour Manager, Alex Howell of 1066 Touring and a core team have worked together across multiple global campaigns since then and 2024s Bitter Sweet Love Tour was no different. “This run felt and operated like the pre-COVID-19 shows, which was brilliant,” noted Howell. “The pandemic brought so much uncertainty for the industry for such a long time, so it is good to be back to normal and doing what we enjoy.”

Kicking off his tour in Hamburg in January, the artist wrapped up the European leg at The O2 arena in London on 22 March – an impressive feat for all involved. “James wanted to step everything up with his live show so that he created a memorable experience for his fans,” Howell continued. “With this came huge complexities when we stripped everything back – all aspects of the show were elevated from staging to video to audio and SFX.”

Boasting a noble 170,000 tickets sold across nine weeks, Howell had support from Production Manager, Pete Hutchison who was involved in the creative design alongside Ed Croft from Mangata Collective. Ox Event House joined returning suppliers: Solotech, Adlib, BPM SFX, Phoenix Bussing, Tour Solutions, Popcorn Catering, Really Creative Media (RCM) and Mangata Collective. In charge of video, RCM adopted an approach that employed Unreal Engine to generate real-time 3D environments that were then mixed with 2D live camera feeds.

Video Designer, Alex Vipond commented: “We worked closely with Mangata Collective to utilise the screen shape. Recent fast-paced developments within Unreal Engine opened exciting creative opportunities for us, which means we can make live changes in a 3D world instantaneously throughout the performance processes. Unreal Engine has high-end colour grading that gives us more accurate control over the output than traditional editing and effects software.” RCM Creative Director, Jack Fox said: “This show truly breaks new ground and looks fabulous thanks to the close collaboration with our team.”

Words: Alicia Pollitt

Photos: Luke Dyson