Amy Shark’s Cry Forever tour kicked of Australia kicked off in Newcastle, Australia in July, marking one of the first arena tours in the nation following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tour is the Gold Coast local’s most ambitious live undertaking yet in some of the largest venues Australia has to offer and it was down the lighting designer Tim Beeston to create a show that looked big on a budget with a quick turnaround time.
“All of the design tricks had to be deployed and our suppliers delivered a high amount of value for a carefully balanced expenditure,” he laughed. “What we did use, I feel we used pretty well. The show had no content-driven video element which always makes an arena-size show more demanding to design.”
Chameleon Touring Systems supplied the eclectic lighting rig of Robe, Martin, GLP, CHAUVET Professional and Portma fixtures with a design centered around 15 Robe BMFL WashBeams.
“They’re the first truly multi-functional, bi-functional light that I have used,” he said. “The animator, air effect gobos and wide or narrow beam dispersion make them a great tool. With the budget in mind, instead of twenty spots and twenty washes, I engaged with fifteen BMFL WashBeams. Plus the 40000 lumens they deliver means you can carry through into deeply saturated colours and not lose out in brightness.”
He added: “I also had thirty Robe MegaPointes that have beautiful prism effects. Again, as a hybrid, you can blow it out into a spot add two gobos and a prism and the intensity is all still there. Slightly saturate the colour and it all punches through, pull it back into a beam and you get a crisp, sharp beam with a wide-body coming off the larger front lens.”
Upstage was five Kinesys pods each holding four CHAUVET Professional Aw Nexus 7×7 that have been used on previous designs and were an important element to carry through to this tour. During the show, they move to six different positions with four songs featuring automation in the chorus builds. On each of the pods were five Robe MegaPoints, three GLP JDC-1 fixtures and topped with four Sunstrips.
Mid-stage was the Amy Shark sign that was central to the show and was constructed by Thomas Creative. It comprised of a 24-volt RGBW LED neon on black ACM with a mill-finished aluminium surround on which there are diffusers to diffuse the light. The size had to suit all venues and it also had to be festival-friendly for in the future.
Downstage are two flown chevron-shaped trusses with the one closest to the stage housing Sunstrip Actives and ten Robe MegaPointes for some dappling onstage and top fill. The other is also lined with Sunstrips and houses eight Robe BMFL Blades for all of the pickups done with framing to avoid stage pollution.
Eight Martin by Harman MAC Viper Profiles were used as edge-wrap for Amy on stage left and right from where they could give her a back-edge for all of the Instagram photos every show produces.
“On phone cameras, you need enough light to capture what they’re trying to shoot whilst not over-exposing her,” added Beeston. “It’s become an important part of lighting design nowadays as every show is immediately posted on Instagram. It’s tricky to do well and still deliver a great entertainment lighting show.”
On the floor, upstage are eight Robe BMFL Spots for a big, punchy upstage push whilst 22 Robe Spikies were located around the front fascias of the three risers filling the gap between Amy and her band.
“It’s the first time I’ve deployed Spikies in an arena and I was concerned that they might not be bright enough,” commented Beeston. “However they turned out to be the perfect fixture for when you do an audience hit zooming right out to a nice soft source, they are a great little light.”
Successfully filling the void created by having no video element were the moving pods and also a line of 24 Martin by Harman Sceptron towers, of varying heights, stretching across the stage behind the band with each tower topped by a Portman P3 and half of them also housing a GLP JDC-1.
“In a very abstract way, it’s meant to be shark fins,” clarified Beeston. “Normally I’d top each tower with a duet or molefay but with the Portman P3s, you can run them to full brightness pointing at the audience without hurting their eyeballs! It’s bright but soft at the same time.”
Beeston describes the 44 Sunstrip Actives as bright yet gentle and although they have been around for years, sometimes the old things just work best! He added that a strip of four uses 40 channels and you can run some nice looking effects through. This was the first Amy Shark tour where control moved to MA Lighting grandMA2; a full-size console and three NPUs.
“I have been using an MA2 for the past six months whilst working on the movie Thor so switching from the Chamsys wasn’t a problem,” said Beeston. “It’s great to timecode on and makes festival life easy as everyone has MA2s or MA3s. For the Sceptrons, I’m using Madrix with Madrix to the Martin P3 controller, pixel-mapped in DMX mode resulting in 60 universes of DMX control for the Sceptron. I think the Volumetric Effects Generator in Madrix provides higher-quality lighting effects for something like Sceptron than having to create custom content for each song that would need to be sent via DVI out of VJ software. For me, it makes it more of a light than a video element.”
Four Robe BMFL Spots with two RoboSpot control systems were used for followspots.
“The creative direction from the client stated that they don’t like the FOH spot look and to be honest, neither do I,” said Tim. “What you end up doing is flattening out your subject and losing all definition. With the RoboSpots, I was able to light Amy properly and I enjoyed using them. Lewis Gersbach from Chameleon did a great job with the tennis balls getting the stage position correct. Being able to plot two fixtures to one controller gave great flexibility.”
Effects were a couple of JEM ZR44 foggers and two MDG theOne with Tim amazed at how quickly the venue could fill with fog.
The Chameleon crew comprised Lewis Gersbach, Levi Boes, Graham Walker, David Goldstein and Andrew ‘SOS’ Ritchie.
“It’s easy to draw lots of lights on a piece of paper but you need skilled professionals to translate completely your vision into reality and I received a great service with a high-end delivery from Chameleon,” he concluded.