CHAUVET Professional helps deliver compact, but powerful show for Scotty McCreery

A compact lighting rig that features 24 CHAUVET Professional Rogue fixtures helps Scott McCreery’s crew balance creating big, bold, dynamic looks on stage, while still meeting practical considerations. Photo: Stephanie Graham

The creatives behind the stage design for Scotty McCreery’s current 31-city North American Damn Strait tour have achieved the balance of creating big, bold, dynamic looks on stage, while still meeting practical considerations by creating an eye-popping show night after night with a rig that fits in a single trailer.

Helping them make this happen is a design that cleverly uses rolling carts and upstage downlighting, along with well-placed specials to enlarge looks, along with a potent, yet compact, lighting rig that features 24 CHAUVET Professional Rogue fixtures, owned by the former American Idol winner.

“The big thing about this show is we wanted to be able to create ‘WOW’ moments, but also fit everything into a single semi-truck,” said Drew Hornback, Scotty McCreery’s lighting director. “I feel like we’re doing this very well. In addition to being compact, our rig is designed for quick load out, because we often find ourselves in a headlining spot, but, at the same time, we also do some direct support slots. To us, it’s critical that we are able to use the same rig in multiple applications.

“A lot of credit should go to Alec Takahashi and his team at BKD,” continued Hornback. “They bring so much creative input to the table and are great to work with. We have a great collaborative team, including Luke Elrod from BKD, Programmer, and Adam Duncan, Scotty’s Production Manager. Together, we’ve managed to streamline things, but still enlarge the show’s impact.”

In keeping with this goal, Hornback has worked closely with the team from BKD to simplify the programming from the previous Scotty McCreery tour. Together they completely built the new show from the ground up over the course of four “very sleepless nights” back in January.

“Previously, the show was very tightly timecoded,” said Hornback. “This made it difficult to operate without timecode. With BKD taking the lead, the show has transitioned into a single cue stack per song. This allows the show to be run easily without timecode if necessary. Our new show also gives the music plenty of room to speak for itself, with the lighting accenting what is happening on stage.”

The music being accented by the new lighting design is remarkable in many different ways, as it evokes the rich, traditional and heartfelt country sound, but with a snappy, uplifting, dance-to-it contemporary feel. Throughout it all, the performance is defined by Scotty McCreery’s deep, resonate, and emotionally powerful vocals.

“Scotty’s voice lends itself to evocative warm lighting,” said Hornback. “We keep focus on him with a lot of downlighting. This was more of a design choice with Alec. He is not one to really use fly outs and blinding the audience. I love this style of lighting design where it’s more focused on the stage and not just flying out.”

Contributing to the sense of intensity on stage is the dramatic backlighting from the carts positioned across the upstage deck. This design was originally introduced to the production five years ago by Adam Duncan and reworked this year, in terms of cart placement and decking, by Hornback.

Also new to this year’s design are 16 Rogue R2X Wash fixtures. The moving wash, which is powered by 19 25-watt RGBW LEDs, was added to the rig for the tour.

“We added 12 new R2X Washes to replace some existing wash units,” said Hornback. “We wanted to go with the R2X because it offers the same color chips as the R3X Wash and it was super important to have the colors match (There are 12 R3x Washes in the rig.) We also want the brightness the light brings. We deployed 12 R2X Washes in our carts that skirt the decking; six of them are used for band sidelight and six for front line backlight, as well as some aerial beams. We are excited to keep using the Chauvet Professional products to replace older fixtures.”

The new lighting fixtures, like the rest of the rig, should get plenty of work this summer, as Scotty McCreery keeps up a busy touring schedule, which started with his tour stopping April 21 at the Talking Sticks Resort in Scottsdale, on to a show the following day at the Sunset Station Hotel & Casino in Henderson, NV, before it headed east for April shows in Lancaster, PA, Orillia, ON and Hagerstown, MD. This was followed by 17 shows in May and June as part of the Brooks & Dunn Reboot Tour, as well as more solo tours from the May 21 Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival in California to the August 3 County Line Country Fest in Wisconsin.