Claypaky Xtylos, B-EYE K20s and Sharpys illuminate Tim McGraw’s US Tour

Lighting and Production Designer, Patrick Brannon selects Claypaky Xtylos, A.leda B-EYE K20s and Sharpys, supplied by Nashville-based Premier Global Production Company for Tim McGraw’s latest US Tour.

Lighting and Production Designer, Patrick Brannon selected Claypaky Xtylos, A.leda B-EYE K20s and Sharpys for Tim McGraw’s McGraw Tour 2022. Nashville-based Premier Global Production Company was the lighting vendor and lighting services provider for the shows.

McGraw kicked off the 17-city amphitheatre tour on 29 April in Rogers, Arkansas and wrapped on 4 June 2022 in Mansfield, Massachusetts. The show featured more than 20 of the hits that McGraw has scored in over three decades of making music. McGraw was joined on the road by special guests Russell Dickerson, Alexandra Kay and Brandon Davis.

Brannon, of StarDust Services in Nashville, has worked with McGraw for over a decade and has designed five tours. He explains that a big McGraw tour had been scheduled and designed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. With everyone still a bit anxious about public turnout and the emergence of new variants, Live Nation asked Brannon to design a lighting rig for the tour that would fit into six trucks instead of the previously planned 15 vehicles.

“We lost the motion and video panels, but my fixture preference remained the same” for the reduced-size production, Brannon reported. “I’m a big Claypaky fan.”

The show featured five 50ft trusses with assorted lights and a 32ft by 32ft thrust surrounded by edge lights with a neon-look. Brannon placed 12 Xtylos on the floor upstage, behind the band and below the video screen. Xtylos, a compact beam moving light with a laser source, were parallel with the riser and spanned the width of the truss.

“Claypaky demo’d Xtylos for Pat and us, and Pat really liked them a lot,” noted Steven ‘Creech’ Anderson, Senior Accounts Manager with Premier Global Production Company, Brannon’s long-time lighting supplier and buddy of two decades. “The fixtures are really bright, the colour saturation is perfect and the laser source is really cool.”

“I was looking for new special effects lighting and believe I’ve found it with Xtylos,” said Brannon. “The Xtylos were used on pretty much every song, sometimes in conjunction with the graphics on the video screen. I needed more horsepower on the floor, and the Xtylos gave it to me. Their colour mixing was fabulous, pan and tilt smooth and the auto-dimming feature really useful. Xtylos produced a really cool beam of light that was solid and full. They have a certain number of rotating gobos, too and can mimic a cone laser – you wouldn’t believe how close the effects come to looking like a laser.”

“The Xtylos added a completely different look to the shows,” Anderson reported. “They created another big look coming from behind the band.”

Brannon mounted 34 A.leda B-EYE K20 high-performance lights overhead in the truss to wash the stage and the audience. “The K20s were super bright with an amazing colour palette and fullness of colour and the ability to go full flood or down to a pretty sharp narrow beam,” he remarked.

Around 30 Sharpy moving beam lights were also in the truss and six more on the floor. “They are my go-to special effects beam fixture,” Brannon said. “They’re super fast, you can’t beat their speed. I like their prism, gobo effects and the tube effect with a pin spot. I use Sharpys all the time.”

Troy Eckerman, Brannon’s long-time programmer, programmed the lighting on a grandMA3 console running MA2 software. Brannon’s Crew Chief was Colin Craig; a Premier Global crew travelled with the tour as well.

“All of the fixtures performed well and didn’t give us any problems, including the Xtylos,” said Brannon. “Seventeen consecutive shows for a light that’s still new, still cutting its teeth, and we didn’t have a single issue.”

“When a new fixture comes along and proves to be worthwhile and we see a future and a need for it down the line, we’ll entertain investing in it,” noted Anderson. “We never buy gear just to say we have it.”