Elliot Baines utilises Robe for Calum Scott

Photo: Luke Dyson

Calum Scott’s “The Songbook So Far” world tour featured a new lighting rig for the tour which was created and specified by LD Elliot Baines of Spiralstagelighting.

Baines has been working with the artist since the summer of 2022, initially as the lighting operator, and was then asked to design lighting for this new tour, for which he specified 30 Robe ESPRITE and 54 Spikies which are being supplied for the UK full production shows by Hampshire-based Liteup.

Five upstage set pods are the main architectural feature, positioned at the back of the main riser platforms behind the band. Initially inspired by the “Biblical” music video, each of the five pods, for the larger shows, are rigged with a 3 x 3 matrix of Spikies.

While previous tours had included a basic riser system, explained Elliot, he wanted a proper stage set for this, resulting in large full-stage-width custom risers and stairs. Part of the reasoning behind this was also to encourage Scott to use all available stage space.

The set also functions as a vehicle for The Songbook’s theatrical story. “I really wanted something visual to be happening and changing constantly throughout the show with either set or lighting or both, so you get the feeling of evolution,” noted Elliot.

The original visuals for the song “Rise” had included the white cliffs of Dover, and onstage, Baines found that he could even light part of the set to resemble the landmark, so it was highly versatile. “The idea was that every piece of the set brought something to the overall story,” said Baines.

The ESPRITES are positioned all in the overhead rig and on the floor, with the numbers variable depending on the venue size. There are always eight ESPRITES on the front truss for key lighting and specials, with the others dotted around the over stage trusses covering Scott and the band for back lighting and effects.

For those European venues when they are using house ‘top’ rigs and bringing in their specials, a quantity of the ESPRITES that are part of their touring rig will be deployed on the floor. The LD mentioned that when the shows scale up to a certain point, he will be keen to start using Robe FORTES.

For the shows at Hammersmith Apollo in London, Baines had the full rig and added a RoboSpot system on which he ran two of the ESPRITES which were following Calum. The Spikies are used for multiple effects. “At 20% brightness, you can create a very delicate fading twinklewhich looks beautiful,” he said describing the look used during the chorus of “Biblical”.

In the middle of “Heaven” he also creates a subtle animation effect with a 20% Spikies fade which is another favourite, and in the following song, he bumps into the white flower effect during a loud bang in the chorus for maximum contrast.

“You know you’re hitting the right buttons when the sound guy comments on the lighting,” Baines explained. “There really is so much you can do with Spikies,” he declares.

Baines likes working with Robe products for many reasons, “Intensity, features, colours including a great range of whites, the reliability and just the overall quality of the luminaires and the light output,” he explained. “I have never had a Robe fixture fail on a show and it’s one of the brands I most enjoy working with!”

His programmer for the current tour Olly Walker is also a big Robe advocate.

Baines is the first to compliment the team at Liteup. “They are very friendly and welcoming, the kit is excellently prepped and looked after, they are always super helpful and take care of everything I need,” he stated.