Lighting Designer, Emmanuelle ‘Gigi’ Pedron has taken Elation Professional’s broadcast market KL Panel XL IP LED soft light for Queens of the Stone Age’s The End Is Nero Tour.
“I wanted to do a colour field type show in the style of an abstract painting, minimalistic in form with a sense of open space,” Pedron explained of her design. “I want people to see what I see in my head when I hear the music — like Chromesthesia — and I needed a light that could express that with colour.”
Pedron says the idea behind using the KL Panel XLs on the tour came about during the pandemic when the designer was working in TV and film. “I noticed on a TV or film shoot that light panels were really underutilised; the white correction and intensity were used but not much else. I thought, what if I could use those on a rock show but really use their full features and colour ability. And instead of just using 10, what if I used 70 of them to light a rock stage, what would that look like?”
Pedron’s curiosity led her to the Elation headquarters in Los Angeles earlier in the year, where she saw a demo of the KL Panel XL: “I liked what I saw and brought a unit back to my office and just thought it was fantastic,” Pedron said. “It’s a great light. Actually, it’s not just one light, it’s eight different lights. One panel has eight different segments and because the show has 68 KL Panels in the rig it’s actually like having 544 different lighting fixtures. That’s how I treat it. I couldn’t wait to see how grandiose it looked on stage.”
Her design for “The End Is Nero” centres on “no distractions” as she puts it. “It’s all about the visual art while keeping the focus on the band.”
The KL Panels are in every dimension of the setup, they are suspended on the downstage truss, forming a first layer of a multi-layer look, and also function as pivotal key light sources from side positions. They front the stage, are positioned beneath a diamond-shaped riser, and are also positioned behind and above the band.
“It gives the set a bit of a TV studio vibe without really being treated that way,” the designer explained, noting that 90% of the lighting on the show is static. “Usually a rock show is all about directional lighting but this is something different – nondirectional, soft light but still very bright and impressive.”
For Pedron, colour mixing was extremely important and the KL Panel’s RGBW +Lime + Cyan LED array covers the full spectrum. “I believe that colour itself can convey a deep emotional experience,” she said, “and since my idea was to create a colour field for this show, for a colour freak like me, the KL Panels are just perfect. They mix really well and I really like the Lime emitter. It gives me a proper white but also a nice acid green.”
The KL Panel XL features multi-zone, for example in a song where she cuts the stage in two and keeps the middle panels in blue and orange. The song “Better Living Through Chemistry” contains another of her favourite cues with the KL Panels. She explained, “There I change between green and red really fast and it goes on for two minutes at full brightness with just the colour change. It creates an optical effect and provokes a transcendent sensation and by the end you don’t know what colour you’re looking at. You don’t know what’s happening, if you are inside or outside, you’re just hypnotised. It’s a bit brutal but it works very well with the KL Panels,” Pedron commented.
The rig incorporates other lighting, including 49 Elation Smarty MAX hybrid moving heads. The Smarty’s work with the KL Panels, along with pixel strips, from the same positions.
Pedron handled lighting programming and operated the show on tour. Lighting supply for the tour in both Europe and North America is by Christie Lites. “They have similar inventory on both sides of the ocean and since Queens of the Stone Age play worldwide, it’s great to have that consistency and know that we’ll have the same fixtures wherever we play,” Pedron said.
The End Is Nero Tour plays North American dates through mid-October then it’s back across the pond in November for more European dates. “It’s been a blast and I’m lucky to get to tour with such a great band,” Pedron concluded.