Earth Wind and Fire’s latest UK and European tour, which included a closing headline slot on the West Holts Stage at Glastonbury 2016, had its lighting supplied by British company HSL.
Lighting was designed by Merle McLain who has worked with the band for 23 years. He was on the road operating the key and conventional lights and directing and switching seven robo-cams. Running the moving lights was Robin Seefeldt. Lester Cobrin was HSL’s Project Manager on the road, with everything at the warehouse end managed by Sean McGlone.
The version of the band’s current tour’s lighting design used for this leg of the 2016 tour was based on four trusses upstage, downstage and two side trusses.
With 12 people onstage and the full 60ft width and 40ft depth of the performance area needing to be lit, the team faced several challenges. The main effects moving lights from HSL were Martin by Harman MAC Viper Profiles, rigged in the air upstage and downstage, with more on the floor behind the backline.
A total of 22 Martin by Harman MAC 2000 Wash XBs were dotted around the trusses and on the floor.
There was a central video wall upstage of the back truss and some smaller LED surfaces stage left and right behind the drums and keyboards respectively. ETC Source Four profiles on the front truss provided the key lighting, and 2K fresnels on the front truss, five were used to make a basic stage wash, with two reserved as audience fillers for camera shots into the crowd of the highly interactive show, together with some 2-lite Moles. Joining McLain and Seefeldt were HSL Crew Chief Andy Hilton, Dave Bunn and Rik Foreman.
Seefeldt ran the moving lights from an MA Lighting grandMA2 full size console. She’s been working with McLain on Earth Wind & Fire for the last two years, taking over from the previous Moving Light Operator Jess Baker who’d been in the role for around 12 years. Her console also triggered the ArKaos media server running the playback video content and she used four follow spots, which were Robert Juliat Cyranos from HSL.
McLain ran the conventionals from an Avolites Pearl Expert console.