Mathews Mans Extended Rig

American country music duo, Dan + Shay approached Borealis Stage Lighting about designing a floor package for their upcoming tour, and Jeff Mathews obliged by creating a power-packed video and lighting package ran by ChamSys MagicQ MQ 80 and an extra wing.

Despite the memorable impression that it’s making on the international tour, Mathews’ 79-universe rig is compact and flexible enough to fit a wide variety of venues. “Our clients wanted a large package for the summer and fall tour, as well as the spring 2018 tour, that could fit in two trailers alongside the backline,” said Mathews. “Since they play a variety of sized venues, from clubs and large theatres, to arenas, amphitheatres and festivals, they also wanted something that could easily be expanded or scaled back.”

Mathews and his clients came up with a design plan that called for lighting and video package on gas-assisted set carts with extended diamond-shaped frames. Hanging between each set cart was a diamond frame holding LED video panels.

A collection of 8 smaller LED wash fixtures is positioned on risers at the downstage edge, while 4 ellipsoidals are used for side washing, and a hazer is placed on either side of the stage for atmospherics. Audience lighting and eye candy is provided by the 6 warm white LED blinders that run across the stage, alternating between the top and bottom of the rig.

“My lighting takes up four universes, while my video and pixel mapping account for 75. I’m using ArKaos MediaMaster Pro for controlling the video and hazers. For pixel mapping I’m using the ArKaos and the Kling-Net mapper. Everything was programmed in ChamSys and MediaMaster. The MQ80 was great for building our show. Programming workflow on the desk is extremely efficient and detailed, with tools for pretty much anything I want or need to do.  The ease of cloning and morphing is tremendously helpful, considering the size of some of the rigs I’ve been working on. There’s also a visual syntax that just makes sense,” Mathews explained.

“We can take the height of the package down to 8 feet, and we can go from four carts to three and still keep the basic look intact. This versatility is important, because sometimes at festivals we’re on a small stage. Our L1/tech J.C. Campbell deserves a lot of credit for this. He makes everything go smoothly day in and day out regardless of venue.”

At Dan + Shay’s festival appearances, Mathews encounters other visiting LDs. “It never fails, just about at every show someone will comment on my FOH setup and how it’s so compact.  People are always asking me about my MQ80. How much does it cost? How does it perform? When they ask me how I like it, I just tell them it’s helping me keep up and grow with artists like Dan + Shay, who are growing at an immense pace, so you know I rely on it.”