Red Rover elates crowds amid Faouzia’s Citizen Tour

Red Rover Entertainment delivers an adaptable lighting rig with Elation Professional fixtures for Faouzia’s North American tour. Photo: Mike Thomas

Upon completing a string of European performances in July 2022, global pop star Faouzia began preparations for a fall North American tour that saw the Moroccan-Canadian singer playing dates across the US and Canada. Jon Stanners of entertainment production company Red Rover Entertainment of Winnipeg designed lighting for the outing and specified an Elation Professional rig of Fuze SFX moving heads, SixBar 500 linear bars, and SixPar 200 six-colour PAR lights.

Both Faouzia and Stanners have roots in Winnipeg’s French community and the designer says he has been familiar with the singer since she was a young artist. “The French community of Winnipeg always had high hopes for her and now she’s really realising her potential,” he stated. “We’re from the same city and have been doing the same calibre of shows over many years so I’ve known her for a long time.” 

Stanners even lit one of her music videos years ago and has done several one-off shows with her. Faouzia’s fall Citizens tour, which ran from 15 October to 17 November was Stanners and Red Rover’s first chance to work with her on a tour.

Faouzia and Stanners have worked together enough that he knows how best to coordinate the lighting looks with her music, creating the right moods for old and new material alike. “For her older songs, which are more intimate piano numbers, I often put the focus solely on her,” Stanners described. “But for her newer material, which is more Moroccan-influenced with offbeat rhythms, I’ll use more layered looks.” 

The show also features a number of pop numbers. Stanners says he also likes to work with Faouzia musical director David Steinmetz “to better understand what his intention is and how I can complement that.” Lighting operator on the tour was James Moore from Red Rover Entertainment.

Red Rover supplied the lighting for the Citizens tour with Stanners handling lighting design and programming. The tour played anywhere from 400-capacity venues in smaller markets to 2,000-capacity venues in larger markets and the design, Stanners says, had to fit into both. 

“I wanted a rig that could hold its own in venues where there was very little house lighting,” the designer comments. “Most of my tours go out without some kind of side light so if the venue’s front house lighting was inadequate, it was still taken care of. For eye candy on this tour, I used Elation’s Fuze SFX to create the moods using anything from gobo looks to tight beams. It’s a versatile fixture that saves you from having to have both a beam and a profile fixture.”

Red Rover Entertainment took delivery of new Fuze SFX fixtures in the early fall, just in time to send them out on the tour. A unique combination of spot and effects fixture, the Fuze SFX is a multi-purpose luminaire with 300W LED source, CMY colour-mixing, 18 carefully designed gobos and a 4.5° to 38° zoom. Stanners placed four units atop pipes with custom-built tops for a thin, aesthetically clean look. A further three units worked from a floor position. 

“There are very few situations where I wouldn’t use the SFX,” Stanners said. “It has a tight beam which gives you the equivalent of a Pointe or Sharpy, and then you can zoom it out for some great gobo looks. The gobo selection is super useable.” 

In one special look, the designer points the SFX fixtures straight out to the audience with a gobo turning back and forth on beat. “It’s a song where I use a couple of preset gobo indexing positions on beat and it always gets a nod from the house LD,” he said. In addition, knowing Faouzia’s on-stage movements well and aware that when hitting raw notes she often moves right to the middle of the stage, he placed a centre SFX ‘godlight” behind the artist for impactful silhouettes. 

Another creative design element involved 15 floor-positioned SixBar 500 colour-changing battens in a semi-circle behind the singer for colour and eye candy looks. Stanners explains the idea behind the look: “I wanted to create a play area for her to move in where there are no other musicians or cables, an area that was clean visually. No matter what size the venue, that was her space.” Additional to the rig were seven SixPar 200 colour-changing PAR lights, two per side as sidelight and one for a ‘halo’ behind each musician.

Stanners has operated Red Rover Entertainment since 2013 and has stocked Elation gear since 2018, much of which he employed on multiple tours this past fall. “On Faouzia, it was a really effective rig that worked well in both the smaller and larger venues,” he concluded. “We had the power and pixels to create something really unique, and also from the power consumption, size and weight perspective, it was the right rig to use.”