Robe Enters Another Lifetime with Guns ‘N’ Roses

Photo: Katerina Benzova

Guns ‘n’ Roses continued its Not In This Lifetime 2018 world tour with striking lighting and visual design using totally contemporary technology created by Phil Ealy, while Ron Schilling is out on the road as lighting director.

Ealy chose Robe moving lights to play a major role in the lighting scheme with the stadium version of the rig featuring 74 Robe BMFL WashBeams – 5 used as truss follow spots, 32 Robe BMFL Spots, 3 Robe BMFL Blades and 10 Robe Pointes. The Robe BMFLs are rigged in the various trusses over the stage. The tour’s ‘universal’ lighting rig also includes 9 custom made lighting pods and a floor package.

The Robe BMFL Spots are generally used to light the stage and the audience in a wide variety of gobos and colours, with the WashBeams being the true workhorses of the rig.

They are programmed into a number of distinctive groups, so they are not all doing the same thing at the same time, which adds “texture, depth and versatility to the show” explained Schilling, who thinks Ealy and programmer Rob Koenig came up with a neat concept in the way this grouping of luminaires works for the show.

The Robe BMFL Blades are used as primary key lighting for the drummer and keyboardists, where the shutters are perfect for fine-focusing the output. Upstaging is the touring lighting vendor in the US and Neg Earth in Europe.

The Robe Pointes are owned by West Coast Visuals, Phil’s equipment company, and are part of the universal floor package that travels everywhere that the band are playing, including all the festival gigs where they are using a range of different ‘top’ rigs. The Pointes are used for creating different effects and looks and to accent certain parts of the songs You Could Be Mine and November Rain.

Schilling recalled a previous experience with Robe BMFL Spots on AC/DC in, arguably “the worst positions and conditions ever,” out-rigged on top of a StageCo roof structure in half domes for weather protection. The fixtures were strapped to motors and lifted 65 feet to the platform where his tech, Morgan Prine, and a stagehand installed them on the scaffolding. “I bet the factory never tested them for that!” he quipped.

After 2 years on the road on that tour, they had to work on only two Robe BMFLs which is impressive by any standards, and he adds that Robe’s customer service if you do happen to need it, is “Excellent!”.

An MA Lighting grandMA2 platform is used for lighting control, and their consoles are also part of the universal lighting rig that travels worldwide.

Joining Schilling for the most recent European leg was Steve Shipman, Hayden ‘Goat’ Corp, Tim Phillips, Tim DeBoissiere and Adam ‘Taff’ Morgan from Neg Earth, plus Fraser MacKeen, Nick Pishghadamian and Greg Gore from Upstaging.