Lighting Director Jeremy Roth created a brand new lighting and scenic concept for Sheryl Crow’s tour for her new album Be Myself using Robe Spiider and BMFL Spot moving lights.
Crow and her management team wanted a more theatrical presentation that was based on soft scenic elements. After extensive discussions between Roth and the artist about how stage aesthetics related to the vibe and direction of her album all agreed on an old railway station as the environment, with gothic stained glass windows creating an archway to serve as a mid-stage portal, with a tunnel of rusty pipes trailing off into the distance behind.
Using coated gauze material for the stained glass and a selection of back painting techniques on the tunnel backdrop allowed these surfaces to be back-lit to create dynamics and effects throughout the show. The emphasis on the soft scenery also influenced Roth’s choice of lights which included 22 Spiiders and eight BMFL Spots amongst others.
The BMFLs were chosen for their “fabulous setup for animating gobos” explained Roth, which does all the surface texturing of the portal windows and tunnel backdrop. The dual animation discs create a specific moire effect. Adding gobos in front of that and altering the focus creates many subtle patterns and movements. In this show, the BMFL’s primary role is texturing and grading rather than aerials.With this in mind, Roth changed some of the original gobos for custom patterns from Rosco and Apollo.
“The super wide zoom, the brightness and the smooth dimming are all a must for making this technique work,” Roth explained. He likes the fact that the colour is homogenous when used in an open beam but “shows great fringing (tiny variations of analogous colour) when used with certain gobos at the right focus.”
He initially looked at the Spiiders for their pixel mapping capabilities and Kling-Net compatibility, however with only a 12ft available truck space he also had to keep his fixture count to a minimum so every light on the rig had to give as much variation as possible.
Roth wanted to create movement in the backlight washes without having to rely on pan and tilt actions.He also wanted to do some colour and intensity effects that were not easily achievable via console programming, which is why he decided to integrate an ArKaos media server into the system. The whole process of mapping and feeding media to the fixtures over Ethernet / Kling-Net “was simple to set up and worked brilliantly for the show.”
“The colour is excellent all the way through from whites to pastels to saturates. The dimming is superb, especially when in tungsten emulation mode;the size weight and price are all very attractive.”said the LD in charge. The moonflower effect mixes well with the wash output to create a hybrid beam that is unique to the Spiider.
The rig layout features:a downstage truss for front light, LX1 for high side colour wash positions – with seven of the Spiiders here; an LX2 accommodating another six Spiiders, profiles, six-bar battens and the mid-stage portal drapery.Two BMFL Spots and two wash lights are upstage on LX2 which also provides a location for front lighting the tunnel backdrop.LX3 is rigged with four BMFL Spots for rear projection effects onto the portal windows and also has three Spiiders for backlighting the drum and keyboard risers. Another six Spiiders, four profiles and three Molefeys are on the floor to the sides of the band for low level and uplighting angles and there are two wash lights and two BMFL Spots behind the backdrop taking care of all the rear projection effects.
“The biggest challenge so far on the tour has been keeping the fixture count down to a bare minimum, while having enough to light all the scenery and the band well and with plenty of variety. The entire rig fits into 12.3ft of truck space and thankfully the band uses in-ear monitors, so there’s no space taken up with wedge monitor cases,”
The other parameter was that the rig had to be straightforward to set up since Roth was working without a tech.
“US vendor TMS did a great job on the prep.” he said.“Account handler Holly Russell is incredibly supportive and has bent over backwards numerous times to get my tours out the door exactly as I need them – and I am very particular!”
The show is running on a grandMA2 console programmed by Roth and Megan Metcalf, with an ArKaos media server to pixel map the Spiiders.