Four years after masterminding the set design for Blake Shelton’s first major tour, creative director Steve Cohen has been brought in again to unite lighting and video into a fluid stage set redolent of the artist’s Oklahoma roots.
And once again he has dipped heavily into the LED catalogue of GLP to fulfill his requirements, sourcing over 200 of the German company’s X4 Series fixtures from his regular vendor, Beame (formerly Atomic Lighting).
The set features 116 impression X4 along with 32 of the large X4L (37 x 15W RGBW LEDs), punctuated by 60 of the tiny single source X4 Atoms.
The itinerary consists entirely of full size sports arenas, with a few country fairs built in. And with demand for tickets so high, the artist’s manager, Narvel Blackstock, wanted to sell every arena seat possible, including those behind the stage, asked to produce “something cool” by way of a design, Cohen again decided to seek inspiration from Oklahoma.
“The last tour took its cues from the farms, barns, and grain silos that dot the Oklahoma landscape. This time, I went to the other iconic industry associated with that area, the oil business. That provided a rich and deep well (pardon the pun) of inspiration. Refineries, drilling structures, tanks, pipes, fittings etc. all of which have trussing and steel which we could morph into a scenic look that would be thematic while servicing the performance area and lighting rig.”
It also worked within the 360 degree performance area. “The rig became the mirror of that circle, and that in turn drove the video layout as well.”
Steven Cohen Productions are no strangers to GLP’s larger impression effects, having been first to deploy the giant X4 XL on the Lenny Kravitz tour. This time he used the X4 L, describing it as “one of the most fantastic instruments I have used in a long time.”
He continued, “The pixel mapping is great — we have a super high trim, 60ft in the air and these lights are effective over a long throw.” While some are set on the high overhead rig others populate a number of vertical pipes. “We had a couple of specific brackets made enabling me to hang two together on each pipe.
The 120 X4 are used as wash lights on the rig, verticals, set pieces and floor lightings while the X4 Atom provides the detail around the downstage runway and upstage curve … as well as for general ‘eye candy’.
Bringing the design to life are programmer, Mark Foffano and touring lighting director, Jody Marsh, piloting the show from a grandMA2.
Summing up his reasons for constantly returning to the GLP platform Steve Cohen says, “We just like everything that they give us. They keep producing improved iterations, particularly with regard to the color. On this tour they have all been functioning flawlessly.”
And wherever possible he obtains his X4’s from Beame. “They are the best in the business and their attention to detail is fantastic. The advantage of having them in Pennsylvania is that any integration between truss, rigging, motors and automation all comes from the same area [Lititz, Pennsylvania]. It’s been the production center of rock ‘n’ roll for the last 25 years.”
Says Beame VP of Account Management, Brad Hafer, “We have an extensive inventory of GLP products but are always adding to it with new products or more of what we already have. We purchased the X4L units for this tour as well as added more Atoms to cover the numbers on the gear list. GLP products always deliver great color rendering, speed, low weight and they are reliable.
“Our clients feel we always have their backs which is only possible because of our relationships with manufactures like GLP.”