grandMA2 met Clapton at the Crossroads when the guitar legend held his triennial guitar mega-jam with his friends and musical contemporaries. Four grandMA2 light consoles were on hand for Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013, which was staged for two nights at Madison Square Garden. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of MA Lighitng in North America.
Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival has been held every three years since since 2004 as a fundraiser for his Crossroads Centre, an addiction treatment facility in Antigua. This year, each five-hour show featured a roster of guitarists as legendary as Clapton himself, including Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy - with a surprise appearance by Keith Richards.
Two grandMA2 lights were used for concert lighting and TV/key lighting; two additional units acted as back ups. The shows were designed with the Crossroads' branding in mind and the guitar motif was prominent. "There were lots of bright colors and images of guitars - all the content emphasized these thematic guitar images," says Dave Maxwell, Clapton's lighting and show designer who also crafted the TV lighting.
"This was the first Crossroads show we used the grandMA2 on - and I've done all the Crossroads shows with Dave. This was a huge show," says Eric Wade, head programmer for the concert lighting. "It was our best show yet; it really turned out well."
Wade did all the preprogramming in New Jersey. "We programmed for three or four days with all the bands. I could even call up some of the songs on YouTube and partially cue to them," he reveals.
"There were so many guitar solos, and we could do a lot of overriding and adapt on the fly. In layout view you can place the lights where they are in space and easily locate them quickly - it's so fast. Dave did the key lighting and audience matching. I did all the cue-to-cue. It was a lot of fun!"
The grandMA2 also ran all the media and graphics, he notes. The stage sported a 56 x16-foot 10 mil LED wall and a pair of 20 mil walls; two 11 mil walls displayed IMAG for the audience, all via four Catalyst servers. "We faded in and out cameras all the live video through the consoles," he explains.
Wade praises the flexibility of the grandMA2 and "the great layout." He reports that he and Maxwell "didn't have to make any concessions in the show due to the limitations of the desk. That's amazing - and unheard of with other consoles."
"grandMA2 is all I use," Maxwell declares. "I like the feel, and it's very stable. I usually program it then leave it to the operator. With the wide array of macros and the extensive programming options you can let a lot of it run on its own. No other consoles have as wide an array of automators."
Wade rifs on grandMA2 one more time. "There's nothing better out there in the market today," he concludes.
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