Live Design Blog Archive

Laser Flexibility Key to Black Eyed Peas Show

Fresh from a performance on the 2009 Teen Choice Awards, the Black Eyed Peas have been relying on the team from Strictly FX to ensure they put on a powerful visual show in a wide variety of venues.

“The Teen Choice Awards presented lots of challenges because of the limited space at the Gibson Amphitheatre and multiple live acts on a single stage,” notes Mark Grega, partner, Strictly FX. “Our lasers were able to stay in place only because of their small foot print on stage – only one foot by two feet.” Blitz lasers can be stacked, providing twice the output in the same amount of space.

Although show producers limited the use of additional smoke, with the existing haze, the powerful tandem Blitz units, each with 20 watts of laser light power, created fantastic effects, both for the live audience, and the millions of viewers at home, as the band members descended to the stage strapped to floating surfboards during the song “I Gotta Feeling.” To achieve this visual effect, Strictly FX used two tandem Blitz units with 20 watts of laser light power, 12 CO2 jets and two LSG units for low smoke. The Peas have several more high-profile TV appearances coming up, including the NFL Opening Kickoff 2009 Presented by EA Sports on September 10 in Pittsburgh, and will be relying on Strictly FX to provide eye-catching effects.

For the Black Eyed Peas tour, Strictly FX is pleased to continue a longstanding working relationship with Peas' Production Manager Tim Miller. Strictly FX worked with him on all the ‘N Sync tours, including the band's 2001 -2002 Pop Odyssey tour which was, at the time, the largest touring laser display around, with four 50-watt Yag Laser systems providing more than 200 watts of light every night in stadiums across the United States.

Alternating between radio promo shows with multiple acts and their own headlining tour, the Black Eyed Peas require a laser set-up with the flexibility to accommodate a wide variety of settings. With expertise in laser programming and great attention to detail, the Strictly FX team is able to provide a show that meets the Peas' vision, no matter what the venue. For the radio promo tour, Strictly FX provided three-to-five tandem Blitz lasers with 20 watts of laser light power per show, controlled by a three-to-five-card Pangolin system, as well as two low-smoke generator units, eight CO2 jets and four Confetti Cobras.

For the Peas' upcoming Japan/Australia leg, Grega has been working closely with lighting designer Marc Brickman to use the lasers in a whole new way. “We are striving to use the lasers as a lighting instrument in almost every song, instead of only as a special effect,” Grega says. “This will allow us to show off the unlimited capabilities of laser scanning and to highlight the beautiful colors and color combinations that these new lasers can produce.”

Strictly FX's Doug Cenko brought his unique ability to visualize atmospheric laser effects and interpret music for stunning results to program the multiple system.

The Japan/Australia leg, which uses five full-color high-power diodes and one high-power green diode system controlled by a rack of Pangolin cards, includes an upstage truss trimmed at 20 feet specifically for lasers in a "wall of laser light" effect. To accommodate the sophisticated set up of computers and power conditioners needed on this tour, Strictly FX designed a whole new road case. In addition to lasers, the company is providing four LSGs, 12 CO2 jets, four Confetti Cobras, pyro and propane effects.

Following the international leg, the Black Eyed Peas will be opening for U2 on several stadium dates. Expect a visual show unlike many ever put on by an opening act.

About Strictly FX

Strictly FX is a full-service special effects company, offering a complete range of state-of-the-art pyrotechnics, flames, CO2, lasers and confetti and a wide variety of custom applications. In 2007, Strictly FX received the prestigious Parnelli Award for Pyro Company of the Year 2007 – the industry's highest honor for live event professionals. Visit them on line at

High-res images available upon request. For more information, contact Jeanne Coffey: jeanne (at) riverleap(dot)com; 781/598-1667

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