grandMA Hits The Road With ZZ Top

The ZZ Top Hollywood Blues Tour 2007 is using a grandMA and grandMA Light to control lighting and video displayed on a big, soft LED drape onstage. The celebrated Texas band began their tour in March, will be joined by The Pretenders and The Stray Cats for the summer and then continue solo through October. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor for MA Lighting in North America.

“I’m a grandMA guy through and through,” says lighting designer/director Christopher Stuba. “The band wasn’t really into IMAG but had been wanting to do video. So we bought a Catalyst system a couple of years ago, and we’re running the soft LED drape with it and using the grandMA through the Catalyst. The grandMA is wonderful and easy to manipulate. Troy Eckerman is our grandMA programmer; we’ve been working together on and off for 15 years—he’s the best there is.”

Currently, the grandMA controls an array of moving and conventional light fixtures, including 14 Vari*Lite VL3000s, five Vari*Lite VL1000s, 12 Vari*Lite VL500Ds, four HES DL.2s, eight Martin Atomic Strobe Colors, 18 Martin Mac 2K washes, 10 Color Kinetics Color Blast 12s, two four-foot and one one-foot Color Kinetic Accents, 2 Reel FX DAC, 132 PAR 64s, 16 PAR 64 ACLs, and six 8 Lights.

“The grandMA is a solid console,” Stuba notes. “Its flexibility is really amazing. I did a Bob Seger show recently with a different board, and other consoles just don’t feel like the solid, serious piece of gear that grandMA is.”

Stuba also used the grandMA on larger a industrial project, which came up during the ZZ Top tour. “We set up a wysiwyg suite and the console and modified our tour lighting scheme, changing the Vari*Lites to Martins and adding more lights for the corporate show,” Stuba explains. “Changing the light types and cloning some of the lights was easy to do.”

Stuba also notes that the grandMA has features that enable him to accomplish “very cool” creative things he “couldn’t do with another console. The grandMA’s executor buttons are a big plus; I can use them for programming as well as playback,” he adds. “It’s awesome that you can assign buttons to be just about anything.”

"Chris and Troy do a really nice job putting the ZZ Top show together. It has some nice touches that the grandMA helps them make easy work of. It is good to have them as part of the grandMA family," comments A.C.T Lighting president and CEO Bob Gordon.

Donny Stuart is production manager and Pablo Gamboa tour manager for The ZZ Top Hollywood Blues Tour 2007. Jeff Archibeque serves as the lighting crew chief, Bobby Dominguez as lighting tech, Mark “Smokey” Kohorn rigger and Brad Schiller Catalyst programmer. Bandit Lites provides the lighting equipment and grandMAs.

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