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Excellence Awards 2016

J. Cole's Forest Hills Drive Tour

Platinum recording artist J. Cole capped off his Forest Hills Drive Tour by selling out signature venues across the country like Madison Square Garden and the coveted Staples Center.  LMG Touring provided video, audio, and lighting in support of his “Hollywood” act, which will conclude a massive three-act stretch. 

The popular summer tour was based off his 2014 Forest Hills Drive album, which is the first hip-hop album to go platinum in 25 years with no guest artists.  The album, named after the address of his childhood house, is considered to be a self-described personal statement. “This tour is really all about him growing up and the impact of that house,” explains Ray Rogers, J. Cole’s Production Manager and Audio Engineer.

The set, built by Gallagher Staging, features a replica of the Forest Hills Drive home, and consists of a ground support designed to angle up into a LED screen that provides a ramp for the artist.  The theatrical design is lined with Robe CYCFX4s, while the Solaris Flare strobes shine through the windows.  A flown set piece, also lined with Robe CYCFX4s, completes the illusion of lying between two houses and looking into the sky.

LMG’s 7.5 MM LED tiles, with content being driven by Catalyst media servers, are used to illuminate custom staging elements, which mirror the mood and emotion of Cole’s performance to heighten the experience for his fans.  A live band was positioned between the riser LED screen and the upstage screen to create a unique listening experience.

Video for the tour includes a seven-camera, 4A switcher package that marries GrassValley LDK CMOS cameras, Sony RoboCams and spy cameras together seamlessly.

The video elements of the show are enhanced by a powerful lighting design that features ROBE Pointe, VL3500 WASH, VL3500 WASH FX and Quantum Wash fixtures. “We sent Kevin Maas the design of the set and he was able to design the lighting package to fit the house perfectly,” states Rogers.

LMG hung twenty-four K1 cabinets supplemented by six K2 down fills, twelve L’Acoustics monitors and twenty SB 28 subs. The SSL 500 digital audio console handled every channel at FOH and the Digidesign Venue Profile 48 console was a workhorse for monitors.  An SSL Live recorder is used to multi track every show and for virtual sound check. LMG built custom amp rack carts so that they could roll them in and roll them back out smoothly and quickly.

The audiovisual elements had to be dialed in from the get go. There were no second chances.  Due to the lack of onsite rehearsal time, LMG provided an ESP Vision Pre-Viz system and Catalyst Media Servers for 10 days of pre-programming.  “We did not have a dress rehearsal for this tour, and we pulled it off for the first show…it was miraculous,” raved Rogers. “It was just a great start for the tour.” 

"This is a great looking and sounding tour, very theatrical with a big visceral impact," states Craig Mitchell, LMG's Director of Touring. 

Equipment List:

  • 1 IME for A HD Switching Package – custom rack built for the tour
  • 1 GrandMA2 Lighting Console Full/Monitor Kit
  • 20 Solaris LED Flare
  • 6 Luminaires – LED Wash – Showline 640/4’
  • 15 Wash – ROBE CycFX 8 Moving LED
  • 32 Spot – ROBE Robin Pointe
  • VL3500 WASH
  • VL3500 WASH FX
  • 1 Digital Console (SSL Live L500) Package
  • Catalyst Media Server
  • Panasonic 21K Projectors (side screens)
  • Roe 7.5MM LED Tiles (upstage LED screen)

Design Team:

  • Stage Designer: Gallagher Staging
  • Production Manager: Raymond Rogers
  • Supplier: LMG
TAGS: Concert
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