Martin Dudley Evokes Spirit Of Yes Classic Tales Tour With CHAUVET Professional

GLASGOW – The creative process never rests. Like a ship sailing toward the horizon, it never “gets there,” but constantly evolves in pursuit of the next new thing.  This quest has animated the music of multi-platinum prog rock legends Yes for decades, as they’ve boldly pushed musical boundaries in multiple directions – something they continue to do today. 

Those who packed Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on May 20 for the final show on the UK-EU leg of Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer’s “Classic Tales of Yes” tour savored this irrepressible energy as the two-set show kicked off with the dramatic sounds of “Machine Messiah” and wove its way through a collection of classics, including a seven-minute rendition of the uplifting “I’ve Seen All Good People.” After a short intermission, the show thundered back to life with the haunting “South Side Of The Sky.”

The audience’s connection to this powerful musical journey was deepened by a brilliantly colored and intricately textured Martin Dudley/Chris Davey light show that featured 12 CHAUVET Professional Rogue R2X Wash units from Martin’s Lights Ltd.  Like the music it reflected in light, Dudley and Davey’s design was the product of an evolving creative vision. 

Early on in the 24-city tour, which began in April at Lisbon’s historic Sagres Campo Pequero concert hall, the design moved into a new more intense realm.

“At the start of the project, we were told was that it would be a ‘no haze’ tour,” said Dudley.  “Therefore, we knew that the lighting had to be about color, pattern and texture, rather than beams of light and movement in the air. Many of our lighting designs are quite understated, and after the first couple of shows, the feedback from the band was that they wanted “more” of everything, so we went for it!”

Went for it, indeed… With its bold color changes and swirling gobo patterns, the show engaged the crowd with looks that moved seamlessly through a sea of different moods and emotions. The vision powering this flowing design continued to evolve throughout the tour. This resulted in one of Dudley’s favorite looks, which added an edgier element to “South Side Of The Sky.”  After the initial programming was done, lighting director Chris Davey added a multi-colored gobo to the cloth backdrop for this song. 

“It looked like the Northern Lights we’d recently experienced in the UK!” said Dudley. “Chris and I did a day’s programming in a WYSIWYG suite and another day at production rehearsals, but Chris overhauled much of the programming once the tour actually got under way, removing things that didn’t work and adding more great looks, no mean feat whilst dealing with different in-house lighting rigs every day. I’m grateful too to lighting technician Simone Bigum, who got the rig up and running every day, and tour manager Dick Meredith, a contact from the very earliest days of Martin’s Lights, who brought us on board.” 

Another element was added to the show for almost all of its UK dates, including the Glasgow appearance, when Coloursound Experiment supplied a “house lighting” system that consisted of two flown trusses of CHAUVET Rogue R2 washes and moving spots. (In-house lighting fixtures at different venues were used for follow spots and front lights.)

Throughout the tour, the Rogue R2X Washes in the floor package remained the workhorse of the rig. Dudley positioned eight of the washes upstage on the floor, using them to put color onto the white back cloth and occasionally to backlight the band. The other four wash units were hung on four 2.5m tall truss towers and used to light the band from the sides.

“The washes did a lot of the heavy lifting in the show, putting rich, saturated colors onto the cloth for almost every song,” said Dudley.  “Color and gobo patterns were key to the looks we created. Yes is a band with a long history stretching back to the early 1970s and the classic projected “light shows” of the time.”

Although Dudley and his team weren’t directly attempting to copy those shows, he says that the use of gobos with and without prisms, augmented by a lot of rotating, zoom and focus effects were what he terms – “a reference to the history” of this band… a history that has marked by an ever expanding and evolving vision, just like the lighting that supported the legendary group on this tour. 

About CHAUVET Professional
CHAUVET Professional offers innovative professional lighting fixtures for the production and touring market as well as permanent installation in theaters, hospitality venues, cruise ships, clubs, television and architainment applications. For more information, please visit