Chauvet Lifts Air Supply Show
Countless people who came of age in the ’80s dated, fell in love and got married to the accompaniment of the sweet, angelically vocalised melodies of Air Supply.
Australia’s most famous musical duo became synonymous with the era’s soft rock sound, thanks to a string of Top 10 hits like 'Lost in Love' and 'Making Love Out of Nothing at All.' But songwriter/guitarist Graham Russell and lead vocalist Russell Hitchcock, who make up the group, have been about much more than romantic ballads, as evidenced by their edgy Native American inspired album 'Vanishing Race', which sold over 4 million copies in Asia.
After four decades of relentless international touring, Russell and Hitchcock have added layers of new insights and emotions to their performance -- and their sound. Every dimension of Air Supply was on full display at a recent concert in the Boston area, supported by a Troy Stubby-designed lightshow that featured Legend 230SR Beam moving fixtures in a variety of stage positions. JDI Productions provided the Chauvet Professional fixtures for the sold-out performance, substituting them for “more famous name movers” that were in the tour’s original rig design.
“Troy’s original design called for these other fixtures to be used, but we’ve been using the Legends back to back on so many shows that we felt very comfortable with them,” said JDI’s Freddy Thompson, who, along with his colleague Pete Therrien, oversaw the lighting rig. “So with Troy’s approval we made the switch. In the past, Troy had been using the SR beams on the floor to cross shoot the backdrop with a rotating prism. It created a really great effect, and the beams cover a good portion of the 40’ house drape, so he knew what they could do.”
JDI Productions specified 18 Legend 230SR Beams for the richly textured show. Six of the Legend fixtures were flown on mid-stage truss and six on upstage truss. The six other Legend fixtures were used in a ground package, with two units positioned behind the keyboard riser, two on the upstage centre deck and two behind the guitar riser. “We positioned the Legends evenly spaced on the truss to deliver a powerfully emotional wall of light look,” said Thompson. “The beams on the floor sat on road cases behind the risers in a staggered height formation. Since the beams were the same height as the road cases, we minimised blind spots.”
In addition to the Legends, the Air Supply rig included an assortment of ellipsoidal fixtures, blinders, and washes. The fixtures were daisy chained with 5-pin DMX. “Each truss system was its own universe,” said Thompson. “We used a splitter and a snake to get our data runs to Front of House. We controlled the rig with a full size Hog 4. The biggest challenge with this project was trying to accommodate Troy’s design into the venue, which is a theatre with a working fly rail. The downstage points share weight distribution with audio points, so we needed to be aware of our total estimated weight for that system.
“Pete and I also needed to be aware of the house electrics when hanging points for Troy’s system,” continued Thompson. “It can prove to be very difficult when you are trying to hang truss systems at specific dimensions off the downstage edge and are forced to work around an entire pipe system. Not to mention, the lift gate used to get the gear to the second floor just eats up time on the load in. We worked closely with ATS (All Tech Sound), the local audio vendor for the concert, to get everything done well and on time.”
All challenges involved in setting up the rig were met, resulting in a richly textured lightshow that served as the perfect accompaniment to Air Supply’s evocative and multi-faceted performance.
“Troy programmed some excellent colour palettes and position cues, which helped make the stage just pop with intense lighting effects throughout the entire show,” said Thompson. “Our goal was to convey Troy’s vision and do justice to these legendary performers.”
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