Entec Supplies Blur and the Magic Whip
Blur’s high profile performance at the Barclaycard British Summer Time event in London’s Hyde Park was preceded by an eclectic series of warm up shows with West London's rental specialist Entec supplying crew plus lighting and sound equipment for selected shows.
As well as aiding the band in the preceding run of gigs, Entec also supplied the floor lighting package for the Hyde Park gig, which saw the band play to 60,000 people and showcase extracts from their new album The Magic Whip.
Entec has enjoyed a long working relationship with Blur spanning over 20 years, and Lighting Designer Dave Byars and FOH Sound Engineer Matt Butcher have also both been an integral part of the Blur production team for the same time.
Due to the huge variety of the warm-up shows, a very flexible rig was needed explained Dave Byars, which could be scaled up or down to fit the assorted stage spaces. Many of the elements in these smaller shows would be replicated in the Hyde Park Event so everyone in the band and crew could get familiar with some of the production elements that would be in place.
For Hyde Park a quirky, eye-catching and characteristically humorous set relating to ‘The Magic Whip’ ice cream theme included a real ice cream van, internally lit with three shape shifters and covered with Light Initiative’s LED neon. A set of three octagonal bagua mirrors (popular as Feng Shui protectors) were filled with high intensity LEDs and centred with massive mirror balls which were replaced by Super Nova Flower fixtures for the encores. There were also three 3-metre high scenic ice-creams, also decorated in LED neon together with some of the backline.
A back and side wall of LED screens wrapping around the stage, conjoined to the two stage side wings which were large scenic surfaces with IMAG LED screens embedded in their centres. To capitalise on having these extensive video surfaces available, album art designer Tony Hung was commissioned to produce special video content for the show that was mapped to the screens.
The floor lighting package comprised eight Clay Paky a.leda K20 wash lights fitted with B-Eye lenses, positioned upstage of all the set pieces to provided a layer of basic upstage wash lighting effects in three different modes - ‘tight’, ‘wide’ and ‘effects beams’.
Ten CP Sharpies along the front of the backline produced the classic piercing small beam effects. Due the the show taking place on one of the longest nights of the year it was essential that all light sources could stand up against direct sunlight and were bright enough to be visible.
Six Robe LEDWash 600s lit the front of the ice cream van and the ice cream set pieces.
For the ‘warm up’ overhead rig, Entec additionally supplied Clay Paky QWO Spots, Sharpie Washes, more Sharpies, strobes and Molefeys.
Dave Byars used his own Avo Sapphire Touch running the new v9 software to control all the lights on the tour and hooked this into the ‘house rig at Hyde Park. A Tiger Touch II was the backup.
Set lighting elements included, the Bagua Mirrors, constructed by Steel Monkey, which featured outer rings laced with custom LED strips from specialist light designers Light Initiative led by Ben Vaughan.
The ice cream van was trimmed with an LED flex product that emulates neon and fitted with three High End Shape Shifters. These were initially used as interior lighting and then refocussed to point out of the windows, running in full rave mode with big colourful beams for ‘Universal’.
Dave was supported by an Entec crew of Pete ‘Pepper’ Schofield’, Stephen ‘Sven’ Jolly, Aamir Riaz and Nick Burlace. Svend Pedersen was brought on-board for Hyde Park to enhance and run Blur’s video on the house system.
The audio logistics for the tour and the festival dates were co-ordinated and designed from the office with the helpful input of both FOH Engineer Matt Butcher and Monitor Engineer Dave Geurin.
James ‘Kedge’ Kerridge represented Entec ‘on the ground’, while Matt Grounds looked after system and FOH – which required a flexible design that could be taken as a control package to the festival shows, and then augmented with some additional PA for their own shows depending on venue/audience size.
Entec’s PA comprised of d&b J8 and J12 speakers with twelve J-Subs which were set up in different combinations according the room. There was also d&b’s V series as delays for Barrowlands and also used as the main PA in some of the smaller venues as a ground stack.
All of the systems were running on the new D80 4-channel proprietary amplifiers.
The FOH and monitor consoles were both DiGiCo SD10s and Grounds and monitor engineer Dave Guerin worked extremely closely taking advantage of the gain sharing facilities on the SD rack to simplify the system and reduce the amount of kit needed.
Dave Guerin had master control of the gain, supplying Matt at FOH with a digital trim. It was a ‘busy’ stage with 20 x d&b M2 wedges, two V-SUBS for drummer Dave Rowntree and side fill stacks each side of two V-SUBs and two V8s.
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