Country music artist Alan Jackson returned once again to Blueshift Design in 2016, turning to us to provide a dynamic lighting, video, and set design to emphasize his twenty-six years of country music artistry.
As the budget did not change, we were required to work within the confines of the previous-year's budget. We decided to stay with the core package of Vari-Lite VL3000 spots, Martin MAC 301 washes, and Martin MAC 700 washes. This year, however, we decided to remove the typical pencil-thin beam projector lights that we had used on previous tours and replace them with Elation Platinum FLX units.
These hybrid units are capable of not only stunning mid-air effects as a color-mixing spot fixture, they also incorporate an optical system capable of providing extremely bright nearly-parallel beam effects while retaining their color-mixing ability. We placed four of these in the rig, and four on vertical towers behind the band.
These towers also incorporate some RGBWA-UV LED PARs behind the band, washing them from below and behind for some truly beautiful and dramatic moments during the show. We also moved four audience blinders to the towers to provide a soft twinkling glow during softer moments, and bright punchy hits for the upbeat songs.
Front light is provided by 6 Martin MAC 700 lights mounted on the downstage truss, along with 8 Chauvet Ovation E-190WW units with 19-degree lens barrels to highlight the performers onstage. The 700s variable CTO filter can provide not only a camera-friendly incandescent glow, but full CMY color mixing allows them to paint the stage with strong vibrant hues or delicate pastels as the mood requires. Having separate ellipsoidals for the musicians helps provide a consistent front light for solos and general face light from show to show, and frees the followspots to always light Alan.
Our song design was, as always, informed heavily by the music and by the rock concerts from which Alan draws inspiration. This year's design included video capture cards for our media server, allowing us to route video to the screen as another layer of content, which gave tremendous flexibility in presenting not only the famous music videos which Alan pioneered, but also the dynamic IMAG shots captured by Robbie Luttrell, Alan's video director.
Visually, we utilized the full color spectrum, building looks as the show runs, but always keeping the lights thematically appropriate and color-coordinated to the music videos. For instance, Livin' On Love shines down on the band with subtle shades of lavender and amber, colors as warm as the love the music conveys. Conversely, for Good Times, we pull out all the stops, lighting the song with a combination of raucous reds and yellow as video of the record-setting world's longest line dance pumps up the audience near the end of the night.
Hanging from the upstage truss are 28 panels of PixeflFlex 18mm flexible LED curtain, fed with both custom video content from an ArKaos media server and IMAG from roaming and stationary cameras. At front of house, a grandMA series 1 fullsize feeds MA-Net and Art-Net to two NSPs, which then distribute the DMX to splitters before going to the rig.
Two ReelFX DF-50 haze units provide atmospheric effects for the lights, and all of the tour's lighting gear is provided by Elite Multimedia Productions out of Nashville, Tennessee.