Lady Gaga has launched her tour, ArtRave: The Artpop Ball, and Clay Paky’s A.leda B-EYE K20 innovative, LED-based moving lights, Clay Paky Sharpys and grandMA2 consoles are along for the wild ride. A.C.T Lighting is in the exclusive distributor of Clay Paky and MA Lighting in North America.
ArtRave marks Lady Gaga’s fourth concert tour. It is in support of her third studio album, “Artpop” and kicked off May 4 in Fort Lauderdale. It will play 78 dates in North America, Europe, Oceania and Asia.
PRG has provided 120 B-EYEs for the tour as well as a large complement of Clay Paky Sharpys. Lighting control is performed with three full-size grandMA2s and 10 NPUs.
“Production and lighting designer Roy Bennett’s approach to the show was to make it an immersive rave that reflected Gaga’s non-stop party aesthetic,” says programmer Jason Baeri. “That means active, alive, vibrant and high energy — it requires us to be just as active on stage as in the crowd. The audience is every bit as much a set piece as they are a room of spectators, so we had to include them as part of Gaga’s same party not just watching the spectacle from afar. Cue wise, that’s almost like programming two shows at once: Both had to behave as one cohesive element, which was made light of, as always, by grandMA2.”
Bennett describes the set as three stages connected by Lucite catwalks over the audience so the crowd can dance while watching Gaga perform above them. “It’s very interactive. She plays off the audience with her dancing and a big rave vibe,” he says. Bennett had previously used B-EYEs for Lady Gaga’s gig at the Roseland Ballroom. On this tour they are mounted above the upstage video wall, which measures 3×40 feet. “They mainly act as eye candy,” he explains. “They’re working great; they’ve been very reliable.”
For the ArtRave tour the lighting designer has deployed the Sharpy rig “all over the place: the main stage, front, rear, side, as well as on the pods over the audience. The Sharpys act as our other main effects light. I always have at least 100 if not 200 hundred on shows.”
Baeri cites the data management challenge the tour poses given “the immense amount of pixels we’re controlling. There are about 120 B-EYEs on the show, all in full-tilt mode, which adds up to over 4,500 pixels of just B-EYEs — and we use them in every configuration possible. Gaga’s music is extremely detailed, so we’re using every part of that light for the various tones and inflections in every song.”
Baeri loves that the console will “let me grab one pixel and turn it on, then a second later grab 2,000 pixels in a deferent direction, as fast as the grandMA2 allows me to. We’re bending the MA-Tricks on this job in ways I didn’t know you could, and we still keep finding new ways to use it,” he adds.
He likes the console’s layout view, too. “With this many individual sub-fixtures, I need to be able to graphically see and access everything at once without worrying about the minutiae of keying in cell after cell on the keypad. With the right combination of layouts, I can create an overview of what every fixture in my rig is doing for a visual snapshot of the whole scene all on one screen. For a rig that fills an entire arena floor, that’s a pretty impressive feature for a programmer!”
The grandMA2 has become Baeri’s console of choice primarily for its data management capabilities. “I’ve had my hands on plenty of platforms, but none let me control as many fixtures with so little effort,” he reports. “Every key on every screen is exactly where I want it. If there’s a function I want that isn’t there already, I make a new key in seconds flat without having to employ long-handed workarounds and new versions of software.”
He notes that the crew had little more than two weeks to put ArtRave together. “Speed was of the essence. I use the grandMA2 because it allows me to put together incredibly complex shows extremely fast without compromising the details that would otherwise be too time consuming on any other platform. And if I get in trouble, there’s someone on the phone, 24/7 anywhere in the world. No dreaded 4 am ‘leave a message’ help line. I pick up the phone and I’m covered. I can’t tell you what a comfort that is.”
Baeri says the grandMA2 is turning in an “exemplary” performance, “as always. We were bending over 60 universes at a time, and I never saw the NPUs workload exceed six percent. Not once. That’s a lot of universes to keep in time and in sync. I’m impressed, as usual!” he declares.
Solotech is the video contractor and 8th Day Sound the audio contractor for the show.
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