Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Red Hot Chili Peppers have embarked on an epic World Tour 2011-2012 with a large complement of Clay Paky Sharpy lighting fixtures and a pair of grandMAs accompanying the band. A.C.T Lighting is the North American distributor for both Clay Paky and grandMA.
The truly global world tour comes on the heels of the release of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ tenth studio album, “I’m With You.” The band has sold over 65 million albums worldwide and scored nine singles in the Top 40 of Billboard’s Hot 100.
Premier Global Production, which serviced the band for their last world tour, has returned as the lighting vendor for the new tour working with lighting designer Scott Holthaus to fill his equipment needs. “We had just gotten 78 Sharpy fixtures, which are hot little items right now,” says Vice President of Sales James Vollhoffer. “We were excited to add them to our inventory – it was time to make the investment since we see a demand building for them. All of ours are now on a boat heading for the European leg of the band’s tour.”
Scott Holthaus is using the versatile Sharpy fixtures “everywhere – every single place in the show.” In a departure from his usual process, Holthaus is going solo acting as lighting designer and director for the tour and sharing video tasks with UVA, which brought in the scenics.
“Although we’ve never been into literal imagery, the set is a three-dimensional shape based around an asterisk,” he explains. “Everything radiates out into an octagon from an asterisk-shaped video screen in the stage. Video screens are on each facet of the octagon and can move to face the audience. They can also expand from 14 to 40 feet like a Venetian blind. Most lighting trusses are in and around the video screens where they are really working the vertical.”
The ubiquitous Sharpy fixtures are deployed “on the floor, behind the upstage video screen, on top of the six torms, in the center of the octagon and behind the main upstage videowall to blast through the video panels,” according to Holthaus.
He was introduced to Sharpy at A.C.T Lighting where he fired up a fixture right out of the box while he was getting grandMA training. “The thing just smoked!” he recalls. “It shot down the alley. It was the coolest thing out in a long, long time. All I’ve seen lately are LED lights, but Sharpy really stands out – its optics are revolutionary.”
Vollhoffer reports that the Sharpy fixtures “worked out of the box and performed pretty flawlessly” during a two-week rehearsal period for the tour.
“On the show they are incredible,” says Holthaus. “For the Venetian blind effect of the video, I needed something to sneak through the cracks. Once I got the Sharpys they became my utility go-to trick. When we turn them all on and put them in a configuration it looks like chopsticks. The lights don’t diminish, and everybody is blown away.”
Holthaus is also experiencing success with the pair of grandMAs, one running video from Catalyst and D3 servers and the other running lighting. “They are wonderful, powerful machines – I use grandMA on every tour and they always work great, never a problem,” he says. “Of the 275 shows I did on the last tour, I only went to our spare desk once.”
He praises the grandMAs’ “sound operating system” and likes its ability to handle some of the server work. “The the effects engine is really good. In the hands of a capable programmer, grandMA can do anything a designer can dream up.”
Holthaus’s “right- and left-hand man” for lighting and video on the tour is Leif Dixon; the lighting programmer is Zach Peletz.
About A.C.T Lighting
A leading importer and distributor of lighting products, A.C.T Lighting, Inc. strives to identify future trends and cutting-edge products, and stock, sell and support their inventory. The company provides superior customer service and value for money to all of its clients.
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