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Gearhouse SA Supplies A R Rahman World Tour in South Africa

Gearhouse South Africa supplied technical production, including sound, lighting, video equipment and a stage/roof system for the Durban show – the first music show to be staged in the new Moses Mabhida stadium – plus crew for the South African leg of legendary Indian singer/musician A R Rahman’s “Jai Ho” world tour.
Gearhouse SA’s project manager was Bill Lawford, who started work 2 months in advance, collaborating closely with the tour’s US-based production manager, Nick Jeen.
Three venues – Sun City Superbowl, the Grand West Casino in Cape Town and the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban – were visited over a 12 day period.
The tour brought its full monitor rig and control consoles for sound, lighting and video to SA – the production sound elements came from Sirius Show Equipment Germany for this section. At the first two venues, they hooked into the house racks-and-stacks for audio, with Gearhouse supplementing a quantity of KUDO and dV-DOSC cabinets, and in Durban, Gearhouse supplied a full L-Acoustics V-DOSC/Kudo/ dV-DOSC sound system.
Challenges included it being the first full production music show to be staged in the Moses Mabhida Stadium, and the turnaround between this and the Cape Town show, which was extremely tight!


For A R Rahman’s LD Josh Kauffman, Gearhouse supplied full lighting production for the whole tour.
The rig was based around 4 trusses – 60 ft front and mid trusses and 2 x 32 ft side trusses all constructed from A-Type, plus a 60 ft upstage truss made from TFL Heavy Duty trussing.
Spread out across all of these were 80 Martin Professional MAC 2K Wash, 2 Robe 700 Spot and 60 x MAC 2K Profile moving lights, together with 6 x Panther 2 k Xenons and 3 x 1200W HMI truss trouper follow spots. There were a further 8 x 2K Xenon follow spots stationed at FOH.
On the floor were 12 MAC 2K Washes, and the space was primarily kept clear to accommodate the large cast of performers who brought the show alive with colour, movement and the extravaganza atmosphere that you’d except from an A R Rahman production.
Kauffman controlled the lights with his grandMA2 full size console.


The show’s primary set feature is a large LED screen upstage which is an integral part of the show’s visuality and in constant use.
For the 2 indoor shows (Sun City and Cape Town), Gearhouse supplied 84 panels of Lighthouse R16 screen, which measured 12.2 metres wide x 5.35 high, plus two 8m x 4.5 m side projection screens which were each fed by Christie 18K machines.
In Durban, the video wall increased to an impressive 135 panels of Lighthouse R16, now measuring 15.3 metres wide by 6.9 metres high, and the two side screens were changed for two 8 x 6 metre R16 LED surfaces.
The screens were fed a mix of IMAG and pre-recorded footage, the latter of which was stored on the tour’s Hippotizer media servers. Cameras and a PPU were supplied via Gearhouse AV – 2 Sony broadcast quality cameras, one Sony ‘hot-head’ rigged in the roof and 4 ‘cigar’ low res surveillance style cameras.


Also part of the touring production were two large sets of scenic steps, which were moved frenetically throughout the show into different positions around the stage, placed at various angles, complete with trap doors and other illusion style surprises, they proved an elegant and dynamic movable set.
Gearhouse’s set company SDS custom built a 56’ wide system to accommodate a moveable Austrian drape gauze. This was designed to fit and operate within the existing Gearhouse A–Type trussing and is capable of operating a 12 metre high drape at a speed of 36 metres per minute. This system will now be available from SDS’s rental stock.
SDS also supplied all the Marley floor for the stage.


For the stadium show in Durban, Gearhouse Audio supplied :
14 L-Acoustics V-DOSC cabinets per side as main hangs, 10 V-DOSC per side as delays, 18 x dV-DOSCs for frontfill, and 6 L-Acoustics Kudo per side for outhangs, complete with 32 x SB 28 subs on 4 different sends.
Four (Jako de wit, Cyril Sewela, France Kashan, Nkwane Matlala) engineers and technicians from Gearhouse Audio worked alongside A R Rahman’s touring engineers Ross Humphrey (FOH) and Icky (monitors).
Gearhouse also supplied equipment for the DVD audio recording, consisting of a 96 channel DigiDesign Profile console and 2 x Yamaha M7 CL consoles, plus 10 AKG microphones to capture the audience.


The Durban show was also recorded for a DVD, so this, coupled with the very pressurised get in timescale, necessitated as much pre-preparation as possible.
Gearhouse supplied a StageCo stage and roofing system which was trucked from their Johannesburg warehouse and built in advance of the gig. A duplicate set of rigging was installed ready for the touring production to be hooked on to and flown when it arrived, and the PA stacks and the LED wall were also all built and ready. So when the trucks rolled in at 1 a.m. on showday from Cape Town, it was a hard but straightforward task to get everything rigged, focused, checked and ready in time for doors to open.
Added for Durban were 12 Panther 5K searchlights on the field and 24 x 8-lite Moles which were utilised to provide audience lighting for the DVD shoot.
Bill Lawford comments, “It was great to work with Nick and his team. It was a large production and required a lot of international co-ordination and attention to detail, but all went very smoothly thanks to the advance planning and the great communications between everyone involved”.