GrandMA2s have turned out in force for the eight-week leg of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne North American tour, and they’ve got a large complement of Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures to keep them company. The lights and lighting consoles are playing a key role in the tour, which supports the rappers’ joint LP released in August and also features solo cuts from their own catalogs. A.C.T Lighting is the distributor of grandMA and Clay Paky fixtures in North America.
Solotech, which is providing all the tour’s lighting, rigging and specialty lighting fixtures, furnished lighting designer Nick Whitehouse and assistant lighting designer Steven Douglas with three grandMA2 full-size systems plus one grandMA2 Light. The tour has a minimalist, eclectic design with innovative lighting, lasers and staging, and extensive use of LED products.
“The main reason we have two desks is so that both Nick and Steven can run different elements of the show at the same time and to assist in quick multi-user programming to implement last minute changes; the third is a back up system and the grandMA light was on stage for last minute set up,” reports Karl Gaudreau, at Montreal-based Solotech. “I’ve been a fan of grandMA since I worked for Cirque du Soleil. The grandMA2 is a great next step in the product line. Nick (Whitehouse) loves it – as soon as he worked on it he was very impressed with how fast it was.”
“The desk is very powerful,” he says, “with real-time control of 65,536 parameters per session. It’s pretty much the only desk able to perform this quickly.”
Solotech also supplied 130 Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures for the tour, which are deployed on the main rig for Jay-Z and Kanye. Whitehouse has positioned 24 Sharpys on the floor and 48 on the main truss. Three other trusses combine Sharpys with strobes; they are also integrated with other lights on the back wall. Solotech’s Sharpy fixtures are in such demand as robust special effects fixtures that it’s hard to keep them in the shop, Gaudreau reports.