Professional Lighting & Production - Winter 2022 - Page 20

PHOTO : ROBERT KENNEDY , SOLOTECH PHOTO : ROBERT KENNEDY , SOLOTECH PHOTO : ROBERT KENNEDY , SOLOTECH
VIDEO CONTROL UNDER THE STAGE
PREPARATIONS FOR THE FIRST SHOW AT PHILADELPHIA ’ S LINCOLN FINANCIAL FIELD
CITY VIEW AT TORONTO ’ S ROGERS CENTRE
‘ single use but really light .’ Every night , when we ’ re focusing , I ’ d get texts from people in the area taking pictures of those pointed up in the air from miles away . If you were going to leave an impact , that ’ s the fixture to do it with .”
Control is provided via Grand MA consoles running in MA2 mode owing to the features that the MA2 mode offers . “ There ’ s one show file for lighting and video ,” explains Barton . “ We control all the visuals through that file , using four desks integrated and time-coded together .”
DESIGN “ The genesis of The Weeknd ’ s shows come from Es and La Mar ,” Baeri says . “ La Mar comes up with broad strokes , and Es comes up with large-scale concepts for what the room is going to look like , and we all talk about how we ’ re going to fit lighting and video in and around that . This is one of the most collaborative camps I ’ ve ever worked with ; you never feel like lighting is an island . We all , as a group , talk about what we ’ re trying to get across .”
For Baeri ’ s part , that involved coming up with a plot that matched the scale and grandeur of the show . “ The idea of using the entire stadium had to extend to everything , including video and lighting . We had to support the floor layout with something that ’ s , quite frankly , one of the more giant lighting rigs that ’ s been out on tour . It needed to have the scale and power to hold its own when Abel ’ s out on a 300-ft . runway .”
They continued tweaking during rehearsals and preproduction just before the first date at Philadelphia ’ s Lincoln Financial Field in July .
“ The content and the way it ’ s used changed as the show itself morphed because of the ideas we wanted to portray . What Abel wanted also changed when we got into Philadelphia and were actually in front of the rig – the show that we came in there with was very different from what we left with .”
There ’ s only so much previewing that can be done with a show of this scale , with a video wall the width of a football field and set pieces and screens dwarfing the performers , before seeing it , at scale , for the first time in a venue . Again , the key was ensuring that The Weeknd remained the focus .
Much of that comes down to The Weeknd ’ s performance , Baeri explains : “ More so than any artist I ’ ve ever worked with , and I don ’ t mean that with any kind of bluster – the entire show is about Abel singing to and with fans . He ’ s not there just to be viewed . The whole night , he ’ s searching out the best energy in the room , touching and reaching out to people everywhere in the room , connecting , and every single person in the section he ’ s singing to feels like he ’ s singing just to them .” Consequently , part of everyone ’ s job was to facilitate that engagement .
“ Once he steps off that main stage , he might as well be walking through the aisles , and that ’ s a very intentional decision and choice made by Es .” Supporting that , Baeri continues , was a challenge . “ When we first started rehearsals , we thought that during different
20 | Winter 2022