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A tour born in the USA, started in Europe, travelling America, the Pacific, Central America and ending in Costa Rico. Travelling for 11 months, with a minimum of six different lighting designs all based around a central theme of triangles. No one has had more fun on this tour than designer Greg Shipley.
Currently the Smashing Pumpkins are on their third European run of this tour. The act decided to take some of the lighting equipment from Bandit America which was seamlessly incorporated with Bandit UK’s power distribution and motor systems, thus allowing the current system to meet codes throughout Europe.
"Apart from making the logistics flow, it was a great opportunity to show how inter-continental co-operation offers the client ultimate continuity" says Bandit UK's Lester Cobrin, adding "It's been a great pleasure for us here in the UK to work with Chris Gratton (production manager) and his team."
The Pumpkins LD Greg Shipley has been working with the band since June 2007, during which time the lighting design has undergone several metamorphoses. Each leg of the tour has presented itself with different challenges. The designs have ranged from new LED technology to traditional rock-and-roll lighting. After some initial input from lead singer Billy Corgan, Shipley has been free to create new and interesting designs for each leg of the band's tour. After designing several plots, Shipley and production manager Chris Gratton evaluated each creation for touring reality. "It has been a great pleasure to work with Chris Gratton. He is one of the great touring production managers on the road today," explained Shipley. Along with Gratton, Shipley would present each design to the band for final approval.For the current European leg, Shipley created a more traditional rock design utilising 13 individually hung 15ft sections of truss – each suspended on two motors – which make up six triangles, arching over the stage.The band thrives on having an intimate, very personal look on stage. The lighting is designed for a low intimate look consisting of an upstage trim of a mere 12ft arching to a downstage trim of just 20ft. With no followspots and a plethora of back and side lighting, there are many dramatic moments. With no production video on this leg, lighting has the pleasure of being the star of the show.The fixtures used on this tour are a combination of Coemar, Martin, and Vari*Lites. In the moving light category, there are 24 Vari*Lite VL3000 Spots, 30 Martin 2000 Washes, Shipley states: "I love these two products for their brightness and durability." Adding to the base moving package is the excitement of: 10 Coemar I Wash LEDs that create a layer of lighting just above the band's head, 37 Coemar Parlite LEDs used not only as truss toners for creating varieties of colour and flash, but also as up lighting of the artists. All complemented by 36 Martin Atomic Strobe 3000s with scrollers.
Shipley is a big fan of LED sources, and loves their speed and intensity. The power saving properties are also very important as many acts wish to set an example of energy conservation to their fans. Other permutations of the rig featured more LED fixtures and been video driven, but with this section of the tour, the main look is essentially back to a rock 'n' roll traditional style – metal and movement.The console of choice for this tour is the Compulite Vector Red console; one active and one slaved spare. Shipley has been using the Compulite Vectors for over three years. "The desk is absolutely amazing. I have the ability to compress or expand my shows at will. With the great support one can get from Compulite, the sky is the limit for this console." states Shipley. The consoles are running via Ethernet with Artnet running thru two D-Link boxes and a Compulite E-Port, the desks are in sync and either is able to instantaneously control the show. Shipley, a working LD is joined on the tour by crew chief Shawn Lear and tech’s Jackson Beck and Sam Morgan, who he says are: “Just fantastic – I really can’t praise them enough – this is a great team effort!” He also comments that working with Bandit UK has also been an “Excellent experience. Everything was meticulously prepped on both sides of the Atlantic, and the process of fitting the gear from the UK and US together went seamlessly from the first European show”. Many Thanks to Chris Gratton for his support guidance and expertise.
6th March 2008
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