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Matt Waterfield Powers Multi-Dimensional Erasure Tour with ChamSys
USA – The 32-city North American leg of Erasure’s World Be Gone tour takes place on multiple levels, literally and figuratively. Made up entirely of 'neon bars' (actually LED linear fixtures), the matrix-like set features a collection of tiered mini-stages. Vince Clarke plays keyboard in an upper centre-stage cubicle, flanked by kinetic dancers on slightly lower portals, while his partner in the legendary synth-pop duo, Andy Bell, holds forth on the floor, his irrepressible vocals soaring above it all.
Like a Picasso come to life, this cubic setting provides a perfect metaphor for the duo’s diverse musical performance, which ranges from the sweetly poignant tunes and sing-alongs that have been their trademark for over three decades, to unsettling darker, more provocative songs confronting social issues. Weaving the complex set together, while supporting the full scope of Erasure’s music, is a beautifully balanced Matt Waterfield designed light show run on a ChamSys MagicQ MQ80 with a MagicQ Extra Wing.
Waterfield is drawing on the output of some 230 fixtures supplied by Christie Lites in his show for the tour, which is in support of Erasure’s 17th studio album. “I have been designing for Erasure since 2017,” he said. “I was introduced to them by their FOH engineer. Initially, I did a floor package for a few shows. That went well, so they asked me to design the show for their current tour. They gave me a lot of freedom. Their only input was to make it neon, giving it an Amsterdam red-light district kind of look. They wanted this show to be more held back than their usual performances, less rave, more theatrical, but still with its full-on moments.”
A ChamSys user for over ten years, Waterfield selected a MagicQ MQ80 with an extra wing as his main console and a MagicQ MQ70 as his backup. “I started with a Maxi Wing and touch screen, which was then replaced with the MQ70, and later the MQ80,” he said. “Through every step of my career, the ChamSys products have been user-friendly, intuitive and reliable, making it easy for me to run my shows without worrying about my desk. They’ve just always been there as dependable and versatile tools.”
On the ten-universe World Be Gone tour, Waterfield is flying most of his fixtures on midstage and upstage truss, using them for downlighting and specials. Profile fixtures line the upstage deck and are often used to backlight the dancers in the side portals. Moving with crisp precision, the light show reflects the varying moods of the music with vivid and dramatic colour changes.
“The show is timecoded,” said Waterfield. “This has allowed me to get into that side of the ChamSys desk a lot more, which has been a pleasurable experience. The Timecode input is excellent. I especially appreciate features like Timecode Tracks, which saves a lot of time. Also, I am taking full advantage of the built-in pixel mapper’s pixel capabilities.”
Waterfield also notes that the MagicQ Extra Wing, with its 12 extra playback faders and 12 extra Playback Execute Buttons, expands his design options, allowing him to create looks on more levels, which is totally in keeping with the spirit of this complex, multifarious show of sight and sound.
photos: Todd Kaplan
15th August 2018
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