Ayrton is thrilled to be part of The Doobie Brothers new tour in celebration of their 50th anniversary, which will play to around 50 venues across the USA and Canada throughout 2021 and 2022.

Solotech of Nashville supplied 17 Ayrton Khamsin LED profile fixtures for this iconic tour which were chosen by the production design team at Darkroom Creative, Seth Jackson and Nathan Alves. The team wanted the Khamsin fixtures as part of their unique, retro design which they use to summon up a 1980s vibe.

“In celebration of the Doobie Brothers’ 50th Anniversary, Darkroom Creative did a little celebration of our own,” explains Jackson. ““We figured since the band was celebrating 50 years, and the concert lighting business is roughly the same age, we would give a nod to the guys that inspired us when we were getting started. The lighting rig, though completely LED, is reminiscent of the par can rigs of the 1970s and ‘80s. What would have been ‘14 movers and 120 par cans’ became 17 Khamsins amid a raft of other moving lights.

“Hidden in the cueing are hat tips and homages to the greats from that era. Lighting nerds with a keen eye will see bits of Marc Brickman, Steve Cohen, Peter Morse, Jeff Ravitz, Marilyn Lowey, Alan Owen, Howard Ungerleider, and a host of other greats. The show has no IMAG, no cameras. The video is a scenic enhancement using album covers and archival artwork to craft new animations amidst rows of constructivist scenic panels. All of this is under the direction of Steve Owens, a legend himself, who has been with the Doobies since the mid ‘90s. He fits perfectly into our little tongue-in-cheek history lesson!”

Jackson and Alves were keen to use the Khamsins, and Jackson explains how they fit with the design. “The Khamsins are THE hard edged fixture in the rig. They handle the key light on the four principles, the backlight, and we use five units on the deck (they are the only floor lights, actually) to light the set. We also utilise them for air graphics and effects.

“We often leave the key light clean on the guys; however, we do make use of Khamsin’s animation wheel as key light for Blackwater. The opening of the song has such a mood about it, and the Khamsins have plenty of intensity that still allow you to see everyone, but you get this great subtle water ripple across them.”

The Khamsin profiles were chosen because they were the best fit for a list of requirements, as Jackson explains: “Nate was the cheerleader for these fixtures after a demo from Lee Moro at Solotech. We had been bidding the show with a COVID mentality – ‘we need a spot that does this, a wash that does that, and what do you already own?’  But when Lee came back with some suggestions, Nate immediately chose the Khamsin. The field and colour rendering were excellent. The amount of flexibility in the effects was remarkable. With both animation and framing shutters in addition to the gobos, we had a lot to work with. This flexibility turned out even more essential than we knew as the show clocks in at 2.5 hours! We use everything that light has in it!”

Touring so many venues, cities and rehearsals can take a toll on the gear as Jackson points out: “The tour is doing arenas and sheds and is divided into roughly two six week runs. We had quite a few weeks of rehearsal and a healthy thunderstorm right out of the gate but the Khamsins have been flawless.”

“The Khamsins have been very solid the entire tour so far,” agrees David Carr, the tour’s lighting crew chief. “Performance-wise they have a great zoom range without losing any punch. Even limiting their intensity to better match the other fixtures (we run them at about half intensity), they still pack a punch and are very crisp.”

John Flynn, Solotech’s director of global projects adds: “From Solotech’s point of view, we love the Khamsin as it is the leader in LED technology. Many of our clients are requesting “greener” usage, so to have an LED solution with such a flat field compared to most discharge fixtures makes Khamsin top of many a lighting designer’s wish list. Clients love it and it’s getting requested more and more. The added bonus for the road guys is having a fixture that just doesn’t break and never requires any lamp changes.”

The first leg of the Doobie Brothers 50th Anniversary Tour started in Des Moines in August and continues until 29 October 2021. The second leg kicks off on 2 June 2022 in West Palm Beach and runs until 30 June 2022.

Doobie Brothers 50th Anniversary Tour Creative Team:
Production Design: Nathan Alves & Seth Jackson (Darkroom Creative)
Additional Video content creation: Brent Sandrock (Creative Lumens)
Lighting Director: Steve Owens
Lighting & Video: Solotech, Lee Moro
Tour Manager: Scotty Ross
Production Manager: Bryan “Froggy” Cross
Rigger: Dave Schnitker
Lighting Crew Chief: David Carr
Lighting Techs: Steve Schwenke, Adrean McDonald
Video Tech: Bryan Keyes
Video Crew Chief: Ian Bertrand
Management: Full Stop Management, Karim Karmi & Vector Management, Joel Hoffner


Text: Julie Harper
Photos: © Darkroom Creative

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