Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys has embarked on her sixth concert tour playing 31 dates in North America and 21 in Europe on the Alicia + Keys World Tour.  The show, which celebrates the 15-time Grammy winner’s career from her early R&B music to her seventh and eighth studio albums, finds Keys singing, playing piano and DJ-ing to the delight of fans.

Lighting designer, Bryan Barancik, Principal of Luxious Creative in Boston, selected 142 Ayrton Perseo Profiles as the workhorse fixtures on the rig in the European leg.  He also chose two grandMA3 full-size consoles with five NPUs to control the lighting plus a grandMA2 onPC command wing for use by the touring techs. ACT Entertainment is the exclusive North American distributor of the Ayrton and MA Lighting brands.  4Wall is the lighting and video equipment vendor for the tour, which kicked off in Birmingham, England in June and wraps in Nashville in late September.  The tour marks the first time that Barancik, who has been working with Keys since 2010, has used Perseo Profiles.  He previously used Ayrton Khamsins for the Eagles.

“For this tour I needed LED profile fixtures for consistent colour temperatures working with the video cameras.  The fixtures also had to be low maintenance for the crew, since many of them are mounted above the video canopy, and well-proven,” explains Barancik.  “The Perseos were right fixture for the job at hand.”

Barancik’s lighting design began with overall scenic design from Bruce Rodgers, which features a 12-foot LED videowall upstage that splits in the centre and plays alone or in conjunction with an automated canopy over the stage composed of linear lighting tubes mapped to video.  The Perseo fixtures dominate the rig and are mounted in the air, on towers and the floor.

“It was important that the lighting be blended with the video so everything works together in a fully integrated, seamless composition,” he says.  “We light through the canopy, under it and project onto it as a scenic surface.  Sometimes the lights are hidden by the canopy, and sometimes the canopy moves to a different position and the lights pop through to create another look.  The sheer number of Perseos is needed to continue the colour and texture treatment whether the lights are hidden or revealed from the top, side or rear.”

Barancik preferred that the same model of fixtures comprise the majority of the rig, a technique he likes to use to make the stage feel larger and to allow him more layering and blending opportunities with the show’s video.  He added linear tungsten elements to his design for a grittier feel that “gives a nice balance to the aesthetic,” he notes.

The tour’s lighting crew is “really happy with the performance of the Perseos and their low maintenance,” Barancik reports.  Although Keys’s arena shows don’t expose the Perseo Profiles’ IP65 rating to much inclement weather, the lighting designer is happy for the reliability it brings and was glad to have that feature available when he tapped Perseo fixtures for an Eagles stadium show in the UK right after the start of the Keys tour.  “They served as the band key lights and did really well in that role,” he recalls.  “It was very helpful for the Perseos to have the IP65 rating in case we needed that.”

Barancik has been a grandMA console user for the last decade, so it was logical to take active and backup grandMA3 full-size desks, running in MA2 mode, on the tour for lighting control.  “I knew the new hardware would be well supported and is more robust than ever,” he says.  Brent Sandrock programmed the show.

An additional onPC command wing is used by the touring techs “all the time” to check out the rig as they load into a venue, Barancik reports.

Text: Courtesy of ACT Entertainment

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