PRG is the lighting supplier for the Bon Jovi Because We Can tour, which is working its way around the world in two distinctly different legs—an arena design version and a stadium design. For both designs Performance Environment Designer Doug “Spike” Brant of Performance Environment Design Group (PEDG) has relied heavily on PRG proprietary products. Since one of the driving principals of PEDG is sustainability, the selection of PRG’s Best Boy 4000® luminaire as the primary light used for the dynamic arena design is no surprise. “Sustainability is something that we’ve always pursued; everything from how we work to the choices that we make in our designs,” commented Brant. “I love the Best Boy; it’s my favorite light. They’re so bright, they don’t draw much power, and they do things that no other light does. It’s amazing how much of a Swiss Army knife of lights that it really is; they were very important to this design. They’ve been great. The Best Boys on the lifts are a very successful element, which supports the kinetic nature of the design. Everyone’s commented on how killer the lighting is.”
Arena Tour - Lighting
Brant employs 80 of the Best Boys as the key luminaire in his kinetic arena design, which at the core are 32 Best Boys mounted on RSC Lightlock stabilizers controlled via high-speed winches. The lights can move at a rate of five-feet per second, creating an extraordinary amount of creative flexibility. The visually complex design boasts huge power savings. Drawing a mere five-amps per luminaire, the Best Boys allowed Brant to significantly reduce the power consumption for the arena versions of the tour. Altogether, the arena lighting package tours at well under 400-amps in total and is completely run off house power at each arena with no need for additional generator power for the lighting system. “Less than 400-amps for the whole thing; that’s it. That is probably the least amount of power that Bon Jovi has ever had for any show since the band was playing in a bar,” noted Brant.
Chris Shaffer, Dimmer Tech for the arena leg of the tour commented, “We were on a 400-amp service but in theory we could have been on a 200-amp service with additional rebalancing, but for safety we went with 400-amps. We used house power the whole time we toured throughout the US; no generators needed. It was the first time that I’ve toured with essentially just Best Boys in the rig and their really low power draw makes a big difference.” In comparison, Bon Jovi’s The Circle tour in 2010 had fewer lights but almost twice the power draw.
Arena Tour - Power & Distribution
The arena version of the tour also uses the PRG Series 400® Power and Data Distribution System, which Shaffer described as “one of my go-to products. The timesavings are big when compared to traditional distribution systems. When I loaded the PRG sled rack with four S400 racks and S400 power disconnects, all pre-cabled, the dimmer beach set-up time including all power and data distribution was only four minutes; it’s exceptionally fast. It’s one of the reasons that I prefer that system. If I had to set this up with traditional power and data distribution systems it would take around 45 minutes, that is a big difference when setting up and a really big difference when breaking things down. It’s the only system in the world that I want to use. It is fast and it is absolutely reliable.”
The built-in redundancy of the Series 400 system is another benefit that Shaffer relies upon to make his life easier on the road. “Because everything virtually patches, when it comes to troubleshooting, if for some reason we lose a box or something like that up on the truss, I can setup a virtual patch so we’re not running additional data lines up to the truss. There’s a massive level of redundancy without the need to pull the extra cable; that’s one of the things that makes my job easier and makes us look good. Once you have real confidence in your system like I do with the S400, you can easily and quickly troubleshoot any problems.”
Another plus of the Series 400 system is the neat and contained system it lays out at dimmer beach compared to traditional systems. “Initially we had planned that I would setup 65’ away from the cable picks,” Shaffer explained. “That was because traditionally dimmer beaches are so messy because of all the multiple racks, the data racks, and the patches, but with the S400 being so clean, especially with the sled it has allowed me to move up to 15’ of the cable pick without any complaint about clutter or mess in the SR area from the artist. That’s another advantage of the S400, the huge lack of clutter.”
Stadium Tour Brant also designed the completely different stadium design version of the Bon Jovi Because We Can tour for the summer leg. For lighting he again relies on the PRG luminaire family for his primary fixtures. He has 68 PRG Bad Boy® Spot Luminaires at the heart of his design with 29 Best Boys in the rig as well. PRG Nocturne also supplied the stadium leg with the camera package, PRG Nocturne V-18 LED 18mm LED modules, and the PRG Nocturne V-9 Lite 9mm LED modules.
For the stadium leg of the tour Dirk Sanders, Technical Designer for Control Freak Systems (CFS), who put together the complex video control systems for both designs, selected the PRG Mbox® Extreme media server. There are four Mboxes used and Sanders refers to them as “the workhorse server for this show.” He explains, “The Mbox is our de facto media server tool. At CFS, we are very much about the right tool for the right artistic idea. There are times were the Mboxes are being used to spread the content, and there is a high level of connectivity between all the tools because we use the Mbox’s MultiScreen Gobo feature to map the wall. It was about the right tool for the right job, but also Mbox gives us the right paintbrushes to route video effectively. Mbox really helped solve quite a few challenges.”
Arena Photos Copyright 2013, Andy Babin / Meteor Tower
Stadium Photos Copyright 2013, Ryan Mast / Meteor Tower
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