West London based Entec Sound & Light supplied the lighting design, equipment and crew for Punjabi pop singer/songwriter superstar Gurdas Maan’s recent sold out shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall (two nights) and the LG Arena at Birmingham NEC.
The lighting design was created by Entec’s Ryan Brown. With no production rehearsals, scant on-site programming time and some high profile shows ahead of him, Brown took full advantage of Entec’s newly updated WYSIWYG system to visualise and pre-plot the show in their Northolt HQ. This proved “absolutely invaluable”, he said.
It’s the third time that Entec has worked with Maan’s management, UK Box Office, who approached the company to create a ‘fabulously elegant’ lightshow after being inspired by seeing archival images and hearing about previous projects that the company has undertaken.
Gurdas Maan’s spectacular career has spanned 30 years during which time he has recorded over 27 albums, written over 200 songs and raised the profile of Punjabi music worldwide – in the process, becoming the most influential and prolific Punjabi singer ever.
The requirement was for a geometric looking lighting rig with a definite architectural look to be an eye-catching core to the show, so Brown decided on a central spherical truss flanked by three ‘chevron’ shaped trusses per side, all flown at different heights to enhance the overall stage depth.
In total, the rig featured eight trusses. The six metre diameter circle upstage was the visual hub, and this was joined by six gently curved ‘eyelash’ trusses – as they were dubbed – and a front truss that was used to facilitate lighting positions for washing the stage.
To enable patterns, colour and texturing to be projected onto the circle, the centre section was fitted with a stretched projection screen surface.
Brown chose 8 Clay Paky HPE 300 moving lights to be positioned at equal distances around the perimeter, and these enabled – through texturing, colouration, gobo effects and some nice programming – the circle to become the centrepiece that everyone imagined.
The circle – and all the other trusses – were toned with a total of 24 i-Pix Satellite LED ‘bricks’.
Each of the chevrons was rigged with two Vari*Lite V*L3000s, two Martin Professional MAC 700 Washes and two MAC 250 Beams.
The front truss contained six bars of six PARs for general washing, some more V*L 3000s and four MAC 700 Washes.
It was an expedient rig that had to go a long way, and do and be many things, including cover Maan and his 11 piece band for a four hour show. The lighting also had to be judicious enough not to be distracting to the band, and in addition to all these requirements, the gigs were recorded for DVD, so the stage and performance areas had to be lit with that in mind.
For control, Brown used a grandMA full size console. Utilising the Entec WYSIWYG suite enabled him to pre-visualise the whole show, which was an improvised (rather than pre-cued) operation. He had not seen or heard the show prior to the first gig, and with minimal lighting instructions from the artist, very rapidly had to familiarise himself with the radically different structure, style and rhythm of Punjabi music, which made the task all the more challenging.