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Daniel Richardson chooses Robe for Craig David tour

UK-based Daniel Richardson, working for Sinclair Wilkinson (Rob Sinclair and Andrew Wilkinson), took the role of production designer for Craig David’s recent “Hold That Thought 22” UK tour. The scope of his work included a full stage, scenic, lighting and video design, plus content direction for the tour that was rescheduled from 2020.


Richardson’s spec included Robe moving lights - BMFL Spots, BMFL Blades and a four-way RoboSpot remote follow system - which were supplied by lighting vendor Neg Earth. Matt Arthur went out on the tour as lighting director and operator. Craig David himself was very much involved in the show creation - he shared his initial ideas with Rob Sinclair and Daniel Richardson back in 2019, who refined these into workable touring options from which a concept was chosen and developed.


Plans were then halted due to the pandemic and in this time the artist produced a wealth of new music. During a production meeting in February of this year to get the tour re-started, “Craig indicated that he wanted to involve scenic elements in the show and loved the idea of having some real foliage on stage”, explains Richardson. Taking the new album’s artwork as inspiration, he and the team reimagined and reworked the stage design. In the album, Craig David is a journeyman, travelling under the moon and stars through different lands, his previous homes in Miami to his present one in London.


With this in mind, a “real” moon on a Kinesys hoist system was added, together with the LED “neon” signs plus some real palm trees and other foliage. A strong narrative arc underpinned the whole show which started at night-time with David under a moonlit sky, complete with the 4-metre diameter scenic moon and twinkling stars. The timeline moved through sunrise, daytime, and dusk and back to the night, moving through three distinctive sections.


The set kicked off with David and the band onstage, morphing into a special TS5 DJ set - a project started in 2012 when hosting parties for friends in his Miami apartment - for which two centre stage screens flew in to cover the backline. The band returned for the final songs of the set. The final song, “Seven Days”, concluded in front of another moon nightscape with twinkling stars and flickering neon signs.


The various snapshots in time were all accompanied by scenic and other content on a large upstage LED screen that helped depict different environments, including highways, the neon buzz and hustle of Miami, London and other city skylines, waterfronts, nightscapes, and sunrise etc. Some scenic sand dunes made by Hangman were also included in the set elements. Richardson also commissioned the video content from Really Creative Media (RCM).


The designer chose BMFL Spots and Blades for the hard-edged fixtures, adding 35 x BMFL Spots and 16 x BMFL Blades to the plot. Two wing trusses each side of stage were each rigged with five BMFL Spots, and these 20 x BMFLs were primary lightsources for the TS5 section, also helping to expand the area around David’s DJ booth and ensuring there were no dark spots.


They were joined by a row of 15 x BMFL Spots on the floor at the back. The upstage BMFLs were used for the transition looks between show sections when pointing forward with spinning gobos creating light curtain effects. The BMFLs on the wing trusses also provided back and side lighting on the palm trees. Adding in gobos to the BMFLs also helped light and through-light the palms.


The 16 x BMFL Blades were all on the front truss. Four of the BMFL Blades were on the four RoboSpot systems, two dedicated to following Craig David closely, with the other two on standby for solos and other specials including band positions and the palm trees. Originally, they envisioned two RoboSpot systems, but soon discovered more were necessary to cover the band, so two more RoboSpots, cameras and BaseStations were added. The operators were all located backstage.


In addition to these luminaires, also on the rig were quantities of wash moving lights, pixel fixtures and strobes. Lighting was programmed onto a GrandMA2 console by Daniel Richardson over ten days starting in his own studio in London ahead of production rehearsals in Nottingham Arena, two days before the first show in the same venue.


It was a galvanising show for Matt Arthur to run, with some of it tightly cued and other parts like the TS5 section where lighting was more improvised, so the design and the programming had to be flexible enough to deal with this. All the video playback content cues were also triggered from the GM2 via a Disguise media server. IMAG camera feeds were sent to the left-and-right side screens, directed by Jamie Cowlin, and keeping everything co-ordinated on the road was production manager Joel Stanley.


(Photos: Daniel Richardson)




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