Lighting Director, Manny Conde; Production Manager, Christopher Roberts; Video Director, Johnny Hayes; Monitor Engineer, Sean Sturge.
wanted to fire music back and forth from. This time round I have configured it to affect all four hangs, so we can move sound around the arena.” Moving the conversation to the stage, TPi met Sean Sturge in his bunker to talk through his monitor setup. Like Moore, Sturge has also been a longtime DiGiCo user, opting for an SD5 for this run. After changing over from the 32-bit cards on his DiGiCo, the Engineer dubbed it a “very noticeable difference from the last tour, especially when it comes to the drums.” He added: “I like to use the analogy of switching from an Astra to a Ferrari. Both will get you there but one will be much faster!” he exclaimed. It’s not the only features which made DiGiCo an essential part of Drake’s audio fabric, though. “No matter where we are in the world, Drake always finds guest vocalists he wants to bring up to perform. The convenience of the DiGiCo is that you can put guest artists in a pre-mute so they can listen to where they sit in the mix in the IEMS before hitting the stage. I think the pre-mute is one of my most used elements of the desk throughout the run.” For IEMs, Sturge used the Sennheiser G4 packs and receivers along with the Jerry Harvey Roxannes. “They’re the only IEMs which can handle the SPL Drake requires,” enthused Moore. Sennheiser was also the brand of choice for microphones with Drake using the 9000 series. “We’ve been using them for the past three world tours,” he interjected. “We used to have him on the 5200s but one day Sennheiser brought us the 9000 to have a listen to. That night we tried it on a guest artist and loved it so much we just kept it with us. It’s been with us since that day.”
Greeting TPi at Lighting FOH and walking us through the visual elements for the show was touring Lighting Director, Manny Conde. Having been brought on the road at the beginning of the US tour Conde had originally split his time between Lighting and disguise programming. “Prior to the start of the European leg, knowing there would be a lot of new crewmembers, I spent about a month at home where I took everything I had and started putting all the pieces back together,” stated Conde. “I also did a few weeks of previs in LA before going into PRG to prep the tour.” Conde outlined some of the major changes in the lighting rig for this tour. “We are now using Robe BMFLs on the catwalk that leads from the band riser to generate shutter cuts down that runway.” In Conde’s theatrical mind-set, he thought it was “cleaner and more balanced.” A selection of GLP impression X4 Bars, both on the floor and in the grid inside the video banner also contributed to the lighting rig. “One of the main looks I’m using the X4s for is to cross focus on the stage when we have dancers. They provide more fill light for the stage, meaning each dancer is picked up more easily by the audience and the cameras.” Another noteworthy inclusion on the rig was a set of 120 Robe Spikies under the video banner with a selection of Solaris Flares which were deployed on the automated ‘chandelier’, hung within the rectangle video wall. Ground lighting interacted with the Blacktrax system used to follow Drake around the stage. “This time round we have used Martin by Harman MAC Quantum Washes,” he commented. “They have a slightly bigger output and they hit Drake better in a more balanced way.” Handling the BlackTrax on site for the tour was Sam Augustus and Sjors Schlicher who oversaw the tracking system throughout the show. Drake wore small motion detectors that tracked his movements and fed them back to BlackTrax sensors installed on the stage which, in turn, interacted with the Martin by Harman MAC Quantums on the side of the stage. “We worked alongside Drake’s team to provide a 12-camera BlackTrax system to integrate with the prominent visual aspects of the show, Notch and disguise,” commented BlackTrax Assistant Product Manager, Will
VISUAL The look of the Assassination Vacation Tour was certainly striking. With an abundance of LED, the creatives were able to transform the performance space into a variety of environments, from a swimming pool to the basketball court. At the helm of this latest stage rendition was Tour Director Steve Kidd who was also part of the previous Boy Meets World production. This time round, Kidd joined forces with Creative Director, Willo Perron and Lighting Designer, Jesse Blevins. 40