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A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor

MDG Hazers, Clay Paky Sharpys and grandMA Take to the Road with Bruce Springsteen

The Boss is back on tour in support of his 17th studio album, “Wrecking Ball,” with an electrifying series of concerts featuring a number of technical innovations to enhance the experience. Las Vegas-based Morpheus Lights is providing MDG AtmosphereAPS hazers, Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures and a grandMA lighting control platform for the US and European tour of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. A.C.T Lighting is the distributor of MDG, Clay Paky and grandMA products in the U.S

Morpheus Lights worked closely with Springsteen’s lighting designer, Jeff Ravitz, of Los Angeles based, Intensity Advisors, to meet his specifications for the look The Boss likes to present to his sold-out audiences. But for this tour the look took some new directions.

“For years we have avoided atmospherics – we were told that Bruce didn’t want them and didn’t like the idea,” says Paul Weller of Morpheus Lights. “But this year, with the addition of Clay Paky Sharpys to the lighting inventory, the question of haze came up. One of the main reasons to use haze is to enhance the effect of the Sharpy fixtures. You really can’t see the beams of the Sharpys unless you have somthing that helps them “paint” the air.”

Ravitz agrees that haze “allows for lighting to have a little more tangible quality. But hazers have never been permitted because of the vocal issues, and that has forced us into a particular style of design. Nevertheless, over the years Bruce has done shows in misty rain and smoky arenas and we could see the advantages: The haze makes for interesting visual compositions. So when we put the Wrecking Ball Tour together, the management asked me to use haze subtly.”

Weller talked to MDG about the benefits of its AtmosphereAPS hazer, which has become the industry standard in haze generators. Atmosphere is known for is extremely quiet operation and long hanging times. It produces continuous or momentary haze emission, has a DMX interface and features an exclusive Automatic Purging System to prevent build up and clogging.

“The Atmosphere is a mineral oil-based hazer that puts out very fine particles, comparative to other units” Weller explains. “The smaller particle means that the haze “hangs” longer so you need to put less of it into the air, and that means the performers are affected less. We’re told that the MDG Atmosphere is more singer-friendly than glycol-based hazers which can dry out the throat and affect the performers voice.”

“It was crucial that the haze be voice friendly,” Ravitz emphasizes. “Bruce gives his voice a very thorough workout on stage. Research showed that MDG hazers were considered tried and true equipment on Broadway where the voice is so important. So we brought them into rehearsal and set them pretty far from the stage to fill the arena in a very even way. They enhanced what we had done; we weren’t using them as a crutch. Bruce and the other performers didn’t object to the MDG Atmospheres and, in fact, recognized the hazers were taking a well-composed show to another level.”

Weller calls the Atmosphere “a very solid unit that’s performed very well. The Automatic Purging System means there’s no heavy maintenance.”

The hazers are used in tandem with 28 Sharpys – 16 positioned below the stage shooting up through plexiglass windows that replace part of the deck on the custom-built Tait Towers stage plus 6 Sharpys each on two vertical side trusses shooting from left and right.

“Historically, the show’s design had been oriented very horizontally to allow for maximum sightlines from every angle,” Ravitz points out. “We decided to add some Sharpys in a vertical “stack” so we could play around with something we never really had before. We found positions to place two twenty-foot vertical trusses that give us a very dynamic look. And now that we’re adding haze, the Sharpys really pay off.”

Ravitz notes that Springsteen’s look is still about subtlety, however. “We’ve forced ourselves to be minimal, but we’re still having a lot of fun with the Sharpys. Sometimes they’re used with no color, sometimes with deep color, and sometimes we ballyhoo them. We feel we’ve found the right balance.

“The crew tells me that the Sharpys are pretty bulletproof and are working great every day,” he adds.

The grandMA continues to perform loyal service to Springsteen’s tours, acting as the automated lighting control console for the Wrecking Ball concerts.

About A.C.T Lighting

A leading importer and distributor of lighting products, A.C.T Lighting, Inc. strives to identify future trends and cutting-edge products, and stock, sell and support their inventory. The company provides superior customer service and value for money to all of its clients.

For more information call 818-707-0884.

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June 2012
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