Lighting designer Rich Locklin was called upon to light one of the most prestigious tours of 2006 - Paul Simon - his first time working with America´s seminal singer-songwriter. ´Paul Simon is an American icon,´ Rich commented. ´You don´t go to one of his shows for the lighting; you go for the songs, so I wanted to complement the music in a tasteful way. I tried to program each song as a story. When you think of a particular Paul Simon song you just know what type of lighting goes with it.´
Rich speced an all MAC 700 Profile rig with a handful of conventionals available for support. Lighting control is from a Martin Maxxyz. ´I wanted to take out the latest fixture and learn a new console; it´s been a good exercise.´
Specifying a rig that is all spot fixtures is unique in the world of show touring. ´A wash fixture, that´s all it can do, but a profile can do so much more,´ Rich comments. ´There are so many other elements - effects wheel and extra gobos in the 700 for example, and the gobos that come standard with the fixture are great. I was able to do a lot with them.
´I wrote palettes for hard edge and soft edge looks and threw in beam changes and focus changes. If I want all hard edge I use all hard edge and if I want soft edge I just pull them out of focus. It gives me a lot of flexibility.´
Rich uses the 700´s gobo animation system extensively, throwing graphic effects in the air, stopping them for breakups, or, as a song goes through a scene change, activating it to rotate. On other songs he has them tailed down on pipes or aims them to graze across the velour drape. ´It breaks up the image in an interesting way,´ he says. ´The 700s have really been flawless.´ Rich also uses Color Kinetics ColorBlaze´s on the floor in back helping to light the drape. Downstage is key light from conventionals.
Lighting supply for the Paul Simon tour is by Lite Alternative in the UK while Upstaging handled the summer and fall´s US leg. Rich applauds both firms. ´Both companies have been flawless with their execution, with their service, their crews - just over the top the job that both companies did to make this tour work.´
Rich was shown the Maxxyz console by lighting professional Nook Schoenfeld who also handled the programming for the show. ´I wanted to learn a new console so I chose the Maxxyz,´ Rich states. ´I scripted the show on the Martin ShowDesigner without ever seeing the rig or the fixtures. By production rehearsals I basically had the whole show in the can. Paul Simon does not do a traditional rehearsal. He´ll work on one song - a few measures - for two days so by the time we got to the first show I had only seen 7 songs of a 24 song show. But I was totally comfortable because I had blocked out 24 or 30 songs in the console. The Maxxyz was phenomenal for that. During the day I did focuses and fixed my notes the next day with ShowDesigner. The console has been rock solid.´