Country music legend Chris Stapleton returned with his All-American Road Show following a pandemic-enforced 15-month hiatus. The show, which features a stunning Vari-Lite VL800 EVENTPAR wall of light, has been illuminating arenas across North America since July 2021 and will continue to do so well into 2022.
Taking conceptual direction from Stapleton himself, Creative Director Becky Fluke and Lighting Designer Calvin ‘Mac’ Mosier created film-like lighting, centered around the wall of light. It comprises 388 VL800 EVENTPAR RGBA and 12 VL800 EVENTPAR WW luminaires used as ACLs, supplied by concert touring specialists Premier Global Production.
The LED-powered luminaires, which offer classic styling, color and output, impressed Mac from the outset. The LD, who has worked with Prince, Tina Turner, Madonna, Lady Gaga and James Taylor over his 30-plus year career, recalls: “When I first saw the VL800 back in 2019, I thought it was great, so I got one and showed it to Chris and Becky and they both loved it, particularly the colors it produces. Soon after that, Chris came up with the wall of light idea.”
The show design, which uses lighting and video in the most integrated way Mac has experienced over his 45-year career, features live content played on the 12ft high x 56ft wide screen that spans the top of the stage. Using layering and some creative camera work, Fluke is able use the screen as an extension of the wall of light. Fluke comments: “The way the video wall sits on top, it really needed to marry nicely. We're shooting the VL800s as a layer on the video wall, as we wanted it to really feel cohesive in that way. Certain cameras are just pointed at lights, so it feels like an extension of the lighting rig.” This is made possible by the VL800 EVENTPAR’s adjustable frequency, which can be set to exceed camera frame rates.
Mac also incorporated some vintage Vari-Lite VL3500 luminaires into the show, deploying nine along the top of the rig and eight on the floor. “The VL3500s must be 19 years old or something like that - they’re such a classic workhorse. Vari-Lite produces the best color, so having the VL3500s be able to blast through there from the floor and up top, it looks great. There’s so much depth.”
Support for the production has been plentiful from both Vari-Lite and Premier Global Production, as Mac explains: “When we started back up, Vari-Lite sent a tech to Premier Global and updated all the hardware and software – they’ve been really supportive. Similarly, with Premier Global, whatever you need, you get it. They give us such personal attention and take care of us.”
Premier Global Productions’ Vice President of Sales James Vollhoffer says: “It’s a pleasure to supply this show and we appreciate the mutual respect and support we have with Vari-Lite. When Covid hit, we all worked together to stay on track for when touring restarted and it was worthwhile. The show looks great - Mac's a very talented designer. The VL800 brings that retro par can look but with modern technology. It's a noteworthy product, we're seeing plenty of interest in it.”