The much-loved St. Louis-based Pink Floyd tribute group El Monstero is something of an institution in the city, often playing a series of shows in the run-up to Christmas at the city’s beautiful The Pageant theatre. In December 2022, they played seven sold-out nights, backed by a fittingly psychedelic lighting design by Chip Self using Vari-Lite VL1600 Profile luminaires.
Self, who is the founder of Midwest lighting production specialist Logic Systems, has been working with El Monstero for more than eight years, and has seen the band rise to Christmas period stardom in St. Louis. “These shows were very production intensive, incorporating audio, video, lighting, lasers, and pyrotechnics,” says Self. “Logic Systems invested in the VL1600 Profile last year, and I wanted to use them on this show because I needed a high CRI key light fixture that could keep up with the overall intensity of the show and maintain a stable look in a very wide variety of colors and light levels.”
The primary VL1600 features Self took advantage of were the variable CTO, variable frost, and the effects wheel. “I was most impressed by the CRI,” he says. “I have tried a lot of different fixtures in that key light position and found that they all tended to change perceived skin tone color depending on what the surrounding colors were. The VL1600 did exceptionally well holding a solid color regardless. The difference from the others was noticeable.”
Self’s design included maximalism effects and hugely saturated colors for some of the most standout setlist tracks. “This can often make it very difficult to render skin tone,” he says. “But the VL1600 did so extraordinarily well. The effects wheel combined with color mixing allowed me to create an old school projection feel that was really cool. I try to push the limits of just how saturated and dramatic I can make a look, and the net result is some gorgeous overall looks.”
El Monstero is made up of musicians from several bands, and they have been performing tribute concerts to Pink Floyd since 1999. The Pageant theatre is one of the most successful venues in America’s Midwest, and celebrated its 23rd birthday in 2023.