London, UK – British prog-rock band, Marillion, completed a special UK tour in November, culminating in two nights at the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London. The ‘Marillion With Friends From The Orchestra’ dates, which coincided with the 40th anniversary of the band and the 30th anniversary of Steve Hogarth as its lead singer, saw the band joined by Brussels-based string quartet, In Praise Of Folly, along with Emma Halnan on flute and Sam Morris on French horn.
Once again, Marillion’s highly inventive lighting designer Yenz Nyholm was tasked with delivering the required level of spectacle for these celebratory shows. “My brief called firstly for ‘big’, and then for ‘bright,'” said Nyholm. “With 11 people on the stage, we needed a lot of coverage. We used video with all the songs, so the wash lights needed to cut through against the brightness of the LED wall.”
To achieve this, Nyholm enlisted the new, LED-based VL2600 WASH luminaire from Vari-Lite. “My main priority was output,” he says. “We had been touring a different wash light for a while, but found it wasn’t cutting through against the video. Plus, we needed to match the colors of the video content to the lighting, so we wanted a wash that could go from subtle to bright, saturated colors, without losing output.”
He was also certain of the need for LED as a light source. “With all those people on stage, and not always with much trim height available, it was important to reduce the heat from the fixtures,” he says.
Nyholm was first introduced to the VL2600 WASH by none other than the band’s former lighting designer, Steve Finch, now with lighting rental provider Siyan Ltd, where he handles the Marillion account for Nyholm. “I showed them to Yenz when we started looking at the Marillion tour design some time ago,” says Finch. “He needed a brighter fixture than those we’d used in the past, but still with a good zoom and beam edge.”
It soon emerged that the VL2600 WASH fixtures met Nyholm’s and the band’s requirements on every front. “Their output and color is amazing,” Nyholm says. “The color really stands out, from the deepest blue to the brightest yellow. And it’s very even. From the biggest zoom to smallest beam, the consistency is remarkable across my whole rig. And they’re reliable too,” he adds. “We haven’t had any problems in over 30 shows.”
Nyholm positioned the 14 VL2600 WASH fixtures on his rear truss, providing general color coverage across the performance area. In this, he found an added advantage in the fixture’s compact size. “For small tours, and on a budget, it’s not only easier to fit them in the truck, but also to fit 14 of them, along with eight spots, on a single truss,” he says.