US rockers Panic! at the Disco’s Viva Las Vengeance arena tour traveled across America in fall 2022 with a 70s and 80s rock-influenced, high-octane show. Celebrated production designer Sooner Routhier worked closely with the band and their management to design and build the show, collaborating with Alex Specht as Associate Lighting Designer/Lighting Director and André Petrus as Associate Production Designer/Lighting Programmer.
Together, they created a design that would take the audience back to the early days of large arena rock productions, as the band played their new album in its entirety in Act II of the show. (Acts I and III saw the group treat fans to their biggest hits.)
Conjuring up rich colors and sharp beams were 128 Vari-Lite VL2600 PROFILE luminaires, which were rigged in eight pods flown above stage left and stage right, in view of the audience and rigged to showcase Routhier’s inspired design.
“We needed a lot of the same type of fixture for the pods, and I had demoed the VL2600s a couple of weeks prior to the tour bid process and loved the idea of having a massive amount of them in the air. I also knew that André and Alex would program some incredible looks with that number of powerful profiles. The VL2600s are perfect. There are tons of features making cuing and effects diverse. They were able to make the lights look like washes for some cues and huge gobo looks for others.”
Alex Specht has worked as Panic! at the Disco’s lighting designer since 2014 and collaborated with Routhier to maximize what the VL2600 fixtures could offer. “The LED engine was one of the main things that made the VL2600s right for this project,” says Specht. “I’m most impressed with the zoom and iris ranges, which helped separate the looks of each act. The VL2600s helped us create sharp beams and aerial gobo scenes for Acts I and III in the show, and a wider ‘par can’ feel for Act II. I feel we found a balance of light, video, and negative space, with each feature showcased well when the time comes to shine. The VL2600s played their parts spot on.”
Programmer André Petrus controlled both the lighting and the video aspects to the show. “Vari-Lite has always used high-quality glass and it shows,” he says. “The rich color of this LED profile was in my opinion the most impressive feature. And when it comes to brightness, we spent a good amount of time balancing this with the video. Just because the light can go to 100, doesn’t mean you have to take it there. The VL2600s still cut through even at high trim.”
The VL2600 luminaires were supplied to the Viva Las Vengeance arena tour by PRG.