Germany – Udo Lindenberg, one of Germany’s biggest and most enduring rock stars, took to the road again this spring on his Live 2019 tour. Veteran lighting designer Günter Jäckle is once again responsible for the visual design of Lindenberg’s extraordinary production madness, and is including 22 Vari-Lite VL6000 Beams in his touring rig to fulfil a variety of specific duties.
“I think 95% of Germans know the name Udo Lindenberg,” says Jäckle, who has worked with the star for the past 35 years. “Udo’s show is always a special thing – he likes to make it much more than a concert tour. It’s like a rock and roll circus, revue, craziness, freak-show, rock show – everything. Udo is a guy who likes to give the value to the audience; he spends his money on making a big show. With Udo, it is possible to do special things. This makes it interesting, and a bit different, of course.”
With all this activity, both on-stage and out in the auditorium, Jäckle has to strike a balance between theatrical, scenic lighting techniques and supercharged rock and roll show lighting. “Sometimes we have 50 or 60 people on the stage doing something – dancing, or flying. The first thing for me is to be a director, to allow the audience to see what they should see, and not what they should not.”
At the same time, he must keep to his design priorities. “My philosophy is that the star must be in the foreground - not the lightshow, or the design,” he says. “Also, we don’t make effects because we want to, we make effects because we have a reason. Maybe we start the show with a rocket, so we need fire and flame - the effects follow from there. This is one reason for choosing the VL6000 Beam.”
Jäckle employs the VL6000’s many attributes in a variety of ways. During Star Trip, for example, he uses the fixture’s aerial effects capability to create a “starfield” look. At another time, he focuses all 22 VL6000 units on a ‘UFO’ as it flies over the stage. “I use them as pointing sticks to bring the focus of the audience to the object,” he says.
The VL6000 also makes a bold appearance in Lindenberg’s anti-war song, Wozu Sind Kriege Da? (Why are there wars?). “Udo wanted a strong image, a searchlight effect, and the VL6000 is the only light I know which can do this. It’s like an 80s SkyTracker, with this big, strong beam look. And, of course, the optic of the light itself is special, unique. It’s retro, but it’s also modern.”
For Jäckle, the ‘modern’ includes the VL6000’s color capability. He says, “For this, it is the perfect light. It’s really rare to have something that’s so different from other lights. You can create these big light beams, but still have the modern possibilities of the colors, and with the frost you can even light scenery. So this is the perfect mix for me - the atmosphere and function, and then on top, the lighting effect.”
Jäckle adds, “My second reason for choosing the VL6000 Beam is that for my whole career, Vari-Lite was my light. I still think that Vari-Lite is the best in the optical system, and in being reliable, so it is always a product I really use. It’s not a light that I must use, it’s a light that I want to use.”
And he will certainly find other creative ways to use them as the tour progresses. “I look forward to finding out what things I can do with them!” he says.
Jäckle concludes, “Everybody from the crew who sees the VL6000s says ‘Wow, that’s something different’, or ‘That looks cool!’. It definitely takes people’s attention. For a special project, it’s a unique light. Even sound people can see that it is special!”