11/21/006 Elation Lighting on Widespread Panic tour

Candace Brightman

When drawing up plans for Widespread Panic's 28-date U.S. tour this autumn, lighting designer Candace Brightman wanted the visual show to be as free-wheeling and spontaneous as the group. To accomplish this goal, Brightman, who served as LD for Grateful Dead for 20 years, worked with Andrew Gumper of AG Light & Sound, which assisted in the programming and visual design of the show.

The duo chose a gear package built around eight Power Spot 575IEs and 32 Power Wash 575Es moving heads from Elation Professional. Three truss arches were constructed over the stage, with the eight Power Spots being positioned on the centre arch. The Power Washes were placed eight each on four separate strips of trussing encircling the stage, two extending diagonally at the front, and two running along the sides of the stage perpendicular to the arches.

"Candace was looking for something different," said James Watral of AG Light & Sound. "The Power Spots produce an amazingly varied palette of colours and array of effects over centre stage. They can create virtually any visual look you want."

The Power Spot 575IE's effects include: a full-functioning Iris, 11 colours plus white and UV, 16 replaceable gobos on two wheels with gobo overlaying, a built-in 4.9mW red laser, and a 3-facet rotating prism. The Spots' versatility fits in with Candace's creative vision of "having a mish-mash of everything coming together in unison," said Watral. The Power Wash 575E wash effects are used to splash colour around the stage and out into the audience.

Both of the 575-watt fixtures were also chosen because of the "brightness versus cost" factor, according to Watral. "They're brighter than 300s, but very reasonably priced for their high output."

Upon seeing the Power Spot 575IEs in action at the tour's first stop at Radio City Music Hall in New York, Brightman said she found their brightness "amazing". She also was impressed by the Power Wash 575E's 8°-22° zoom.

Another benefit of the Power Spot 575IEs and Power Wash 575Es is that they come in a compact case the size of a 250-watt fixture. Their innovative small case design, along with their lightweight electronic ballasts, make them ideal for touring, said Watral.

"The Power Spots and Washes are definitely good to work with," commented Watral. "From a service standpoint, they stand up really well on tour."

Chris Henry for L&SiOnline