LM5: The Tour
Almost a decade after first coming together and shooting to fame on the X-Factor, pop sensations Little Mix hit the road with their sixth concert tour, in support of their fifth studio album. Fans were treated to hit after hit as Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Jade Thirlwall and Leigh-Anne Pinnock put on an inspirational and empowering performance.
ER Productions proved once again that they’ve got the laser power, providing a host of laser fixtures that included 10 of their newest beam fixtures, the Beam-ER, to project bold, full-colour 6w beams around the stage and arena venues. The rig comprised of 10 Kinekts on the shards and side lasers, eight BB3s on the column lifts and four EX15s for scanning. The 10 Beam-ERs pointed downstage for static looks, all controlled via Beyond Ultimate NPC and High End Systems Hog 4 for the DMX fixtures. For Laser Programmer Andrew Turner, this was the first time using the Beam-ERs, which he hails as “a great experience…using ER’s proprietary DMX software means these units have a huge field of movement. Perfect for creating multiple beam focuses across the stage area and choreographed to terminate onto stage areas away from the performers”.
Innovative design and skilled programming brought together a dazzling display of lasers, which supplemented the powerful live performance that has come to be expected from one of the most successful girl groups in history. Turner shared details of the collaborative process of integrating the lasers with the rest of the show: ‘It was a great experience working with such a high-profile act as little Mix…we had a very clear brief from the guys at Blackskull Creative for numbers such as Only You/Black Magic and Secret Love Song, then, as always with these things, moments in the show that naturally lend themselves to lasers revealed themselves - we are always on the look-out for those in the rehearsal period!” During the final EDM part of Black Magic, Turner worked off Blackskull’s brief to deliver a slow build, ending in a big ravey crescendo, with fast sweeping beams adding a lot of energy to the girls’ already energetic performance. “We kept the colour palette simple, mainly whites and cyans, which we know will usually give us the brightest looks” explains Turner, “A very fun number to programme!”.
In addition to the remix of powerful pop hits, ‘Only You’ into ‘Black Magic’, ER lasers also brought the wow-factor during the show’s closing track, ‘Touch’. The laser looks in ‘Touch’ were very content driven, with epic video footage displaying as a giant backdrop to the girls’ stage performance. There was a lot of production in play, with plenty of pyro, waterfalls and big lighting, as well as the video. The lasers echoed the bright teals and cyans with accents of oranges and reds that were present in the video content. Turner comments, ‘Utilising tight looks and sticking to this colour palette enabled us to seamlessly fit in and enhance this number’.
Lasers took centre stage during the dancer interlude, providing a stunning laser show, perfectly choreographed to ‘Forget You Not’, and also provided a striking rainbow backdrop during the band’s more intimate rendition of ‘Secret Love Song’. Turner is a self-proclaimed massive fan of colour in lasers, and singles out this number as being his personal favourite, “When asked to create a big rainbow look I think I created about 50 in total, tweaking hue’s and gradients, with different oscillating looks throughout the rehearsal period, all the way up till the final rehearsal, to get the ultimate ethereal look that Jay (from Blackskull) was after.”
Putting together such a comprehensive production is not without its challenges, and ER Productions are always mindful of the safety aspects when designing and programming. Expertly plotting the laser positions involves complimenting the staging design, using as much space as possible, but simultaneously ensuring that the lasers pose no risk to performers. The use of particular innovative products makes this achievable – 10 x DMX Lifting Columns were spread across the entire width of the stage and were screwed into the deck to ensure stability. Using these meant that the BB3 lasers could be kept at a very low position for the entire show, before being lifted to height a few seconds before a laser number. This meant that not only would the lasers would be above head height of any performers on stage, they also created interesting shapes by experimenting with different layers of heights.