Robert Juliat Followspots Roll Out With Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” Tour
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band’s “Wrecking Ball” tour continues to roll across the country with three Manon, eight Topaze, and four Lancelot followspots from Robert Juliat. The Boss is touring in support of his 17th studio album, also called “Wrecking Ball,” with an electrifying series of concerts featuring a number of technical innovations.
Robert Juliat followspots first went on tour with Bruce Springsteen in 2007, on the “Magic” Tour. Lighting designer, Jeff Ravitz, of Intensity Advisors in North Hollywood, California, wanted to use Manon and Topaze spots in the truss for their optical quality but he also needed the spots to have electronic power supplies to insure there were no frequency interference issues with the video system on the tour. Robert Juliat got together with Morpheus Lights, of Las Vegas, Nevada, the production company for the tour, and created a hybrid that married the RJ heads with a Morpheus electronic power supply – the RJE™ Electronic Ballast – and produced one-piece truss spots that have been a great success.
Ravitz says, “followspots are one of the most important lighting tools” for the show. “Most of the band is on the move at all times. And the artist is very tuned into the qualities of good stage lighting – and also good cinematic lighting as portrayed on the IMAG screens. So, to solve these possibly mutually exclusive demands, we’ve created lighting positions for followspots that are ideal for the best lighting angles. Therefore, we need to carry our own spots for these positions.”
Ravitz explains that eleven truss-mounted spots help him light the band in a way that doesn’t necessarily adhere to the conventions of traditional house followspots. “The house followspots are often at low, flat angles and spill all over the surfaces behind the performers,” he notes. “Our spots are used for front key light, side light and back light.”
Ravitz says he chose Manon and the Topaze for several reasons. “They allow me control of the lights’ optics that few truss-sized spots provide. We can make many detailed adjustments, and we know we’ll get a consistent result night after night on the road. The field, the iris imaging and the focus are capable of delivering the results we require. And the operator controls are also quite user friendly. We’ve been very happy with the results.”
The four 4000W Lancelot HTI followspots are used on stadium shows to “capture Bruce when he comes downstage to the stage apron, out onto the thrust and when he “surfs” the audience to a small island “B” stage located in the “pit” area in front of the stage ” says Paul Weller of Morpheus Lights. “They’re positioned on the sound delay towers along with additional audience lighting”