George Ezra’s lighting director Chris Taylor and production manager Jake Vernum were very happy to see Robe on the lighting specs for the recent Australia and New Zealand legsof the popular UK singer/songwriter’s “Gold Rush Kid” tour.
Eleven Robe MegaPointes on the upstage truss have been present throughout the whole tour which kicked off in Spring in the UK and Ireland, then extended into a lengthy festival section as Ezra and his highly talented band delighted audiences across Europe.
The original show and lighting/set design by Cate Carter is being overseen and co-ordinated on the road by Chris Taylor, and the earlier sections of the tour have also featured two Robe RoboSpot systems running with two FORTE moving lights which everyone loved!
The Auckland show, staged at the Spark arena, was an all-Robe rig – apart from the strobes and ten 2K fresnel ‘specials’on stands – with all kit supplied by leading NZ rental specialist, Spot-Light Systems.
This was the only New Zealand date, preceded by a show in Dubai on the way there and followed up by the four gigs across Australia.
A total of 38 x BMFL WashBeams on the rig in Auckland were distributed on two side torms with the balance of fixturesalong the floor at the back and on the front truss. They wereused for front and cross-stage washes and specials, and theones on the deck for high impact effects, both integrating and contrasting to the high level MegaPointes on the upstage truss.
Five Robe LEDWash 600s a side were positioned on the downstage corners of the stage for front kickers, and all the lights worked hard throughout the show which was a lively and dynamic mix of new material and some of the chart-topping bangers that have helped rocket George Ezra to prominence.
One of the practical design modifications to the full show for this segment was running without a large upstage LED screen and a scenic LED-lined frame, two major aesthetic elements that were replaced with a printed backdrop from Showtexcovered by a gauze to allow it to be front and back lit, appearing and disappearing through the set.
This meant a lot more work to ramp the drama and excitementwas down to lighting as the bespoke video content had been directly related to the show narrative, and Chris Taylor createdplenty of presence and atmosphere. Ezra is also renowned for his connection to his fans especially when playing live, andthe energy of the performance was ideally suited to this more utilitarian setting.
Chris considers MegaPointe “the best beam fixture” on the market currently, and it is a favourite of his for “flexibility, versatility and the sheer amount of air effects and different looks you can get from them”. He and Jake both mention that MegaPointes are also readily available almost everywhere in the world.
Chris notes that the colour matching between the different ranges of Robe fixtures – even from different eras – is “excellent,” giving great continuity.
Chris was super impressed with the Robe FORTES as follow spots on the earlier part of the tour, and while they didn’t have these in New Zealand – the Spark Arena’s in house conventional spots were used – he was pleased they were back on the rider for Australia, albeit with BMFL WashBeamsrather than FORTES!
Kit for the Australian shows was supplied by MPH Productions for Melbourne, Sydney & Brisbane, and Showscreens for Perth.
Chris programmed and operated lighting using a grandMA2 console.
Jake ensured that the touring machine was slick and well organised for everyone involved, both from their touring party and all the local representatives and crew’s perspective, and they were all excited about being properly able to travel again after two years of Covid!
Everyone involved was relishing the chance to work in Australia and New Zealand again. “The people are friendly and efficient,” stated Jake, “the suppliers are very competent, the kit is good and well maintained, production values are high, the food is delicious, and the weather is – usually – fantastic. It’s good to be back after three years!”
Big things are on the horizon next year in the George Ezra camp, with an arena tour and another extensive festival runbeing lined up.
Photos: Louise Stickland.