Farrell and Bugos were aided in the sound department by Entec’s James ‘Kedge’ Kerridge and Rik Hart – the latter taking care of the RF elements of the production.
Whilst directing the overall technical operation, Farrell admitted that he has maintained a “hands-off” approach when it comes to lighting Rogers’ shows, leaving this responsibility to seasoned lighting director Jeff Metter, a South African with US citizenship who, according to Farrell, “commutes from South Africa about once a month so Delta Airlines love him.”
Metter also joined the team in the early ’90s after chalking up a diverse range of credits with the likes of The Grateful Dead, the Stones, Lenny Kravitz, The Beach Boys and Madonna. “You mean Daisy,” grinned Metter. “That was my pet name for her when I worked with her on the Who’s That Girl tour back in ’87,” he added, offering proof by way of a photo portraying him in his hairy, bare-chested youth with the Material Girl herself.
Supported in London by Entec crew members Simon Chandler-Honnor, Andy Emmerson and Niall Hannell, the LD recently upgraded to a grandMA2 console, supplied by Entec with an On-PC Command Wing as part of a package that included Clay Paky Alpha Spot QWO800s, Sharpy Wash 330s, Martin LED Stage Bar 2s and PixelRange PixelPar 44s distributed on stands around the perimeter of the performance area.
The main feature of the stage was a series of six elegant towers formed by hoops and white gauze, under-lit by a single Sharpy Wash to produce a stylish gradient effect.
Entec’s package also included conventional overhead lighting in the form of ETC Source Fours, Thomas 8-Lite Molefays and floor cans, 750W halogen HPL lamps and 250W ACLs, and a pair of Robert Juliat Victor followspots.
END OF AN ERA
Frank Farrell was delighted to find the Palladium included on his boss’s tour itinerary for the first time. “It’s great to see how they’ve remodelled the backstage area,” he said. “It’s made life a lot easier and looks very smart. One of the things that we particularly like about British audiences is that they pay attention – they’re really listening to the music and Kenny appreciates that.”
Unlike many farewell tours that have preceded eventual comebacks, Rogers’ is a genuine goodbye that will soon reach the end of the road on American home turf, stated Farrell. “Kenny’s mobility has been suffering and despite some corrective surgery he still has some trouble walking. He does, however, retain a good voice, which is obviously important as a performer.
“We’ve had to a drop key here and there with some songs to help his range but it doesn’t detract from the experience. When he starts those iconic numbers it’s unmistakably Kenny Rogers and we’re all very proud of what he does. I hope I’m as healthy, wise and in such good spirits when I reach his age.”
Photography by Mark Cunningham