Punjabi singer, songwriter, superstar, award winning actor and ‘Living Legend’ Gurdas Maan returned to the UK on his ‘Ishq Da Giddha’ tour and once again asked London based technical solutions provider Entec to supply lighting design and equipment for the two largest shows – at the LG Arena in Birmingham and Wembley Arena in London.
Entec’s Project Manager Noreen O’Riordan – who also worked on the last Gurdas Maan UK tour in 2011 – asked Lighting Designer Martin Brennan to bring his wealth and diversity of experience to the aesthetic equation, and create an appropriate design for Maan, who was accompanied onstage by a 10 piece band.
The actual lighting brief – inasmuch as there was one – evolved over a number of hours whilst programming for the first show. “It was a massive challenge,” recalls Brennan, and one with many different criteria to fulfil – including focussing the attention on Maan without any visual distractions, giving the stage a sense of spectacle at times to fit with the high profile of the shows – as well as a good general ambience. He was also required to pull the audience into the onstage action.
The rig was based on three straight 48ft trusses, and the moving lights were 20 Martin MAC 700 Washes, eight rigged on the front, six on the mid and another six on the back truss, with 16 Vari*Lite 3000s – eight on the mid and eight on drop arms on the back, forming a crescent shape.
These were joined by 18 x MAC 250 Beams, six on the back, six on the mid truss and the remainder sitting on the tops of six vertical trussing towers on the floor.
The inside two towers stood at 2.5 metres high, the middle two measured two metres and the outer two were 1.5 metres each, together mirroring the crescent of Vari*Lites on the truss above. Each tower was warmed by internally mounted i-Pix Satellites.
On the audience facing rail of the front truss were six 8-lite Moles. The back of the stage was wrapped in a huge Pea-light starcloth, and two house follow spots were uitilised in each venue to highlight Maan and various solos.
For control, Brennan used a grandMA full size – his console of choice. Entec also supplied a grandMA light for use as a technical desk for focusing, etc.
Entec’s crew were Phil Lee, Sven Jolly and Will Wright. “They were fantastic,” states Brennan emphatically, “Each day the rig flew up in no time at all, they had a great sense of humour and made my life very easy!”
His big task during the three hour show itself was reflecting all the multi layered moods and nuances and ensuring that it did not become repetitive. There were many songs of a religious nature which needed careful and considered treatment.
Little or no haze was permitted, so any trickery based on beam-work or ‘structural’ lighting was out!
He really had to use his ingenuity and imagination to keep it looking dramatic and fresh as well as delivering the high levels of audience illumination required for Maan to see his fans and interact with them.
“It was a different approach to what was essentially an epic show on stage and I really learned a lot,” comments Brennan.
He works regularly with Entec in many different capacities and says, “The service was exemplary. As always, Noreen brought her many years of expertise to the table and went far above-and-beyond the call of duty to ensure great value engineering and an excellent rig for the budget, which gave me plenty of scope”.
He adds that the catering – genuine Indian and Punjabi supplied by the promoter – was “Also absolutely outstanding!”
Story & Photography by Louise Stickland