Entec provides extensive sound and lighting for Latin star’s sold-out charity spectacles.
Three months after supporting Autism Rocks’ highly successful A Tribute To Prince concerts at London’s Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, Entec was back in the house to provide extensive sound and lighting packages for the charity organisation’s latest shows, starring Grammy Award-winning heartthrob Ricky Martin.
Commissioned by AEG Live production manager Allen Spriggs, working in partnership with 117 Live operations manager Malcolm Giles, Entec was brought in to supply the bulk of the production for the two shows around which the ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ star’s One World tour was planned – a punishing schedule covering the Americas, Australasia, the Middle East and continental Europe.
“There was an exceptionally high demand for the Friday [September 23rd] show and tickets were selling like hot cakes for the extra date that we added on the Thursday,” claimed Spriggs. “Ricky’s show design is quite sophisticated and very well rehearsed, so we needed all of Wednesday to load-in and have everything in place, as well as reserve time for a Facebook video to be filmed for a new single [‘Vente Pa’ Ca’ with Maluma].”
The latest Autism Rocks concerts in London saw Entec’s team make a significant contribution alongside staging provider All Access, Transition Video, caterers Eat To The Beat, R. Jameson Event Transport and Ricky Martin’s own touring crew, headed by production manager Rodney Johnson.
THE VISUAL EFFECT
From the outset, Martin’s high-energy show was a genuine visual feast with lighting and video transforming the art deco auditorium into a vibrant atmosphere of celebration.
Lighting director Federico Lafuente, a.k.a. ‘Churry’, ran his side of the production from an MA Lighting grandMA2 full-size console, along with a ‘light’ version for back-up.
For the two Apollo dates, Churry benefitted from the tried and tested skills of Entec lighting crew chief Will Wright and his colleagues Simon Chandler-Honnor, Simon ‘Boff’ Howarth and Sudip Shrestha. Said Wright: “This isn’t a particularly conventional design because there’s no front truss and very little in the way of hanging key light. It’s all about pods of lighting that evolved to work alongside video cubes, with a back wall of beams to reinforce the video.”
Along each side of the performance area was a line of Philips Vari*Lite VL3500 Wash fixtures fitted with PC lenses to partially compensate for the absence of front light whilst giving traditional side light for the dancers and musicians. For pick-ups, there were two Robert Juliat Victor followspots stationed in the classic Apollo positions, enabling relatively close-range beams.
Some of Entec’s most popular fixtures, such as Martin MAC Aura XB LED washes, were deployed for these Autism Rocks shows. While Clay Paky Alpha Spot QWO 800s were hung from the bottom of the afore-mentioned pods, the brand’s Sharpy moving beams were positioned along the hand rails of the riser, either side of the platform on which Martin first appeared following a Kabuki reveal.
As Wright explained, some additional hardware was requested in advance of the second performance. “Adam Stevenson [Entec’s assistant lighting manager] brought down 12 Sunstrip Active DMX stage blinders to be placed at the front of the stage after it was realised that the dancers needed extra light for their downstage solo moments. They really kick out the brightness when used at full intensity, so they were just brought in and out sparingly for some nice tungsten effects, in contrast to the white light that often bathed Ricky.
“Added brightness came from around 16 2-lite Moles – discreetly nestled in between the QWOs – that Churry wanted for stabs and audience pick-ups.”
Other items featured within Entec’s lighting package included a bank of Martin Atomic 3000 strobes, the afore-mentioned Kabuki and a pair of outdoor domes, each used with a VL3000 to facilitate the event’s external branding projection.
One of the industry’s most respected front-of-house sound engineers, Tony Blanc has an enviable career history that dates back to the late ’70s and has been linked with some of music’s biggest names, from Bon Jovi, Sting and Black Sabbath to Steve Winwood, Christina Aguilera and Luther Vandross. The resident FOH mixer on Ricky Martin’s One World tour, Blanc has been enhancing his reputation as a fully hands-on engineer and he personally specified all of the control equipment, radio systems, microphones and ‘specials’ for the Apollo shows, mindful of the fact that he would be feeding the venue’s own L’Acoustics K2 system.