Geoff Buckley has invested in a new Avolites Pearl Expert console, which had its first outing on the recent James UK tour.
This saw the original band, headed by charismatic front man Tim Booth, perform live for the first time in nearly 6 years – to great critical and popular acclaim.
Geoff – also known as “Tea-and-Toast” on tour – has worked for the band for the last 18 years. They hit the road again after a substantial break, with a new energy and vitality, plus a new album due out later in the year. These initial gigs were to test the water and interest in their loyal fan-base, which has very much proved to be still bubbling for them even after this substantial break.
Geoff has owned Avolites desks of one sort or another for some years and has always been a big fan of the brand, and particularly a massive Pearl fan, right from the outset. When this came up, and he was asked onboard, he seized it as a great opportunity to test out the new Pearl Expert console, “It was the perfect tool for this type of show” he declares, deciding to put his money where his mouth was!
He received no specific creative brief for the James show, other than the fact that – as with all artists on the road today – they expected a bigger and better production than that of the last tour at the end of 1990s!
While news of the reunion reverberated with great enthusiasm among James fans around the country, tuning into this vibe, Buckley reverted to his first three golden rules for successful medium-sized stage lighting design, “Does it fit in the gig, in the truck and in the budget!”.
The tour was playing a full variety of venues – from Academies to the Manchester Evening News Arena – which was completely sold out! With practicality to the fore, he designed a modular rig that could simply be added to for the larger shows – in theory without too much reprogramming.
As has always been the case with James, the set list changed dramatically each night, so the best way to run the shows was to busk them – again absolutely ideal circumstances for the Pearl Expert.
“I think the split roller is pure genius” says Geoff “it’s great for ‘mixing and matching’.” He maximises the facility by running all his moving lights on one side of the roller and all the generics on the other.
The rest of the lighting equipment was supplied by Neg Earth. The standard version of the rig consisted of two 40ft trusses (increasing to 3 at 60ft for the arenas). The moving lights were a mix of High End Systems X-Spots (16 in the standard set up and 30 for the arenas) spread over all trusses, and these were also used as projectors onto an upstage cyc.
There were 14 Atomic strobes, used strategically on a couple of numbers, plus PARs, plus 20 Source Four profiles and 20 Source Four Parnels with the new ChromaQ Plus scrollers offering 20 different colours.
Then there were 8 “Fag-Pods”, consisting of 9-lite DWEs with an atomic strobe in the middle and a large scroller covering the whole fixture.
All of this was controlled by the Pearl Expert. Geoff is extremely pleased with his investment, commenting, “It’s a Pearl, therefore I knew it would be a good experience”.