Tracy Chapman World Tour goes to grandMA2

Glen Johnson - Tracy ChapmanThe current Tracy Chapman tour lightshow has been re-programmed on to the new grandMA2 platform for its European and US legs. The show - which has been out since last year and is reaching its final stages - is designed by UK-based Paul Normandale. It was originally programmed onto a grandMA full-size by Canadian Lighting Director/Operator Graeme Nichol. Due to other commitments, he couldn't work the final sections, so the role of lighting director was assumed by Glen Johnson from the UK.

Johnson had just been using a grandMA2 light on the Maximo Park tour, and was very happy running the version 2 software, while rental company Lite Alternative has also just invested in grandMA2 consoles. So he and Normandale made a joint decision to re-programme the Chapman tour onto grandMA 2.

Johnson did this using a grandMA2 ful-size and a visualiser, which was particularly helpful, and it took only a day. "It's not like you are learning a new console - all the features that everyone loves from the grandMA ‘series 1’ are great on the grandMA2". He then transferred the show onto a grandMA2 light for the European tour, taking another light for backup - supplied, together with all the lighting hardware by Lite Alternative. In the US, Chicago-based Upstaging is supplying two grandMA2 full size consoles.

Johnson is a great fan of the grandMA2 system, and there have been two software updates since the Maximo Park tour which have added yet more features and functionality. He specifically likes the large, tactile touch screens, and the fact that the console is completely user-configurable. "It's hugely flexible and provides you with big, simple building blocks that you can set up exactly as you like". The faders are "gorgeous" he says, adding that he keeps being impressed by the speed and ease of programming. He thinks the light is an ideal "compact and neat" size for small to medium tours and venues ... and of course, above all, "Really reliable".

Normandale's design breaks the mould of traditional cued light shows, and follows a 'passage of time' concept, based on a sunrise and sunset taking place over a 45 minute crossfade, denoting a journey of progression that is independent of any of the songs.

The rig is a mixture of Martin moving lights, 9 x 48-way ColorBlaze LED strips run in multi-cell mode, 12 MR16 birdies, 10 x profiles and 9 x 1000 Watt light bulbs dangling on different length cords over the stage. These are controlled by the artist via a footswitch pedal that fires one of the grandMA2 cue stacks.

The sun is projected by various different fixtures - according to the time of day - onto a white upstage cyc, its movement triggered through the console via 20 cues in the sunrise/sunset stack. It rises on stage right and sets on stage left.

All the cue stacks all have multiple timings applied, which is extremely easy to do with the grandMA2. The console is also triggering 4 layers of video content stored on an Arkaos media server.