At nearly 70, most people have retired from their working life – that for sure does not apply to Tina Turner. The “Queen of Rock” still has the same if not more power than at the beginning of her illustrious career nearly 50 years ago! After an eight year absence from the stage, she is now back with a world tour spanning North America and Europe that combines everything to make the ultimate Rock ’n’ Roll show. Based on a production design by Baz Halpin and a set design by Mark Fisher of Stufish, Turner is backed by some of today’s finest lighting technology.
2 x grandMA full-size, one as a back-up, and 6 x MA NSPs, (Network Signal Processor) including 2 spares, form the heart of the lighting control for a rig that comprises 80 x Clay Paky Alpha Beam 300s, 64 x Vari*Lite VL 3000 spots, 8 x VL3500 washes as well as Coemar, Syncrolite and Martin fixtures, just to name a few of the moving lights. In total, the lighting consumes 16 DMX universes.
Lighting Designer Baz Halpin explains his show design: “The show is a recap of the last 50 years of the career of one of the most stunning female artists in history. We tried to create a system that was versatile enough to cope with not only the stylistic changes but also the physical changes as the set transforms during the show. The design went through several versions before we settled on the current one. Tina Turner is heavily involved in all aspects of her show. She will have specific ideas on how something should be treated and has a clear vision of how her shows should look.”
“The show is divided by a 30 minute interval”, continues Halpin, “The first section starts off with some older uptempo pop tunes with basic lighting and the focus on the music rather than the production. The second act in the first half is a more production heavy section with songs like private dancer and we don’t need another hero. After the 30 minute interval Tina returns to the stage with the unplugged section which sees the band in a more casual downstage arrangement sitting on bar stools. The final section is the most production heavy part of the show and features the Golden Eye and the Famous Claw. This is also the section where the upstage video wall tracks open to reveal the 80 Alpha Beam 300 which are hung on custom brackets. “
Lighting Director and Operator Kathy Beer worked with Halpin on pre-programming for a week in Los Angeles. “I’ve been working for seven years with the grandMA and the console never let me down. When Baz let me choose the desk for the tour there was no second thought about my favourite tool. I just love the user friendliness of the grandMA. It’s easy to program. Despite the trend to build smaller consoles the grandMA really gives you something to work with. As we use no Timecode in the show it’s good to be able to easily grab faders and buttons. You can totally feel the show,” Beer said with a smile.
With a look to the stage she adds: “The Vari*Lites are damn good lights so I’m very happy to have them in the rig. We have the ‘finger’ trusses over the stage and down on the wings with the VL3000 spots, our gobo lights, and it’s all just basically about the beams. There are eight VL3500 washes used for the cape effect when Tina comes out as the Acid Queen. My favourites are the Clay Paky Alphas. Their beam is similar to an ACL light and very old school but with the difference that these fixtures offer the features of an up-to-date moving light.”
“Thanks to the light weight of the Alpha Beam 300 they could be easily attached to the video screens. They are hung from custom brackets along the sides of the split screens, five per side of the eight screen elements,” Beer explains, “When they are revealed for the first time from behind the V9 screen they make an incredible impact.”
Tina Turner will be on tour till the end of April – she’ll turn 70 on 26th November.
PRG delivered the lighting equipment, Nocturne Productions the video equipment. Ian Tucker is the lighting crew chief, Doug Eder and Thomas Bider work as dimmer technicians. Craig Hancock, Michael Merle, Russell “Bits” Lyons and Stuart Lee are the lighting technicians.