Joe Walsh live in concert on his “Walsh Toor 2016”
LOS ANGELES - October 2016 -- On a tour where the only constant is uncertainty about each day’s lighting rig, perks like ease of use, flexibility and quick programming make up the hat trick of must-haves. Lighting designers Danny Sinclair and Alex Furlan depend on Avolites consoles and media servers to provide all three, a fact perfectly exemplified on their recent tour with classic rocker Joe Walsh, which carried a compact Avolites Quartz lighting control console paired with a Titan Mobile Wing, plus Avolites’ Ai media servers to run the tour’s video imaging.
Walsh’s career has been long, storied, and covered every base there is in terms of production; he has been a bandleader (James Gang), solo artist and member of perhaps the biggest classic rock band of all time, The Eagles. In this post-Eagles incarnation (the band basically ceased to exist with the death of co-founder Glenn Frey earlier this year), touring has been, literally, all over the map.
“We have had larger venues all the way down to smaller clubs,” Sinclair explains. “Earlier this year, we were co-headlining with Bad Company, and that let us open up production. We had a video wall, for example. On this leg of the tour, known as ‘Walsh Toor 2016’, we literally do not know what we are walking into or what kind of rig we are going to see until we get to the venue. At almost every gig there is some kind of curveball that we have to compensate for—be it the trim height, stage depth or rig itself—which pretty much means that we end up reprogramming a large part of the show on a daily basis. Thankfully, the Avo system makes that a lot easier than one might think.”
“We have a consistent idea of what we want to get across, but we add and take away based on the show and venue,” Furlan says. Sinclair points to this year’s 9/11 show where they added a number of images and video clips honoring first responders as an example.
Because the tour is not carrying full production, size—as in compactness—is key, and the two Avolites control surfaces nicely fit into a single flight case. “It’s all about doing big things with little things,” says Furlan. Both designers note that they are doing a full show with both lighting and video controlled from the same surface on a console with only 12 faders. “Even though it’s only 12 faders, it is capable of doing anything we want. With just that little-bitty Quartz and the Titan Wing, we can do any type of show,” Sinclair says.
Both LDs have been long-time fans of Avolites consoles (“I started using them years ago at the House of Blues, back when the Pearl was king,” Sinclair reports), and appreciate the advances made with the Quartz. “The touch screens are amazingly responsive and the effects generators are beautiful. I loved the Pearl, but with the new Titan software, the Quartz is even more intuitive.”
“The ability to coordinate all of the mental processes involved in a show… all of that pretty much lives in the console,” Furlan says. And both members of this dynamic duo of dazzlement point to Avolites’ Ai media server as the real “killer app.”
“Up to last year we were running another media server, but this year we went to using Ai,” Furlan said. “I love the layers. You can bring in video clips and crossfade two images or put text over the video. We are able to live mix video on the fly. Ai lets us control literally everything from the board, from intensity to what images pop up.”
“It’s really neat,” adds Sinclair. “The ability to control and mix everything from a small 12-channel board is a game-changer.”
For more info on Joe Walsh and his touring schedule, visit www.joewalsh.com.