CHAUVET Professional Helps Alec Takahashi Connect Thomas Rhett To CrowdPosted on January 27, 2023
NASHVILLE – Location, they say, “is everything” in retailing; well, it’s pretty important in live touring too. Just ask Alec Takahashi, the long- time lighting designer for country superstar Thomas Rhett.
Lighting the multi-platinum singer/songwriter’s “Bring The Bar To You” tour, the LD could sense the crowd enter different emotional spaces as his client moved from one location on the set to another. “We had a B stage that Thomas Rhett walked on for a few songs,” said Takahashi. “This allowed us to create stripped down moments for him to get closer to fans. When he did this, the crowd subconsciously relaxed and became a little loose. You could literally feel the crowd relax and engage when he moved to that stage, and then you could feel the energy skyrocket with no walls when he returned to a full band performance on the main stage.”
Reinforcing the connection between the star and his fans on both stages, while also pumping up the energy level for his dynamic songs, were 24 CHAUVET Professional STRIKE 4 warm white blinders, which, like the rest of the fixtures on this 30-date tour, were supplied by Upstaging, Inc.
Evenly spaced on three tiers of curved downstage truss, the high-output four-pod fixtures provided a level of crowd lighting that engaged a large share of the audience, even at the spacious arenas and amphitheaters on the tour.
“We relied on these fixtures for audience participation moments and crowd light,” said Takahashi. “My artist likes to be able to see the crowed when he talks to them. I went with the STRIKE 4 for this job, not only because of its brightness, but also its warm look, which exactly fit the mood of this whole tour. There’s also the fixtures’ beautiful tungsten look, which complimented some of the tungsten-based parts of our rig.”
Supported by an “excellent and close team” that included John Bahnick, Kile McClure, Nick Schlosser, Aaron Walchli, Tony Quinn, Ricky Krohne, Rob McLaughlin, Scott Moore, Kevin Twist and BKD Creative, Takahashi did far more than engage the crowd with audience lighting. He also created a deeply emotional aura on stage through the artful use of color.
“Color has such power to communicate specific atmospheres and emotions, so selecting the right palette was crucial to creating a visually cohesive and engaging show,” he said. “Part of this meant not overloading the crowd’s senses with too much color. So, although I went with some crazy colorful moments, much of the show featured monochromatic looks that emphasized emotions without distracting the audience unintentionally.”
Takahashi also created a special aura around Thomas Rhett by spotlighting him from multiple directions at different points in the show. “Some moments of the show called for all attention to be on my artist,” he said. “At such times we dramatically dropped everything else we had on stage and used our fixtures to draw attention to Thomas Rhett. Then, at other times, we’d change the focus to be on the audience.”
Stitching different palettes and focuses together, Takahashi wove a powerful connection between his client and the crowd. For Thomas Rhett and his legion of fans, that’s what a live show is all about.