WHITE PLAINS, NY – The Jacksons and the Temptations both are Motown legends. Both are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Both are multiple Grammy winners — and both bring an infectious sense of sheer joy to every perfectly hit note in their musical performances. Yet for all that they share in common, the two iconic groups have very different musical styles. Lighting designer Jason “Blends” Ayala of ProSho (New York) supported each group with a lightshow that fit its individual sound like a visual glove at the recent Motown Legends Show in White Plains. He accomplished this feat using a single rig anchored by a collection of fixtures from CHAUVET Professional.
“It was the same stage, the same event, but musically it was two very different shows,” said Ayala. “The Jacksons were thumping high energy all the way. The Temptations, on the other hand, were far more mellow with a slow, sexy velvety kind of style. We used the same fixtures for each group, but we drew on different features to create different kinds of looks.”
For the Jacksons, which is made up of original group members Tito, Jackie, Marlon and Jermaine Jackson, Ayala relied on sweeping the stage and audience with bright, boldly-colored beams that ranged from pencil thin to wide cannon shots to convey the feeling of the music and choreography.
“I flew four Rogue R1 Beams on upstage truss to hit the Jacksons with beams on songs like ‘I Want You Back,’ ‘The Love You Save’ and on some of the Michael Jackson songs they did,” he said. “Then on some of the darker moody pieces, we would turn down the upstage fixtures and shoot beams over the crowd.”
Opening for the Jacksons, the Temptations Review, which featured band member Dennis Edwards, called for a different kind of lightshow, one that was slower with gradual changes and warm, saturated color washes. Ayala’s challenge in creating this lightshow was complicated by absence of haze.
“I would have liked to have been able to use haze to accent the mood of his show, but the group would not allow it,” he said. To “compensate” for the lack of haze, Ayala relied on the zooming capabilities and color rendering of the Q-Wash 419Z-LED moving yoke wash.
“The 419Z was my best friend for the Temptations show,’’ said the LD. “I zoomed that fixture out to the max up to 45° to get more color coverage, which made up for not having haze. I also used the macro features and zone control to create some very nice looks. Plus, I alternated the colors of the fixtures to create a split color effect.”
Although Ayala focused on different fixtures and different performance features for the two acts, he did use his entire rig throughout the concert. This rig consisted of 8 Rogue R1 Beams , 12 Legend 330SR Spot and 22 Q-Wash 419Z-LED moving washes. With the exception of six units that were used in the upstage floor package, most of the Q-Washes were flown on downstage truss.
“I locked in eight of the Q-Washes to cover the bands,” he said. “The other eight fixtures swung back and forth to sweep the stage and engage the audience. My 12 Legend SRs were evenly divided between the upstage truss and the floor package, where they were used for audience and aerial lighting.”
Ayala ran the board in addition to designing the lightshow for the Temptations. He worked with the Jackson’s LD on that group’s show. “Everyone was happy with the final results,” said Ayala. “The two groups worked well together to reflect the sound of Motown and I was happy that the two lightshows made each of these legends look great.”