MANCHESTER, UK – It is close to impossible to improve on the power a flower must give rise to warm feelings and good thoughts, but Ed Warren managed to do just that when he lit The Lottery Winners’ recent homecoming show. The “flowers” that this well-known lighting designer planted on stage at the iconic 02 Apollo Manchester might not have been as delicately beautiful as the red and yellow blooms that dot nearby Ardwick Green every spring (nor were they anywhere near as fragrant!), but they did inspire the sellout crowd at this show, while also reflecting the freewheeling spirit of the local band, who reach the top of the UK charts for the first time last spring.
Warren had two rows of daisy set pieces arranged across the stage. No ordinary flowers these, though, as each had at its center a CHAUVET Professional STRIKE 1, single source 230-watt warm white LED blinder, ready to rock the house and transform the stage with intense strobes, audience lighting and immersive washes.
“The concept of the flowers came about from a creative meeting with the band,” said Warren. “They mentioned their logo/branding is daisies, so I had the idea of having some daisy set pieces built. The plan was that we would mount lights in the center disc of the flowers. The Strike 1s seemed like the perfect solution since they provided natural looking light and a killer strobe. The daisy set pieces were custom made to suit a Strike 1 fixture. The lights were mounted on upright pipes and braces.”
Like the rest of the lighting rig, the 24 STRIKE 1 fixtures used in the show were supplied by Dragonfly Lighting. “Big shout out to Tom and Jack from Dragonfly,” said Warren, who, in addition to positioning the STRIKE 1 fixtures within the flowers, had other units flown over downstage. This reflected the emphasis he placed on audience lighting.
“The audience are a huge part of this band’s show,” he said. “There is an incredible connection between The Lottery Winners and their fans, and I didn’t want that feeling to be lost in such a huge room as the Apollo.”
This bond, engendered by Warren’s lighting was clearly evident throughout the band’s late January weekend shows at the Apollo. As one local music critic note, “It’s difficult to explain a Lottery Winners gig — the closeness of the band itself and then with them and their fans. On paper it really shouldn’t work in the 2020’s, but there’s something magical about their gigs…they are truly unique in what they do.”
Like other fans, Warren, who also designed the band’s London show, which was run by Jack Bennett, savored the magic of the moment. “This show was originally scheduled for November and was postponed,” he said. “I think the energy of the band and the room was raised as a result of the delayed show. Everyone was up for it.”
As for Warren, in addition to appreciating the music, he was taken by the interplay of light and the setting at the Apollo, particularly how the output of the STRIKE 1 fixtures played off against the mirror ball over the crowd. “Flowers and mirror balls together,” he exclaimed. “What can I say, it was a match made in heaven.”