NASHVILLE – Sitting down to create the lighting plot for Luke Bryan’s Proud To Be Right Here tour, Justin Kitchenman knew exactly where to begin. It’s the same place he has started the process of designing every other Bryan show: with the multi-platinum star himself.
“Knowing Luke’s vision and having experience designing his shows is where it all comes from,” said Kitchenman. “Our shows are constantly changing and evolving with fresh new ideas, but there are recurring design elements that we keep and build on from year to year.
“These elements are reflective of Luke. I know he is going to want a big, dynamic-looking light show, so that’s where I start,” continued Kitchenman. “We look at our past designs, and then do something unique with them. But at the same time, we also maintain the functionality, flexibility, and scale that people have come to expect. In doing this, we always try to incorporate layers of light and video.”
To achieve this vision on the Proud To Be Right Here tour, Kitchenman relied on a collection of CHAUVET Professional ÉPIX Strip Tour and Maverick MK Pyxis fixtures supplied by Elite Multimedia.
At the center of it all are 72 of the one-meter ÉPIX Strip Tour units that are used to highlight the rig’s V-shaped truss structures. Kitchenman outfitted the linear fixtures with optional “Black Stealth” filters to make them invisible when they are not in use. This creates a bold dramatic effect as soon as the pixel-mappable fixtures are turned on.
“It’s very impactful when the strips light up,” said Kitchenman. “They are absolutely unnoticeable until we turn them on. I was afraid that with the filter we would lose some of the fixture’s intensity, but that has not been the case at all. The LED strips outline the shape of the truss layout and create a great visual layer to the design.”
Providing an added dimension to Kitchenman’s show are the 12 Maverick MK Pyxis units he has mounted to the upstage video walls. He hangs the RGBW wash/beam fixtures on custom-made mounts that attach to the video panels.
“We have a tiered video wall, and we mount a Pyxis at the edge of each tier,” he elaborated. “Aside from creating some unique lighting positions, this also accentuates the shape of the video surface. The multi-celled face and versatility of the Pyxis fixture allows us to create unique looks throughout the show.”
The Proud To Be Right Here tour is taking place primarily at amphitheaters. This involves working with stages that have different trim, width, and depth restrictions. However, the crew is more than up to meeting the challenge of fitting the tour’s big, bold design into different configurations.
“We don’t ever feel like we should limit our designs to suit the smaller venues, but rather we always try to have a little flexibility to accommodate these smaller stages,” said Kitchenman. “This is something our tour rigger, Erik Smith, is a master at. He creates detailed venue drawings for every show so we can discuss our options and have a plan going into any venue.”
Kitchenman also has high praise for the rest of the tour’s crew: Chris Hummel, Chis Lighthall, Kurtis Wheat, Dereck “Magnum” LaFrance, Kurt Rentchler, Jonathan “Cous” Cousineau, and Sam Wiener.
“This is a tight-knit group,” said Kitchenman, noting that “everyone works well together.” And as he himself has demonstrated on Luke Bryan’s tours over the years, familiarity and shared vision can lead to some very spectacular results.
Photo Credit: Todd Kaplan
# # #