NEW YORK – It was back to the future in midtown Manhattan recently as two superstars who got their start in the ’80s grabbed the Big Apple spotlight. Madonna delighted a sold-out crowd in Madison Square Garden on the second US stop of her Rebel Heart Tour on a Wednesday night. A few hours later and a little over a mile away, Duran Duran stepped onto the legendary TODAY show stage at Rockefeller Center to perform before a national TV audience. Like the Material Girl, the band from Birmingham, UK showed that they could still bring it, performing classics like “Hungry Like A Wolf,” as well as material from their new album Paper Gods in a four-song set. Supporting their music was a bold full-throttle lightshow by LD Peter Greenbaum, using 48 CHAUVET Professional Nexus 4×4 LED panels provided by WorldStage.
Greenbaum arranged the Nexus fixtures in eight columns of six panels each. He positioned four of the panels evenly spaced across the upstage deck. The four remaining towers were positioned one on each corner of the stage, angled slightly toward the center. Throughout parts of the performance the panels were coordinated, so the four towers across the riser displayed one color and the corner units showed another.
“We used 48 Nexus panels and that was it, plus the HMI power to make video,” said Greenbaum. “The thought was to go high and keep the deck clear, since there was a relatively large number of performers on stage and the band was very energetic with a lot of movement.”
Duran Duran wanted a big-time look on the stage for their performance. However, since time, space and budget were all issues, Greenbaum had to accomplish this with relatively few fixtures and little programming time.
“This wasn’t a typical design for us. We usually have more fixtures spread out, but in this case we focused on Nexus and built towers to create a more of a concert look, and of course, most importantly the columns of panels were great at framing shots for the camera,” said Greenbaum. “Overall I was happy with the look. Our design really made the stage look a little larger than life. The Nexus panels starting from the top down upstage really helped the scale of the openness of the stage and created the illusion of height.”
Using the Nexus panels to create bright oranges (the TODAY show’s colors), along with teals and blues, also gave the Duran Duran performance a concert feeling. “We created a lot of different colors and pre-programmed flashes,” said Greenbaum. “We would have loved to do some pixel mapping — the panels are ideal for that, but given our programming realities we didn’t have time for that.”
Nevertheless, Greenbaum was very happy with the looks the new design created. “It was nice to see the design come together,” he said. “A lot of people around the TODAY show who came of age in the ’80s were extra excited to see Duran Duran on our stage. We wanted to create something special for this one – and we did.”