“You’ve got to go back if you want to go forward”, Snoop Dogg once wrote. The superstar rapper, music producer, and all around uber talent, is doing plenty of both on his current High School Reunion tour with Wiz Khalifa.
Taking its name from the duo’s 2012 iconic film Mac & Devlin Go To High School, the 33-city North American tour, which began July 7 at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, is true to Snoop Dogg’s vision. Its set list looks back with plenty of classic hits, including a duet of We Dem Boys, and also races ahead at the same time with some fast-forward newer material.
The stage production supporting the tour also celebrates the past, present and future, combining some retro video looks with sleek contemporary geometric patterns and blazingly bright, colorful effects from 48 CHAUVET Professional Color STRIKE M fixtures.
Production designer Justin Casey of HELM Projects, which supplied all the gear for the tour, approached this project with a narrative perspective that could reflect different phases of the two artists’ careers.
I designed the rig around the concept of having a story board screen on the upstage and then having textural set piece video walls around everything. This gave us lots of surfaces to get creative on when designing custom content that really pops, while also being used like a big lighting fixture to do flashing. We partnered with Chadrick Fellers at WastedPotential. He handled the creative direction and content creation for the show-- and he knocked it out of the park, said Casey.
The net result of this collaboration is a stunning upstage backdrop of multiple video walls that appear to change their shape and size throughout the show. Content on the video display is in constant flux as well, morphing from realistic images to dreamy redolent ones, to abstract shapes, all while creating the flash Casey wanted.
Complementing this ever-changing flow of images is a dynamic lightshow characterized by fast movements and bold colors. Positioned within and around the video display, the lighting fixtures create a variety of looks in sync with the video images.
The Color STRIKE M fixtures make up a key component of the lightshow created by Casey and his team: Snoop Dogg’s touring LD Owen Pike, and Wiz Khalifa’s touring LD Michael Petrecca, as well as the HELM Projects team Jonathan “Jdub” Watson, Justin Volpe, and Joe Donnelly.
We positioned the Color STRIKE M all over the rig and on the floor. On the flown rig, they are working great as eye candy, while the units on the floor we are washing the artists and set. These fixtures are bright and help us get an even wash and vibe, but then there are times when we flip them to the audience and have some big sync strobe moments, said Casey.
Also contributing to the show’s impactful looks are 30 COLORado PXL Bar 16 fixtures. The motorized tilting batten is flown on trusses and the upstage riser. “This is currently one of my favorite linear bar fixtures”, said Casey. “It’s super bright and the colors are amazing. We use these lights as effect lights to accent some of the beat hits, along with using it to wash the deck with color as well”.
Casey adds that he is also appreciative of the IP65 ratings of his Color STRIKE M and COLORado PXL Bar 16 fixtures, since amphitheaters like Detroit’s Pine Knob and Charlotte’s PNC Music Pavilion are included in the tour.
The tour will end at one such outdoor venue when it has its last show at the Irvine Five Points Amphitheatre. After that, the Hight School Reunion tour will become part of “the past”. At that point, those who “go back to go forward”, as Snoop Dogg advises will have plenty of great memories (musical and visual) to enjoy.