Joshua Schultz admits it; at first, he wasn’t overly enthused about lighting a show against a large, deeply rippled curtain background for his client, Turnpike Troubadours when they performed at the historic Beacon Theatre. That quickly changed, however, when he saw how this billowy background played off against light.
“I was skeptical, but I quickly fell in love with having another canvas to incorporate looks onto", said Schultz. “Too many times having just a black backdrop deadens the stage. This curtain added another dimension”.
A big reason why the curtain worked magic for this Top 20 country rock band from Oklahoma can be found in Schultz’s inspired color mixing. Overlaying light in subtly different shades of the same colors, he created deeply nuanced and redolent monochromatic looks that beautifully complemented the music and the venue.
I like to think in many different shades of a particular color palette at each venue. Someone once told me that they liked how ‘way out’ of the mold my lighting was with this look. That was odd to me a first, because I’ve never really thought of it that way. This is just naturally how I go about programming. I like to evoke feelings from the crowd, whether it be by creating a shade of color to set the mood for a certain song or painting a room and including that space in the band’s performance, said Schultz.
Relying on a rig anchored by 54 CHAUVET Professional fixtures supplied by Squeek Lights, Schultz created a wide range of vivid and richly textured colors to reflect the sound and spirit of each song, as well as the captivating aesthetics of the theatre -- qualities that extend well beyond its lush curtain.
“Although we kept our color combinations simple, and often went monochrome, I moved through different palettes during the show”, said Schultz. "I rely on color not only to set the tone for the song being played on stage, but also to set the tone for the venue. Every show is a little different because every venue is different. So, I try never to have the same show twice, whether it’s by doing subtle changes in a look, or by going in a completely new direction with certain songs”.
At the Beacon Theatre, Schultz had an abundance of architectural flourishes to work with throughout the band’s lively 20-song set. The venue, which has hosted multiple Tony Awards, as well as concerts by the likes of The Grateful Dead and Rolling Stones, is characterized by a stunning Neo-Grecian interior with Greek columns supporting the proscenium arch over its stage, which itself is flanked by statues.
Schultz adroitly utilized his fixtures to accent these surroundings. Key to his design were 18 Maverick Force S Spot fixtures. “They handled the bulk of my looks,” he said. “They have such punch for a fixture of that size – and thanks to their output, I was able to get some really bold looks and play off the amazing decor of the Beacon”.
The 30 Rogue R1 BeamWashes that were also in the rig were used by Schultz for overall stage washing, as well as on some notable curtain looks. The high output RGBW fixtures also did double duty, producing some potent beams at key moments in the show.
Rounding out the rig was a collection of six STRIKE Array 4 units, which were arranged in three groups of two. These fixtures were used for audience lighting during singalongs as well as for call-and-response moments.
There was plenty of singing, stomping and all-around enthusiasm echoing through the Beacon Theatre that night, giving the grand old venue a vibrant glow that radiated, not just from the music and crowd excitement, but also from one intensely evocative lighting design.