Display Ad
Hide Ad
Parnelli Awards Voting Now Open - VOTE NOW

Journey & Def Leppard 2018 Tour

by Steve Jennings (Photos and Text) • in
  • December 2018
  • Wide Focus
• Created: December 7, 2018

Share This:

DEF LEPPARD © Steve Jennings. The band rocked with big beams.

The Journey and Def Leppard 2018 tour, which included both arena and stadium dates, was a huge success. Both iconic bands, each with a career that spans 40-plus years, made for quite a pairing. The lighting design was a collaborative effort between Kevin “Deuce” Christopher (LD and lighting director for Journey) and Kenji Ohashi (LD for Def Leppard). Both were driven to create a lighting system that would fit in arenas, maintain its scale in stadiums, be adaptable for the occasional smaller venue and give their artists the looks they wanted. We spoke with Deuce and also Def Leppard co-lighting director Cole MacDonald, who stepped in for LD duties for the last dates of the tour, taking over for Ohashi, who had commitments back in Japan.

JOURNEY © Steve Jennings

Kevin “Deuce” Christopher
LD/Lighting Director, Journey

“On this tour, we were using a larger-dimensioned video wall than on tours past. Though I want to feature the band members’ live feed using I-Mag on various songs, I like to add a mix of “Journey relevant” content, color and textures. Automating the lighting trusses allowed each band the opportunity to create different looks and maintain a unique presence throughout each show.

JOURNEY © Steve Jennings

“There are many crew members on the show that would be considered “Journey family” which makes it a nice tour to be out on. The Def Leppard crew are a great group of professionals that helped grow our touring family. After a fairly long tour, it was bittersweet when it finally wrapped up.

JOURNEY © Steve Jennings

“Cole (MacDonald) is like the younger brother I never had. He has been a FOH Lighting Systems Tech since 2014, including on this tour. I am extremely proud of Cole for stepping up and filling the giant shoes of Def Leppard designer and LD Kenji Ohashi when he exited for the last leg.

JOURNEY © Steve Jennings

“Upstaging offered and delivered a great lighting package that worked out great for the arena/stadium run, with a reputation of excellence to go along with it. John Huddleston, Matt Gohring and the entire Upstaging staff deliver exemplary service and gear. Their ability to support tours of this size was the ultimate deal-sealer.”

DEF LEPPARD © Steve Jennings

Cole MacDonald
Co-Lighting Director, Def Leppard

Cole MacDonald was brought onto the tour as the FOH lighting tech, since he had worked with Deuce and Journey for the past four tours. This was his first time working with Ohashi and the Def Leppard camp.

“They were so easy to get along with that it felt like we’d toured together before. Since the start of programming and rehearsals, I sat at FOH, just monitoring the system and watching/learning the show, so taking on the role as director was much smoother for me than if I had come in with only a short timeframe to learn the show.

“I don’t speak any Japanese, but Kenji can speak a bit of English and understands a lot more. We would have half-speech, half-hand gesture conversations, pointing at fixtures/console screens or looking up things on our phones, depending on our conversations.”

DEF LEPPARD © Steve Jennings

MacDonald notes they were carrying a Follow-me follow-spot system that had all color changes programmed in the cue stack. MacDonald had already been calling the spots for Ohashi for most of the tour (due to the language barrier), so he knew the spot calls very well, but when he took over, he had Kevin Cassidy (lighting crew chief) call them for him so he could just operate the show.

None of the lighting cues are time coded. It’s all cue stacks, a go button and good timing, notes MacDonald. “When I was learning the show, I spent many shows just watching Kenji’s hands on the console and looking up between cues or button bumps to see what had changed.

DEF LEPPARD © Steve Jennings

“Since this was my first time working with Def Leppard, it was also my first time working with Chris Keating (the band’s video director). Chris cuts an amazing show, and it was a real pleasure working with him. Before I took over, he and I would have conversations about the show, and I’d pick his brain about certain shots he’d chosen to take during songs and some of the content and video effects he’d chosen to use, especially his content choice during “Rock On.”

DEF LEPPARD © Steve Jennings

Def Leppard uses 12 Claypaky Sharpys on the risers — six on either side of drummer Rick Allen — and 12 Martin Viper Profiles — six in front of the riser and six on subs downstage left and right. “I liked that Kenji had the Vipers on the mid- and downstage because it added more depth to the stage. There was a tight beam you got, but when you wanted to fill the roof with a gobo, you could. We also had a Kinesys moving motor system on three of the four trusses over the stage, which created another dimension to the looks.

DEF LEPPARD © Steve Jennings

“This was an amazing co-headlined tour with top notch crews. Legendary bands, great shows. We sold out pretty much every night, and it was a tour you have a blast doing, with all the production working well together. Watching these guys play their hits and seeing people sing every song is awesome. To be able call house lights out, and be the person to hit that first cue, and hear the audience scream when Def Leppard hit the stage — that’s one hell of a rush.”

JOURNEY © Steve Jennings

Journey & Def Leppard 2018 Tour

Crew

  • LD, Lighting Director & Programmer/Journey: Kevin “Deuce” Christopher
  • LD & Programmer/Def Leppard: Kenji Ohashi
  • Lighting Directors/Def Leppard: Kenji Ohashi, Cole MacDonald
  • Lighting Co: Upstaging/John Huddleston
  • Lighting Crew Chief: Kevin Cassidy
  • Lighting Techs: Cole MacDonald, Oscar Canales, Gary Boldenweck, Christian Alvarado, Raven Tallitsch
  • Video Co: Solotech/Todd Le Pere
  • Video Director/Engineer (Journey/Def Leppard): John McLeish
  • Video Director/Def Leppard: Chris Keating
  • Video Crew Chief: John McLeish
  • LED Techs/Camera Ops: Tom Braislin, Tommy Cesano, Chris Hoare, Bryan Keyes
  • Video Content/Journey: Planet Ten/Kenn Koubek, George M. Murphy
  • Projection & Cameras/Journey: Control Freak Systems
  • Tour Management, Journey: Rob Kern (Tour & Production Manager), Scotty Ross (Road Manager), JT Taylor (Production Coordinator), Scott Norvold (Stage Manager)
  • Tour Management, Def Leppard: Jimmy Eyers (Tour Manager), Chris Adamson (Production Manager), Sinead Madden (Production Assistant), Danny Spratt (Stage Manager)
  • Automation Tech/Journey: Christian Alvarado
  • SFX Co: Pyrotecnico/Paige Newman
  • Special FX Tech: AJ Seabeck
  • Rigger: Dan Michaels
  • Trucking: Upstaging, SOS

Gear

Lighting:

  • 2       grandMA2 full consoles
  • 31     Claypaky Scenius Unicos
  • 16     Claypaky Sharpy Profiles
  • 28     Elation Cuepix WW4 Blinders
  • 32     GLP JDC1 LED Strobes
  • 52     Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash FX
  • 12     Robe BMFL Spots (Follow Me)
  • 12     Claypaky Sharpy Wash 330
  • 8       Claypaky Mythos 2
  • 8       Claypaky B-Eye K20
  • 14     Martin MAC Viper Profiles
  • 2       MDG the ONE hazers
  • 2       Reel FX RE II Fans

Video Gear (Solotech)

  • 1       Upstage Wall (Saco S12mm LED wall/50’ x 28’)
  • 3       Downstage Crown (Saco s12mm LED walls/17’6” x 10’3” each)
  • 2       Onstage Risers (Saco S12mm LED Risers/20’6” x 4’5”)

Additional Video Gear/Journey (Control Freak)

  • 2       disguise Gx2 Servers w/ CFS Notch Library
  • 1       Lightware 8×8 HDMI Matrix
  • 1       Barco 16×16 SDI Matrix
  • 2       Barco Imagepro II
  • 1       SR112 Distripalyzer
  • 2       Avitech SDI Multiviewers
  • 4       48 Port Ubiquiti Edgeswitch
  • 2       ME HD Ross Carbonite Black Switcher (In new custom Solotech Flypack)

More Journey and Def Leppard tour photos from Steve Jennings:

Share This:

Leave a Comment:

Check Out Some Past PLSN Issues