Hall & Oates and Tears for Fears

by Mike Wharton
in Wide Focus
Hall & Oates are framed by Elation WW4 fixtures on the arch. Photo by Ben Dickman
Hall & Oates are framed by Elation WW4 fixtures on the arch. Photo by Ben Dickman

Fresh Looks for a Unique Co-Headlining Tour

One of this summer’s best tickets for fans to spend their money on is the co-headliner of a set of artists who achieved that rare strata of both popular and critical acclaim, top forty titans Tears For Fears (TFF) and Hall & Oates (H&O).

Not only is it a chance to hear their wealth of career spanning extraordinarily crafted songs, but the distinct production values for both acts is definitive of both their unique vibes. It literally is just like seeing two completely different productions on one stage.

Hall & Oates uses a lot of I-Mag on the Moo TV-supplied video walls. Photo by Ben Dickman

‡‡         An Arena-Sized Show

The idea for getting the two bands together came from Hall & Oates manager, Jonathan Wolfson. Production manager and LD Jesper Luth has been lighting H&O since 2003. Four years ago, H&O asked him to take on production manager duties as well.

“Ten years ago, we really were not doing very big venues, but Jonathan has done an amazing job of bringing them back to the level of production we are at now,” says Luth. “When he laid out his idea of getting together with Tears for Fears, I thought it was brilliant.”

 

Having worked with TFF by filling in for their LD Chaz Martin in 2007 through 2016, Luth urged Wolfson to go through with contacting their management. As a result, most arenas have filled to the rafters, and a second sold-out night was added to the tour stop at 21,000-capacity Staples Center in Los Angeles.

In 2016, Matt Geasey of Morris was brought in to design the lighting rig, which Luth would then operate and direct on tour. John Oates and Luth provided direction for Geasey at Morris’ previz suite while he designed and programmed the show for 2017.

“In many ways, I count my blessing for that,” says Luth, “if I had to production manage, do a complete design and program, it would have taken a toll on me. In a sense, I’m grateful to just direct the lighting.”

Morris looked to TMB for the LED festoons. Photo by Ben Dickman

‡‡         Hall & Oates: Updated Lighting, More Video

As with any tour, the first week or so things are a bit in flux settling into the necessary routine that works best. “The challenge of being able to give enough love to the LD side was tough for me, mainly in the beginning of the tour.” admits Luth. “We just added on to the existing rig from last year,” Luth says, of the 2017 lighting package, with one major addition, video, for which Bert Paré of Neon Black was creating custom video content offsite to be used on the tour.

Previously, only one upstage center I-Mag screen was carried on the tour. With only one day of production rehearsal before the launch of their first leg, the tour loaded in a day early in Minneapolis to add the two additional LED video screens delivered from Moo TV. “We have a great relationship with Moo,” says Luth. “There are no questions; it is always ‘Yup, whatever you need.”

Paul “Arlo” Guthrie came in that day to program content he and Neon Black had created for Luth for the tour. Originally there was not much content, because Daryl Hohl (a.k.a. Hall) is more about I-Mag. “He could tell us what he didn’t want,” says Luth. “Slowly but surely, we have added content as we went along.”

At the Detroit stop on the tour, Nathan Cromwell came in and traveled with them for three shows. “He took notes from each night at the show [then] flew home to Morris in Nashville to do WISIWYG updates.”

Daryl always likes to feel close to his audience. He asked his design team to come up with something that immerses the audience in the stage experience while at the same time creating a softer touch than the standard audience blinders. Luth and Oates told Morris president David Haskell what they were looking for, and he had the answer.

“These are not your dad’s festoon lights of old,” Haskell says. He also points out Morris’ quick response to the tour’s need, with an assist from TMB. “From the day we got the request to delivery, it took five days. That’s manufacturing, prepping and hanging for the Bridgestone Arena show in Nashville. TMB really came through in getting the product to us.” A total of 600 Intelligent Marquee Systems RGBW LED DMX addressable fixtures hang over the audience from three trusses, which get wider towards the back of the house to create depth.

Cutout rectangular video tiles from Screenworks serve as a giant stage wash. Photo by Ben Dickman

‡‡         Tears for Fears: Distinct Looks

“The only part of our rig TFF uses is the Downstage arch and the Upstage truss,” says Luth. “An upstage black covers the video screens and our lighting carts, which hold the Elation ACL 360 Rollers, Elation WW2 min blinders, Mozarts, and Mythos. These elements are what give more visuals with us as far as content and the texture from the fixtures in the carts, especially the 360 “Holy Rollers,” as we like to call them. They are much more than just eye candy and create some very dynamic effects.”

Tears for Fears lighting designer Alex Reardon was last involved with TFF 22 years ago. “Last year, when their PM, JB Blot, and I were working on another project, he mentioned he was working with them. I jumped at the opportunity to work with them again, looking at it as a labor of love. As far as a brief for the design, that came entirely from the music. TFF’s music is so rich and layered, not just in production and lyrics, but all the way to the core of the song.”

Reardon eschewed the use of content on the two rectangular video tile shapes flown midstage, called “The Big Wash Light” by Jerome Thompson, lighting tech for TFF. They were not solid, but had cutouts in the center, making it a giant art piece reminiscent of two picture frames hanging in midair.

“When it came to video,” he says, “I wanted to utilize the void in the air above the band without resorting to cliché’, so I chose not to use content, as I felt it would detract from the music. As I have said many times before, ‘Light creates emotion, content creates scenery.’ I wanted the LED to add to the emotion created by the light.”

Elation Chorus Lines in use for Tears for Fears. Photo by Ben Dickman

A sophisticated floor package enhances the dynamic differences between the two bands unique styles. Through the heavy smoke, the side light from the four ground towers creates big sweeping looks, which complements their music

Reardon’s use and placement of the Elation Chorus Line 16’s created an almost holographic effect on stage. “The linear aspect of the LED suggested using a linear moving batten to me,” he says. “I wanted to frame the band in three dimensions rather than just a vertical effect; hence the placement of a downstage row and two rows upstage one high, one low.”

Says Haskell, “Alex actually had another batten type fixture spec’d on his plot. I had seen a demo at Elation of the Chorus Line along with LD Travis Shirley. Both of us were like, ‘Wow, these beat anything on the market.’” The fixtures cut a bright swath of light on the stage from a trim over 30’ high as the LD made maximum use of every attribute the fixture offered.

Luth feels the key element to his job as PM is, “All about trust and dealing with the issues when they arrive. Hope that everyone comes to you when there is a problem.” He adds, “On this level of a tour, it is all about relying on everyone else that is out here. We are lucky to have a crew of people that are qualified to do the job and I trust them to do what they need to do.

“We have a nucleus of a team of backline guys, our stage manager Chris Fuller, FOH engineer, monitor engineer, production assistant, and tour manager,” Luth continues. “Jesse [Byrd], our video director, joined us last year. We love him. And I also can’t say enough good about all the crew our vendors supplied.”

Floor fixtures silhouette Tears for Fears. Photo by Ben Dickman

 

Hall and Oates Lighting:

  • 62 Claypaky Mythos
  • 32 Claypaky Sharpy Wash 330
  • 6 Robe BMFL WashBeam
  • 24 Elation WW4 blinders
  • 12 Elation WW2 blinders
  • 12 Elation ACL 360 bars
  • 140 Solaris Mozart Panels
  • 600 IMS MK2 LED Lamps
  • 2 grandMA2 Lite Consoles
  • 2 Base hazer Pros


Tears for Fears Lighting:

  • 36 Elation Chorus Line 16
  • 14 BMFL WashBeam
  • 20 Claypaky Mythos
  • 12 Solaris LED Flare
  • 4 Elation WW4 Blinders


MOO TV Equipment for Hall & Oates

  • 130 - DigiLED MK10 LED Tiles create:
  • 1-11’ 6”H x 16’5” W Screen
  • 2-6’ 6H x 16’5” W Screen
  • 2 11.25’ x 20’ screen
  • 2 -Eiki 15k projectors
  • 2 Green Hippo Hippotizer V3
  • 2 -DigiLED Navigator Processor
  • 1- Ross Carbonite switcher
  • 1- Folsom Image Pro-HD
  • 3 -Hitachi Z-HD5000 cameras
  • 1 -Fuji 70x box lens
  • 1 -Fuji 66x box lens
  • 2 -Panasonic AW-HE60 robotic camera
  • 2 -POV cameras

Video vendor for Tears for Fears: Screenworks (They provided two rectangular video screens with center cutouts)

Hall & Oates Crew:

  • David Reuss: AEG production rep
  • Jordan Yousem: AEG Tour director
  • Jesper Luth- LD/PM
  • Matt Geasey: LD
  • Bert Pare: Content
  • Lisa Policaro- PA
  • Rick Rosabella TM
  • Chris Fuller -Stage Manager
  • Bubba Moore- Tour Rigger
  • Joseph Logsdon- Lighting Rep Morris Lighting
  • Drew R Deas -Lighting Tech Morris Lighting
  • Brannon McKenzie Howell- Lighting Crew Chief Morris Lighting
  • Ian Rehn- Lighting Tech Morris Lighting
  • David Sheppard- Rigger/ Festoon Morris Lighting
  • Travis Walker -Video Rep Moo TV
  • Jesse Byrd -Video Director Moo TV
  • Annie Hallquist -Video Tech Moo TV
  • Joel Harrison -Video Tech Moo TV
  • Jorge Paredes -Video Tech Moo TV

 

Tears for Fears Lighting:

  • 36 Elations Chorus Line 16
  • 14 BMFL WashBeam
  • 20 Claypaky Mythos
  • 12 Solaris LED Flare
  • 4 Elation WW4 Blinders
  • Tears for Fears Crew:
  • Tour & Production Management: MOTION MUSIC
  • Tour Director: JB Blot
  • Production Manager: Shane Crowl
  • Production Coordinator: Amy Miles
  • Touring and Production logistics vendor: Motion Music
  • Lighting Designer: Alex Reardon
  • Lighting Programmer: Joe Cabrera
  • Lighting Director: Kathy Beer
  • Lighting Crew Chief: Jerome Thompson
  • Rigger: Kenneth “Bubba” Moore Jr.
  • Trucking: Roadshow
  • Buses: Roberts Brothers
  • Video techs - Paul Tikalsky, Mychal Page

 

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