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Lady Antebellum “Wheels Up” Tour

PLSN Staff • Designer Insights • September 17, 2015

Designer Paul “Arlo” Guthrie who set up Toss Film & Design back in 2002, a company that handles tour design, video and content, has kept busy lately. Along with the 2015 Van Halen tour design and recent Fleetwood Mac tour, Guthrie’s design on Lady Antebellum’s “Wheels Up” tour is his second outing with the band. His first collaboration with Lady A was their 2013 ‘Take Me Downtown” tour.

Paul “Arlo” Guthrie, Lighting Designer

“I worked with set designer Bruce Rodgers on this tour, who was involved very early on and presented the band with the initial overall creative direction. When I came back on board there was a strong visual in place. The band members are very involved. We usually present them with a long list of things to be incorporated into the production, and they decide what they do and don’t like. I loved the collaboration between everyone and thought it brought out the best in everyone.

“As usual on most productions these days, the traditional lines don’t exist when it comes to who made or supplied what. The pods and circle truss were supplied by Upstaging, and Accurate [Staging & Productions] built the stage extension and risers. I worked with them to integrate the lighting elements that Bruce had spec’d. The lattice was made up of Revolution Blades (thin video strips) on an Accurate-built frame driven from a Green Hippo media server in lighting world. Bruce gave us a lot of elements and layers, which helped keep the looks unique for each song.

Lady Antebellum (c) Steve Jennings

“The band wanted video again on this tour, but wanted it to be more atmospheric and incorporated into the whole show, rather than feature pieces that might distract the audience. We had a short 9mm video wall that stretched behind the band that mostly served as a pretty backdrop. Vision Visuals also lined the risers with video tiles of the same resolution, but different physical sizes so they would fit the fascia of the risers.

“Charles Terrell created the bulk of the content and I created or up-cycled the rest. Scott Bishop from Vision Visuals did an awesome job of putting the video package together with a great crew.

“Tony [Caporale, the tour’s lighting director/programmer] has a good understanding of the way I program and light, so it’s easy for him to work off a song I have started, and I can get in and find things on a song he has started. We programmed for five days at Upstaging then had 10 days in Nashville, which I think was just enough time to do it sensibly. We had the luxury of a lot of experience with this band, and with them being very comfortable and organized in rehearsals, it came together really well.

“Upstaging is the lighting vendor for the tour. We have a great relationship with them and enjoy all the spoils. I get completely looked after from the first second and can’t say enough good things about John Huddleston and everyone else there. They do an amazing job bringing our ideas to physical reality.

Lady Antebellum (c) Steve Jennings

“We’re using lasers on a number of songs. Tony started a relationship with Image Engineering, and since they could supply lasers to the tour without a tech [lighting tech Kile McClure was trained] and we could run them from the grandMA, [lasers] became viable. Lasers are a unique production tool since they are an excellent combination of vintage and futuristic and provided a layer for us to use. 

“I can’t say enough about the production companies and crews, the band and management. They’re all fantastic to work with! This was a project I’m really proud of, a very satisfying creative experience all round.”

Tony Caporale, Lighting Director and Programmer

Tony Caporale, who programmed the tour and is out directing it as well, ran Guthrie’s design for a Chris Isaak tour a few years back, followed by the last Lady Antebellum tour in 2013. They proved to be an effective team, so Caporale was the logical choice to run the current tour.

“Arlo really has taken me under his wing over the past few years. Every year I work with him I feel stronger at my craft. The thing I love is his mindset of building a show. When I program and direct for him, I know we won’t have any recycled looks. He makes it his duty to provide a different look throughout the show without throwing in the kitchen sink all at once. We programmed the bulk of the lighting at Upstaging, then went over to the GTI (Steel Mill) rehearsal space in Nashville where we worked with all the elements for the tour and the artists. Working with Lady Antebellum, you can always expect changes. It’s their passion to keep it fresh every tour. They love the fans and want to give them something new every year. So we have to think openly and collaboratively with everyone to make it the best for the artists.

Lady Antebellum (c) Steve Jennings

“My favorite fixture out with us has to be the GLP Impression X4s. I know they’ve been on the market and have been spoken of plenty. For me, personally, they have earned my praises with this rig because they truly make the rig feel alive. Our automated pods and oval truss are loaded with them, which are a big focal point of the design this year.

“We have a Kinesys motion control system that Kile McClure drives. We use it for the pods and the upstage center video wall. The upstage center video wall serves as a reveal as well as an exit for the artists. There are three video walls. We like to shuffle it up to give different I-Mag looks for a certain song, and then, on other songs, the video is fully driven by content. There are two side screens for I-mag projection fed by a couple of 20K Barcos.

“The big thing that sold me on the lasers was that I have full control on the grandMA2 via Art-Net. The 25-watt Beam Composers have their own fixture profile to access color mixing, pan/tilt, scan rate, zones, custom laser shapes, rotation, etc., so I can program them in with lighting and video content to the console.

“I knew Lady Antebellum had used lasers in a previous CMA show, and they seemed stoked to have them. I met Brett Tillett from Image Engineering a while back in Nashville. He in turn introduced me to the Suehle brothers, who are based out of the Baltimore office. They set me up in their demo room for a couple days with the lasers and I programmed a couple songs with Nick Logue their young laser/ma2 guru. We videotaped the process so I could show management and the artist what the capabilities were. After that we had Image Engineering bring some lasers out for a one off to show Arlo and the artists in person. After that, we just had to fit them in the budget, and they are out on the ‘Wheels Up’ tour with us.

Lady Antebellum (c) Steve Jennings“Our touring crews have always been like family. I’m on my second Lady A tour with Upstaging lighting crew chief Troy Smith, and when I get familiar faces out there with me, I feel at home. As LD [lighting director] for the show, I always try to form a good bond with the guys and gals. It’s so important to me because it’s the crew that makes it happen, and that makes my life much easier out on the road. I love working with a good team that clicks. Big thanks to all the production crew, especially Troy, Kile, Ricky, Nick and Amanda!”

Lady Antebellum “Wheels Up” Tour


Lighting Designer: Paul “Arlo” Guthrie (Toss Film + Design Inc)

Set Design: Bruce Rodgers

Production Manager: Will Wilkison

Tour Manager: Curt Jenkins

Stage Manager: Chris “Rock” Glatfelter

Lighting Director, Programmer: Tony Caporale

Lighting Co: Upstaging/John Huddleston

Lighting Crew Chief: Troy “T Roy” Smith

Lighting Techs: Ricky Krohne, Kile McClure, Nick “Denunzio” Schlosser, Amanda Tullis

Lasers and Automation: Kile McClure

Video Creator/Content: Charlie Terrell, Paul “Arlo” Guthrie

Video Director: Dan Hanson

Video Co: Vision Visuals/Scott Bishop

Video Engineer: Randy Ice

Camera Lead, Video Tech: Tony James

Video Crew Chief: Joey “Blades” Labbe

Projectionist: Rob “Corndog” McLaughlin

Lasers: Image Engineering/Andy Suehle

Staging: Accurate Staging/Tye Trussell

Tour Rigger: Art McConnell

Set Carpenters: Robert Moore, Zack Mefford

Road Manager: Adam Boatman

Trucking: Xtreme Transportation



1    grandMA2 console

76  GLP impression X4s

16  Robe BMFLs

16  Martin MAC Viper Performances

12  Martin MAC Viper Profiles

6    Elation Opti Pars

3    Clay Paky B-Eye K20s

3    Vari*Lite VL3515 truss spots

1    Clay Paky Sharpy Wash

14  GLP impression X4 Bar 20s

4    Image Engineering Beam Composers for lasers

1    Star Drop


1     Green Hippo Hippotizer V4 media server

90   Galaxia WinVision Air 9 panels (for 3 walls w/10×3 panels, 1920×384)

30   Galaxia WinVision 9 panels (for set)

20   Galaxia WinVision 9 quarter tiles (for set)

3     Galaxia LC2012HD LED processors

342 Revolution Blade 1260 strips

28   Revolution Blade power/data boxes

2     Revolution Pix-O-Matic 4000 LED processor

2     Barco HDXW20 projectors

1     Ross Carbonite 2MLE production switcher

5     Sony HXC-100 HD cameras

2     Canon HJ 11 x 4.7 HD lens

3     Fujinon 72 x 9.3 HD lens

3     Panasonic AW-HE60SN PTZ cameras

For more Lady Antebellum tour photos by Steve Jennings, go to:

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