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Sammy Hagar and The Circle

Steve Jennings (Photos and Text) • June 2019Showtime • June 15, 2019

Sammy Hagar and the Circle 2019 tour photo by Steve Jennings

Lighting Co

Felix Lighting

Venue

Various (Tour)

Crew

Production Design: Alastair Watson, Matt Mills

LD/Lighting Director: Matt Mills

Production Manager: Alastair Watson

Tour Manager: Jon Martin

Production Coordinator: Jarett Kemp

Felix Lighting Rep: Kim Martin

Lighting Crew Chief: Mike Mundrick

Rigger/Lighting Tech: Greg Kunit

Video Director, Crew Chief & Tech: Kyle Bates

Video Co: VER

VER Rep. Mike Drew

Trucking: Stage Call

Gear

2          grandMA2 Light consoles

30       Martin MAC Quantum Washes

22       Martin MAC Viper Profiles

28       Martin MAC Auras

18       GLP impression X4 Bar 20’s

11       GLP JDC1 LED strobes

8          Chauvet Strike 4 LED blinders

2          Base Hazers

80       ROE CB5 LED Tiles

2          M2 LED Processors

2          Barco ImagePro II’s

2          Toshiba Ice Cube cameras

1          Sony FOH Camera

1          Panasonic switcher

2          HES Axon media servers

Tour Notes:

The supergroup’s 2019 “Space Between” tour ran from late April to early June.

Designer Insights by Steve Jennings

PLSN caught the beginning of the Sammy Hagar and The Circle tour in his hometown of Northern California. Sammy, a.k.a. “The Red Rocker,” has had a distinctive career, from his days in Montrose to his solo work from 1976 to 2014, to all the various band work which includes Van Halen, The Waboritas, Chickenfoot and currently The Circle. His bandmates in The Circle are Michael Anthony (of Van Halen, on bass), Jason Bonham (drums), and longtime fellow guitarist Vic Johnson. We spoke with Alistair Watson (production manager and co-production designer) and Matt Mills (lighting director, programmer and co-production designer) about the tour.

Alastair Watson

Production Manager and Co-Production Designer

Watson notes that in the early part of discussions with Sammy Hagar, was that they wanted to do something with a circle and video. “After many iterations of circle truss overhead, or straight OMG Pink Floyd style, I figured the venues that we were going into were varied enough to make it impossible to have a circle that would be the right size to fit in every venue and not look ridiculous on the larger stages we were playing on. The other issue we had was truck space. It’s a two-truck tour, and we need space for our backline audio package, video and full lighting rig as well as six feet of space for Merch. So we eventually decided that the current five-screen format that we have with some lighting toms looks good especially as we had some custom content that Sammy wanted to use throughout the show that was HD. A video circle would have killed most of that, so I started looking at a semi circle lighting truss. I came across the sliding spigots that Tyler Truss make and, problem solved. We can do a curve to fit any trim height, the truss holds the fixtures and all of a sudden we have the suggestion of a circle and save space in the truck as well.”

After Alistair and Sammy had come up with a concept and had a design in place, Matt Mills then came on board. “Alastair and I talked quite frequently about fixtures, what effects we wanted to achieve, logistics of loading the rig in and out in a timely manner, etc.” says Mills.

Watson knew he wasn’t going to be programming this, his main reason for putting together the concept was to get Sammy’s idea in place and make it fit in the truck. He then asked Matt Mills to put what lights he wanted into it. “Matt is the lighting designer on this, and the lighting looks are all his. There were no inventory decisions based around Felix Lighting and stock. Felix rep Kim Martin helped us out with ideas for the four lighting torms. And there were many discussions on whether to use gates or sliding Spigots for the circle truss.”

Watson worked with Greg Kunit over a period of weeks as they adjusted the design to get this into the truck. “I probably spent more time in a Vectorworks plot of the truck than I did on the concept itself. This is the biggest production that Sammy has had for a while, and certainly the biggest The Circle has had. It shows — the show looks great, it’s well programmed, and we have a good team out with us. Micheal Drew at VER gave us some equipment to switch between the Axon Media servers running the content and the house I-Mag feed so we can switch between the two from the MA.”

Matt Mills

Lighting Director, Programmer and Co-Production Designer

Mills started previz at his home office about a week prior to rehearsals. He had about 90 percent of it finished and was able to tighten things up once he got into real production rehearsals. “I had to make several adjustments to the way the show flowed, the guys like to jam a bit and will roll right into the next song without stopping,” Mills says. “In fact, I have not heard the same show twice, definitely keeping me on my toes. This is the first show since Avenged Sevenfold in 2013 that I have not time coded. I’m having a blast rocking it live! I have 25 songs programmed. There have been a few that Sammy will throw in at the last minute, I have a very solid “punt” page for those songs. If they play them twice, then I’ll go ahead an actually program the song.

“Felix Lighting had the fixtures we were after. The only real back and forth between me and Alastair was, ‘Do we put beam fixtures in, or do we actually do a show without them.’ We decided to go without them, the show came out great. When it came to video for the show, I have a long working relationship with our account rep, Mike Drew at VER, so that one was easy. He was actually video lead on one of my tours with 3 Doors Down a while ago, and we have been friends ever since. Great guy. There was always going to be a video element on this, we just had to figure out how much would fit in the budget as well as fit into the truck.”

More Sammy Hagar and The Circle 2019 tour photos by Steven Jennings:

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