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Maren Morris ‘Girl’ World Tour 2019

Steve Jennings (Photos and Text) • May 2019Wide Focus • May 3, 2019

 

MAREN MORRIS © Steve Jennings

Maren Morris’ 2019 tour in support of her second album, Girl, which was released in March, followed up shows in Mexico and KAABOO Cayman in February with dates across the U.S. in March, April and May. Morris then heads to the U.K. and Europe later this month, but returns for a North American leg this summer before heading off to Australia and New Zealand in late August and returning for more U.S. gigs from late August through mid-November. With more than 60 shows in all, and many gigs where Morris, a Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter is joined by Cassadee Pope and RaeLynn, the design needed to be as impressive as this artist’s skyrocketing career. Always up for the challenge, Morris Light and Sound collaborated with the fine talent of LD Travis Shirley. The vision called for an intricate design with a sophisticated look that was efficient for the number of tour dates on schedule. We spoke with Shirley and lighting director Tim Creedon about the tour.

 

MAREN MORRIS © Steve Jennings

Shirley says he had the chance to meet Morris a few years back, as she was playing main support with one of his clients — Sam Hunt’s “15 in a 30” tour in the summer of 2017. Her team and Shirley connected back then and stayed in touch. After that summer trek, Maren Morris joined Niall Horan’s 2018 Flicker tour, at which time Morris and her team brought Shirley in to put a simple style design together.

“As time came for her to plan her own headlining tour, it was an easy transition, as the creative juices had been flowing collectively for almost two years. When discussing initial concepts, Maren spoke about the feel and diverse approach to her new album… While she is a rising star on the country charts, her catalog and style is far from what most people would think is country. It was important to her that the tour design reflected her style, not only as a country music artist, but as an artist and overall performer. As Maren and I passed design ideas back and forth along with her wonderfully talented manager Janet, it became evident that video was to take center stage and provide a main element of narration throughout the show. From there, lighting, set and SFX followed suit to video and provided an overall show design.”

MAREN MORRIS © Steve Jennings

Shirley feels that Gallagher Staging has taken a major leap in the past couple of years. Yes, they have always been a wonderful company, but he notes that with the addition of Chris “Rock” Glatfelter, the company has reached new heights. “Rock, Ty, James and the whole team at Gallagher Staging went above and beyond the task at hand and provided me and my client with the big show bang we were going for, with not a lot of headache or problems. They offered realistic solutions and options for every possible obstacle that could stand in the way — and did it with a smile.”

MAREN MORRIS © Steve Jennings

While Moo TV has been around town for quite some time, this was Shirley’s first opportunity working with them. With their help, an LED wall was used as the focal point of the stage. He mentions they were very limited not only on truck space and available crew bunks, but overall show weight and cart size due to the various venues the tour would be playing. “Moo TV offered viable solutions and worked very closely with myself and our production manager, Brian Morris, to make sure the look was delivered without any problems with weight, logistics, etc. Moo TV put in the effort and customer service tours like this require. Kudos to Scott, Travis, Jason and the whole team at Moo for pulling this off!”

MAREN MORRIS © Steve Jennings

Shirley says that as a designer — particularly an outside “non-touring” designer — you have to realize that you are stepping into a team and family that already has an established relationship. ”Sometimes an outside opinion or design is not always welcomed, however my team and I felt the complete opposite with Maren and her team. Maren has built a great team around her, and everyone is there for the same reason; to put on the best show we can. The tour wouldn’t be possible without every single person on the crew, especially tour manager Jennifer Pepke, production manager Brian Morris, lighting director Tim Creedon, video director Jacob Edwards and lighting crew chief John Nichols. It truly has been a great honor to work with Maren, a wonderfully gifted artist, but also her equally talented crew and team.”

MAREN MORRIS © Steve Jennings

When it came to the lighting vendor, Shirley says that since Morris Light and Sound did such a kick-ass job on Christina Aguilera, it was a natural reaction to work with company president David Haskell and the rest of the team at Morris Light and Sound. “Morris is a wonderful company who I honestly can’t say enough good things about. I think there are all sorts of  wonderful vendors who I also turn to, however the special thing about Morris is a bit hard to describe. They are small enough to provide me with the attention that I need — poor guys,” Shirley says, while adding that they are big enough to “have the infrastructure, gear and crew to turn out some of the biggest shows out there. Everyone from the shop crew to the accounting office is invested in their current projects/tours, and as a client, I can tell,” he adds. “We have Robe Spiiders which were implemented on the wall due to their light weight, power consumption, size and overall performance. GLP Impression X4’s were an obvious choice for the size and general punch they add to shows.”

MAREN MORRIS © Steve Jennings

Morris also helped customize half-mirror balls for the production as a special request from Maren. Overall, Shirley definitely hit the target with help from Morris without compromising the grand scale of the tour. “We always love working with Travis, especially on as exciting a tour as this one,” says David Haskell. “It’s been incredible to see Maren’s trajectory completely boom in such a short amount of time, and we’re thrilled to be a part of her journey.”

Maren Morris Girl World Tour

Crew

  • Lighting & Production Designer: Travis Shirley
  • Lighting Director: Tim Creedon
  • Lighting Programmer: Trevor Ahlstrand
  • Lighting Co: Morris Light and Sound
  • Lighting Crew Chief: John Nichols
  • Lighting Tech: John Nichols
  • Morris Account Rep: Joseph Logsdon
  • Tour Manager: Jennifer Pepke
  • Production Manager: Brian Morris
  • Stage Manager: John Weldon
  • Video Co: Moo TV
  • Video Designer: Travis Shirley
  • Video Director/LED Tech: Jake Maguire
  • Moo TV Account Rep: Travis Walker
  • Video Content: Andy Reuter, Alex Ferrari
  • LED Tech: Jake Maguire
  • Staging Co: Gallagher Staging
  • Gallagher Account Rep: James McKinney
  • Carpenters: Tyler Porch
  • Special Effects Co: Pyrotecnico
  • Trucking: Xtreme Trucking

Gear

Lighting:

  • 2          grandMA2 Light consoles
  • 16       Robe Spiiders
  • 23       Claypaky Mythos 2
  • 18       GLP X4’s
  • 8          GLP JDC1 strobes
  • 2          Antari F-7 Smaze units
  • 1          Custom riser edge light (Gallagher Staging)
  • 2          MDG Ice Fog
  • 2          Froggy’s Fog Fobbles
  • 1          F-100 fog machines

Video:

  • 48       ROE Linx 9mm panels
  • 28       ROE Linx 12mm panels
  • 1          Hitachi Z-HD 5000
  • 2          Panasonic AW-HE130
  • 3          Marshall POV cameras
  • 1          Blackmagic Designs ATEM 1 M/E Switcher
  • 2          Catalyst media servers

More Maren Morris Girl tour photos by Steve Jennings:

 

 

 

 

 

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