PHOENIX–Ugly sweater parties pop up everywhere across North America this time of year. The annual Ugly Holiday Sweater Concert at Arizona’s Mesa Amphitheatre is a popular event hosted by a local radio station. On Dec. 11, the magic returned to Mesa with an Ugly Sweater concert by Weezer, supported by up-and-coming singer-songwriter Taylor Cameron Upsahl, known professionally as Upsahl.
Setting an upbeat tone for the evening was a bold, multi-layered, beam-driven light show based on Weezer’s touring design. To provide the punch for these visuals, the show’s organizers called on Creative BackStage in Chandler, AZ, which designed and installed a powerful, yet practical rig that featured more than 50 Chauvet Professional fixtures.
Most of the fixtures were flown on four rows of truss that became progressively smaller and lower as they moved from downstage to upstage. Not only did this arrangement create a perspective that pulled the audience’s attention into the stage, it also provide the design team with greater opportunities to devise more interesting looks by interweaving layers of light.
On the highest front truss were 12 Rogue R2 wash and six Maverick MK2 Spot fixtures. Working in conjunction with these units were 13 Rogue Outcast 1 BeamWashes, nine of them on midstage truss and four on the back truss.
In addition to washing the stage with a variety of colors and aerial effects, the Rogue fixture were used for audience lighting. Joining them in doing this were eight STRIKE 4 fixtures flown on the front truss. “Lighting the crowd played an important role in creating the holiday party atmosphere we were after,” said John Garberson of Creative BackStage. “The warm white light of the STRIKE fixtures is very good at doing this.”
Garberson and his team also positioned 12 Rogue R3 Beam fixtures on the stage deck. Arranged across the width of the stage, the 300W mover pumped out intense (208,000 lux at 15 meters) beams into the air in a fan-like pattern that mirrored the configuration of the overhead trusses. The patterns of light that spread out across the venue created a sweeping ebullient mood that reflected the spirit of the event. “Everything really fell into place in this design,” said Garberson, declaring that the lighting and music were, like all the ugly sweaters in the audience, a “perfect fit.”