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Sharon Van Etten Takes CHAUVET Professional Fixtures on U.S. Tour

Victoria Wasylak • Supplier Scene • May 10, 2019

Early in February, Sharon Van Etten embarked on a 16-city U.S. tour, supported by a Sam Parker lighting design anchored by CHAUVET Professional Rogue and COLORado fixtures (supplied by Squeek Lights).

“Sharon and I are both New York City based, and I had worked with her management on other projects, so I was brought in as a consultant since this was her first tour with full production,” said Parker. “There was some discussion on whether the tour should be video or lighting based. The original plan was for the show to have a projection-heavy design. However, given the rooms we were playing and our budget, I pushed to do this show with all light. I was confident we could get all the animation and imagery we wanted by weaving together light and dark spaces and using colors in a bold fashion.”

Helping Parker achieve this look were the four Rogue R2 Wash fixtures he positioned on the upstage deck. Arranging the washes in an arch behind Van Etten and the band, he used them for dramatic backlighting.

“I was always filling the stage with some kind of glow from the Rogues,” he said. “They definitely contributed to the mood on stage. When I specced the Rogues, I knew they were going to be what I would use to backlight and silhouette the band. They gave me that thick full hazy orb-like glow on stage, making it look really saturated in color.”

Also animating the stage with vivid colors were the 12 COLORado 2 Solo fixtures in Parker’s rig. A pair of the COLORado units was positioned stage left and stage right to light Van Etten from the side. The remaining 10 units were arranged along the downstage deck and were used for uplighting.

“The zoom on the COLORados was really a great feature to have during intimate moments of the show when it was just Sharon at the piano,” said Parker. “Zooming in, I could just focus on her, instead of blowing the whole thing out. Getting in tight, I was able to create some really special shadows of Sharon and the band on our backdrop.”

At other moments, Parker evoked powerful moods by saturating the stage in monochromatic colors.

“I wanted the stage to be comfortable, but at the same time I wanted to avoid minimalistic lighting,” he said. “The use of monochromatic colors allowed me to keep the comfortability, but create a look that was challenging and animated. With the Solos, it was nice to have an affordable par with zoom that put out beautiful colors. In the past, I had issues with the yellows on affordable pars; they were always too green or too amber. Getting a true yellow in this case really opened a lot of doors for me.”

Photo Credit: Sarah Hess

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