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Shining a Light on Rolling Stones’ Zip Code Tour

Lighting designer and director for the latest Rolling Stones’ tour talk design, gear and venue for an artist and tour of this size.>

Alice Gustafson
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John Huddleston, director of stage lighting services at Upstaging, reports that the Mythos fixtures have been very popular. “They’re a new tool for designers; they tick every box: powerful, compact, fast, extremely bright and packed with features. Mythos is what everybody has been looking for.”

14 Clay Paky Sharpy Washes help to light the fascias, which surround the video walls designed by Stu Fish and built by Tait Towers. The huge screens are located left, right and centre onstage, framed by golden fascia lined interior and exterior with LED strips.

“The Stones are, of course, famous for their fairly large shows, but in the end it’s about the music and the bands’ performance,” Weber points out. “In lighting them, we try never to take away from that. The goal is to make sure all the band members are lit and to give them an interesting environment to play in.”

Eight Robert Juliat 4000W HTI Lancelot followspots serve as “bright and reliable” FOH spotlights, Weber says.

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“The Lancelots are the highest end large touring followspot you can buy—nothing’s better,” Huddleston enthuses. “They set up and take down easier than any other in that class, too.”

Half-ton, one-ton and two-ton chain motors from ChainMaster, a brand that “seems to be becoming the industry standard” according to Weber, are deployed on the tour. Weber uses two grandMA2 full-size consoles for lighting control; one main system and one back up and has a grandMA2 light onstage for testing the system at venues.

“I’ve been using grandMA since 2007 after having a very bad experience with another brand,” he recalls. “I switched to grandMA1 and loved it, then made the natural progression to grandMA2 a few years ago and have been extremely happy with it. It’s always very comforting to know that there’s worldwide support and a user network that’s open to offering help and programming tips.”

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“Premium large-scale concert touring wants the bulletproof processing that grandMA2 provides,” adds Huddleston. “The grandMA2 consoles are industry standard now. Mythos, Sharpy Washes, Lancelots, ChainMaster chain motors and grandMA2 consoles make a good, solid package. The band needs a robust touring package, and this gear delivers quality and dependability.”

Woodroffe concurs that there were “no challenges. It’s always exciting to work with great artists but The Rolling Stones are a special band and one that all of us who have worked with them for so many years are proud to be associated with.”

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