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Clay Paky and Jò Campana Tour with Ligabue

2010 was a record year for the Italian singer, songwriter, and director Ligabue on all fronts: a multi-platinum disk - Arrivederci Mostro (Goodbye Monster), in celebration of the artist's 20-year career, was the year's best selling CD with 35 weeks on the charts, plus a tour with 28 sold-out dates in stadiums and sports arenas with over 640,000 tickets sold, which was elected by spectators as Best Show 2010 by the trade magazine Sound & Lite.

Luciano Ligabue's 2011 theatrical tour Quasi Acustico (Almost Acoustic) had the artist performing in the leading theatres in Italy's main cities. It was his choice that each date be played in a different location, even in the same city. In Milan, for example, he appeared in different venues: the Arcimboldi Theatre (tour kickoff), the Dal Verme Theatre, and the Nazionale Theatre.

Jo Campana, Ligabue's lighting and set designer, said of the tour, "It was typically on the move, all round Italy, changing locations all the time. Lighting design had to meet certain basic characteristics, above all be rapid and flexible. What with transport, mounting, dismantling, adapting to the various locations - see electricity supply, proscenium size, grid height, stage depth etc... we just about never stopped.

"I've always been convinced - except for a few, specific situations - that truss design is not so fundamental for a successful show; but I do feel that careful choice and positioning of lighting is really important. For this tour, I set the stage with three straight, black trusses at back, center, and front, and four black contra sheets [made of synthetic worked mesh], with a matte white diffusion sheet. I personally went looking for set items like ecru mats, small sofas and worked backdrops, creating a simple, basic, yet elegant, intimate stage atmosphere.

"Compared to other Ligabue tours, this was a fairly linear set and lighting matching the tour's intimate, "acoustic" features perfectly and, above all, the flexibility needed due to dates.

"In stadiums I built all the lighting around the huge [Barco] MiTRIX LED structure: I had to manage 400 sq m of LED, an enormous, really bright surface as the core of the entire setting, and which really conditioned use of other light sources. Even though - I must add - the Clay Paky Alpha 700s and Alpha 1500s were really precious where many other lights would have been completely lost.

"In the arenas I tried, as much as I could, to reproduce the same concept, even though it was not always easy to "stuff" everything into smaller environments.

"After a visual overdose in stadiums and arenas, I suggested going in a completely opposite direction for this theatre part to Luciano: no video projector, no LED technology, attention focused on the concert's music and emotions, favored by a typically theatre context. I must say that both Luciano, with whom I always have a constant, ongoing exchange, and management, gave me carte blanche.

"Having worked for this great artist for a couple of years now, I know what he does and does not like; I interpret this freedom of action I'm given as a sign that he trusts in me and hope to deserve it each time.

"I used Clay Paky Alpha Profile 1500s almost exclusively for their specific function that is as shapers. In detail, I used a front and back light for each of the five musicians on stage. Then the Clay Paky Alpha Spot HPE 700s, with 9 on the ground, mainly for "effects" (gobo , prisms , iris, etc.) Then other spotlights, all used "discreetly>. In the theatre, communicating an emotion is much more important than attracting attention.

"I always like adding lots of value to the dynamic thrust of an execution, dosing ups and downs and here you can play around with this aspect more than elsewhere; even though my taste in music and professional curriculum say the opposite, I assure you I enjoy working with dimmers at 10%, with color temperature and extra-fine movements."

Speaking of the choice of gear, the designer added, "Three things most of all: efficiency, reliability, assistance. These three include all the others; when you've got them, you don't need anything else. And Clay Paky satisfies them perfectly."


(7 April 2011)

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