Trey Anastasio rocks out with Robe at Red Rocks
Fri, 08 Sep 2017 00:30
Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado
Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado is one of the most iconic concert venues in the
world. Everyone loves playing at this unique setting with its special ambience - and for
a recent Trey Anastasio Band (TAB) gig, LD Marc Janowitz used Robe BMFL Spots to
highlight the magnificent rock formation at the back of the stage.
Marc is currently on tour with the artist with whom he’s worked since 2012. It is the
third TAB tour that he has designed, and this time, the design brief was to break
everything right down to basics and take a pure-lighting approach with no video,
scenic or backdrops.
The touring lighting package also had to fit into a 15ft trailer towed behind the bus
and dovetail into a ‘top’ package being supplied by the local promoters at each venue.
So Marc looked for small, light and bright fixtures and chose 25 x Robe Spikies and 13
These are positioned on nine 3-runged lighting ladders flown from the upstage truss
at different heights, creating a chevron shape across the back of the stage to provide
a dynamic background element to the stage.
Each ladder is rigged with two Spikies (one on the top and one on the bottom rung)
and a Spiider in the middle rung. The remaining Spikies are on the floor clamped to
C-stands and mimicking the shape of the chevron above.
Marc has worked with various Robe fixtures for many years on a variety of projects
and knows they are “road-worthy and full of good features”, and previous TAB designs
have featured MMX Spots as the workhorse profiles.
The Spikie was new to him, and the intention was to use them as sculptural beams
and for texturing the performance space while occupying very little space in the truck.
The Spiiders were also new, picked for their hybrid functionality, a light he could use
as a solid wash/beam with a face that looks interesting in its own right.
With this in mind, the map-ability of the Spiider pixels made it an ideal choice! Not
having video visuals, Marc felt that the Spiiders could potentially bridge that gap as a
visual & kinetic centrepiece.
He liked the connection between the Spikie and Spiider via the Spiider’s centre LED,
describing it as the “icing on the cake that managed to take several well-chosen
moments in the show way over the top.”
For Red Rocks, the BMFL Spots were specifically chosen over other hard-edged
fixtures for their intensity, their wide zoom and the “almost infinite” amount of beam
and colour combinations available to create eye-catching high-impact beam effects.
They were positioned in a row on the ground about 30’ from the upstage rock
Marc knew from previous experience that he could drop in any colour, heavy
saturation levels, overlay multiple gobos and animation disks, zoom all the way out
and STILL have enough light to “make those rocks really stand out as a visual
The dramatic rock formation is dominated by a majestic tilted disc-shaped rock that
sits behind the stage, with a massive vertical rock angled outwards from stage right
and several angled outcrops angled outwards to stage left forming a cradle utilised as
a 9,500 capacity seated area.
It’s an absolutely breathtaking natural environment that completely dispenses with
the need for a stage set.
Like many, Marc really enjoys working there. “You feel so close to the sky’ he
commented, adding that although you can see the Denver skyline from the top of the
bowl, you can also feel totally absorbed in the desert and appreciate the beauty of the
“Each time I work there it’s like the aesthetic is magnetically pulled towards the
surroundings, so I really try and bring this amazing setting into the show.”
Apart from integrating the scenery into the performance, it was webcast live, which
required additional attention to lighting levels and balancing to ensure the cameras
had plenty of options and substance to work with.
The general vibe of the TAB show lighting is to present a unique look for each song.
With ‘less is more’ to the fore as “the music tells the story” said Marc. The key was to
keep the focus on the artist and musicians, supporting them & their environment with
Marc is using a Hog 4 full Boar for control on the road, and the lighting kit is being
supplied by VER. There’s a special cooperation going on with monitor engineer Mark
“Bruno” Bradley who allows the lighting department to place a side light in his space
Chase Nichols is the lighting systems tech, and all the technicals are being
coordinated on the road by the production manager, Paul “PI” Ingwerson.