Geodis Park, home of Nashville Soccer Club, staged its first ever concert recently, hosting Shania Twain’s one-off Queen of Me stadium show.
The concert was lit by André Petrus, well known as an experienced programmer, to add dimension to a concept conceived by creative producer and production designer Cory FitzGerald, of Silent House Productions. To create a fully immersive experience for the artist, he selected large quantities of fixtures from GLP’s JDC family, as well as the powerful impression FR10 Bars.
The origins of the production date back to Shania Twain’s Las Vegas residency at Zappos Theater in Planet Hollywood several years ago. Having programmed her shows since 2015, when it came to Las Vegas he was charged with lighting the show, with FitzGerald brought in as production designer for the first time. “Cory had experience doing Vegas residencies so it was a perfect fit,” says Petrus. “It was supposed to last a year but then Covid hit in 2020 and it postponed everything for two years. So we reinstalled the show in the fall of 2021.”
They then started touring arenas but the 30,000-cap Nashville stadium show was a different proposition entirely. “There were a lot of unknowns with it being a new venue; we just had to work within the constraints of the building so the keylight and spotlight towers were not ideal.”
The stadium features a 360-degree canopy, but according to André Petrus is not that tall: “It only has a 100 and 200 level, whereas many have a 300 level and are a lot deeper and taller.”
Instead of the 270° wrap-around arena approach, the stadium show was mounted on a K2 roof structure with side wings. “We had more LED in the arena show because it’s actually in the round,” explains Petrus, “whereas this time it was more of a traditional stage set-up. We expanded the lighting on the wings to make the show wider, added more audience lighting and obviously added some keylight towers behind FOH.”
GLP’s impression X4 Bar 20, which he had used in Vegas, was now replaced by 60 of the more powerful impression FR10 Bars, provided by Upstaging, which also supplied 60 of the JDC Line 500 and 40 of the JDC Line 1000, as well as 54 pieces of JDC1.
“The JDC Lines are some of my favourite fixtures, high quality and bright,” remarks the designer. “It’s such a versatile fixture. We have the JDC Line 500 outlining the ladders on either side of the upstage videowall and the JDC Line 1000s underneath the LED wall. Since the show is so video driven, the lighting is designed to accent, outline and box in a lot of the video.”
Adaptations needed to be made on the fly. “It wasn’t the touring version of the Vegas show that we had been led to believe,” he exclaims, “and this led to some extremely long days.” Petrus programmed his own show, opting as always for a high Multipix mode to give him full individual pixel control: “I create a lot of custom dimming curve presets, to give each light individuality.”
The JDC1s were scattered in the overhead – distributed on fingers from upstage to downstage, five on each stick of truss – and this helped create the roof. “The cool thing about this is that the show looks completely different depending on where you’re sitting,” he says.
They ramped up the quantity of FR10 Bars from the arena iteration in order to line the central LED stage performance floor and entire outside of the stage. This boxed everything in and brought attention to the performance area.
Having programmed the show on a grandMA3, André Petrus passed over the reins to Pete Smith to direct the show (while his wife, Jenny Lobland, just happens to be Shania Twain’s hair and make-up stylist). As for Upstaging, under crew chief Adam Cooper it provided a six strong support team.
Reviewing the impact of the GLP pieces, André Petrus was unstinting in his praise. “It’s the sheer quality of the JDC Lines that stands out,” he appraises. “A lot of manufacturers come out with similar products but are getting away from quality; not necessarily the brightness, but the dimming curves and the whole finesse. As a programmer, what you get out of the entire JDC series is the smooth dimming curves, while the colour shifting is minimal and it reacts exactly to what you tell it to do.”
The impression FR10 Bar gives him a big step up in power: “I would say it’s four times as bright [as the X4 Bar 20] but is easily twice the size. But the FR10 Bar gives you the individual zoom which is great and a whole other dynamic to the light. For instance you can get cool effects, carving through the atmosphere haze, to get a completely different feel.”
The Queen of Me stadium show was a totally different show than the arena show,” he emphasises in conclusion. “Shania loves it and each time she features a completely different wardrobe, different wigs… you just never know what you are going to get with her!”
Photo credit: Keith Griner