The Human League completed their 2018 UK and European tour with an eye-catching production and lighting design.
Colour Sound Experiment was once again the lighting supplier, working closely with award winning lighting designer Rob Sinclair on his 10th Human League tour, the ninth in the LD hot seat.
The set design was initiated by the band’s manager, Simon Watson, who takes a keen interest in production values and their stage visuality. He wanted something new and different, especially with the video element. Video has played a big part in Human League tours for the last 10 years, and on this one, he didn’t want a stage filled with LED.
Instead, the concept that he and Rob developed utilised a series of aluminium framed projection cubes covered with gauze sides which were mapped to receive animated projections. This introduced a lively, highly effective signature video look to the mix.
The band were positioned within these set cubes, with Philip Oakey, Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley downstage in their usual positions.
“It’s a fun, arty, colourful pop show,” explains Rob adding that the set would look equally at home in a trendy art gallery as it did as part of a stage show.
Lighting was chosen to work with and complement the video and set, and Rob chose two principal lightsources. Claypaky Sharpys were the main beams, for their tight, bright columnated look and minimal spill (onto the projection areas), with GLP JDC1 strobes for lighting and highlighting the set, creating the big accents and percussive stabs that contrasted so well with the video content.
Three straight trusses were installed over the stage each day by Rob’s lighting director on the road, the unfazable Chris Steel, working alongside Colour Sound’s crew of Jon Rickets and Chris Brown.
Thirty-one Sharpys were distributed across the mid and back trusses and they were joined by GLP X4 Bar 20 LED battens on the back truss.
There were 16 x Claypaky Scenius Unicos on the front trusses, used for key lighting the three singers, and down the sides of the stage in floor positions. These were selected for their shutters which helped keep light concentrated onto the cubes.
During programming, completed by Liam Griffiths using a grandMA2 console, lighting and video were synchronised and the whole show was run to timecode from one of the music track machines. It was the first time a Human League tour had used timecode to run a show, and this ensured that exactly the right amount of lights and video were combined in any one look and scene.