Johnny Clegg's return to the Teatro, Montecasino after more than three years, saw the celebrated artist share the stage with not only several other local artists, but also the newest LED screen from LEDVision.

The two Johnny Clegg and Friends concerts at the Teatro recently, Johnny Clegg's first performance at Montecasino in over three years, not only guest starred an array of well-known talented South African artists, but also debuted LEDVision's latest, impressive Radiant BP3 LED screen. The show was opened by three-time SAMA nominated singer/songwriter Tailor, while Johnny Clegg was also joined on stage by the Soweto Gospel Choir, Ross Learmonth of Prime Circle and Francois Van Coke.

Gearhouse South Africa was front and centre at the two shows, with audio supplied by Splitbeam and LED supplied by LEDVision, while all other technical aspects were covered by Gearhouse South Africa. The Gearhouse team, led by Project Manager Jaco Saaiman, featured audio designers Friedrich Wilsenach and Harry Langer, who designed and set up the PA system and industry legend, lighting designer Tim Dunn, responsible for all the lighting design. Owner of Eleven Entertainment and mix and master engineer Verny Scholtz, did the audio mixing of the shows, while LEDVision Director, Richard Baker and LED technicians Zakhe Shabangu, Sanele Mzobe and Themba Mtshali also worked on the shows. "Gearhouse has been working with Johnny Clegg for years and several of the people working on the show, including Tim, have worked on his shows before," said Saaiman. "Knowing the artist and working at a venue like the Teatro, where the infrastructure is perfect for this kind of performance and set up, ensured that we had no significant problems or challenges to cope with."

According to Saaiman, the fact that both concerts were sold-out, added to the flow of the technical aspects during the shows. "Working on a show like Johnny Clegg, an incredible artist with such a massive following makes getting a feel for the show easier for the audio and lighting designers , by seeing the reaction of the audience," said Saaiman. "This really helps us make the production better."

Though Gearhouse South Africa has worked with Johnny Clegg before, both Saaiman and Dunn felt that the guest artists added to a unique and different feel to these particular shows. "It really allowed us to be creative, especially with the other artists, while keeping with the flavour of Johnny Clegg," said Saaiman. "It gave the shows a very unique quality, which I believe added to the success of the shows."

According to Dunn, who has worked with Johnny Clegg several times in the past, knowing the music makes preparing for the show easier.

"It becomes easier once you know the music, to put the lighting rig or the video stuff together for a show," he said. "We did something quite different this time, instead of using the old videos that he's been using for quite a number of years and we just had a bit of fun with the show. It was a good old Johnny Clegg rock show and with the other artists it was just a different dynamic than usual – again it is all about just learning the music and preparing properly for it."

Dunn's favourite Johnny Clegg song is Impi, because, according to him, it always has massive dynamics to light and the crowd all know it as well, which makes the energy in the audience great. The kit list for the shows included a grandMA full size, grandMA lite, grandMA Dot2 XF, FOH Network Rack, grandMA VPU, 72-way Avo dimmer, 48-way Avo dimmer, 48-way 5Kw Avo TV rack, single DMX dimmer, Robe 2500 spots and washes, Mac Vipers, Mac 2000 spots and washes, Robe 700 spots and washes, Robe DLX, DLS and DLF, Robe 300 spots and washes, Mac250 washes, Mac 250 Entours, Robe red washes, Robe 600 LED washes, Robe Pointes, Mac 101, 5 K Xenon and 2 K Xenon, BB4 washes, City Scape 48, Longman RGB, Martin Rush RGBW Zoom, Robe Ledforce18, Tri Tour 1 Led Par, Atomic Strobe and Phillips Nitro Strobe.

"When working with LED screens on a live show you've got to be very specific. Screens and content all have to work together, because you can have the screens nice and a low intensity for some images and then all of a sudden there is a bit of white background and then you've lost everything on stage again," Dunn said. "You've got to be very careful and very specific about the content and the intensity of the screens and the position and the way that you light. You can't just keep adding light to a stage… it's all about balance. Balance on stage is good. With the Radiant BP3 3.9mm LED screen it was easy, especially since it allows you to control intensity and different options from the lighting desk as well, always giving you that option of dropping intensity to whatever you need."

According to Jessica Green, from LEDVision, ROE Visual's BP3 has an innovative design which supports a fast and simple setup for both flown and ground-supported setups well suited to the needs of large events, concerts and exhibitions. For the show, content was played back via a grandMA-server. "Featuring a HD pixel pitch and outstanding colour processing, the product promises high-end performance in all indoor applications," she said. "Featuring the latest in LED screen processing the new range of ROE visual screens are offered with Bromton Processing, industry leaders in screen processing."

The Radiant BP3 LED screen was a lot of fun for Dunn to work with and he emphasised the ease and versatility of the screen. "It was the first time that the 3mm LED Screen, called the Black Pearl, was used in South Africa," said Dunn. "It was quite special to us, to be able to use it. It's amazing!"

Dunn made use of the screen in strips as well, to test its versatility. "Being the first time I used it, I also used it in strips, looking to how I can apply it in future. I wanted to see the resolution on the strips, because when you've got high resolution on such thin strips you can do some really nice things with it," he said.

Another memorable use of the screen during the show was a tribute to France, since the show took place right after Bastille Day. The horrific attack in Nice, France, which occurred on 14 July, saw a 19 tonne cargo truck deliberately driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais, which resulted in the death of 86 people and injury to 434 more. "There was a really moving section during the show where, because of all the horrific stuff that happened in Nice while the show was on, we used the LED Screen to bring up some images from France. Not horrible images, but you know, some quite emotional images," said Dunn. "It was quite an evening. The show had a very nice intimate feel to it."

Story by Elaine Strauss (ProSystems Magazine -, Photos by Jina Min

Nov 17, 2016

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