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Nile Rodgers, the guitarist and founder of Chic, is the man who got the entire planet dancing to the rhythms of The Freak and Good Times. He has also left his mark on famous songs by Diana Ross, David Bowie, Duran Duran and Madonna, right up to a recent cooperation with Daft Punk (3 Grammy awards: album of the year, single of the year and best duo performance with Pharrell). He performed an evening of disco music at the Lucca Summer Festival with an exceptional supporting musician: percussionist and drummer Sheila E., who has worked with Prince for more than a decade and who thrilled Barack and Michelle Obama during her recent show at the White House.
The Italian lighting designer Massimo Tomasino, who followed the artist on his 2010 tour, designed the lights and counted on Clay Paky equipment for its reliability and reputation. Tomasino defines the Italian brand as a worldwide certainty, since he is certain he can ask for and find Clay Paky lights in every corner of the globe. He has always been able to find the Clay Paky equipment he has needed to use to reproduce what has already been planned, without approximations.
In every city where the concert was hosted in the United Kingdom (London, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham), the production team had no difficulty in procuring the same Clay Paky lights or, at least, equally effective alternatives made by the same manufacturer. This is a major advantage in the work of every lighting designer. Tomassino himself cannot hide his pride when he says “I am glad Clay Paky is an Italian name since it is highly appreciated abroad.”
If the Alpha Spot HPE 1200s required are not available, they may be effectively replaced by Alpha Spot HPE 700s, given the light they emit. They are a welcome alternative both in theatres and outdoors. He put eight Alpha Spot HPE 1200s on the back batten, six on the mid stage batten and six on the ground at the back. Eighteen Alpha Wash 700s were also hung on the battens: six on the back batten, six on the mid stage batten and the remaining six on the ground at the back.
The legendary ever present Sharpys were also used: six on a vertical batten at the back of the stage, six on the ground near the backdrop and another four on the ground at the front, to the left and right of the stage.
The concert began with slow moving narrow cones of light from the Sharpys and an introductory music in the background. A narrow beam gobo was inserted into each light to make the light beam even thinner. Even the Alpha Spots on the ground, pointing toward the audience, were fitted with a sunburst gobo and rotated slowly. This slow bright beginning evokes a space-age setting, like an alien spaceship taking off. Clay Paky’s lights and lighting effects reproduced the feeling the artist asked for perfectly.
Then, with a start, the notes of songs like Let’s Dance, Notorious, Like a Virgin and Good Times fill the air imposingly. Lighting designer Tomassino always has a lot of fun: “With Clay Paky lights, I can illuminate creatively and express all that I feel, song by song. I can also make up effects without any problems by adding gobos and colours, and speeding up or slowing down the movements of the lights.” Nile Rodgers watches everything since he is very attentive to the lighting. At the end of the concerts, he loves reviewing and perfecting every detail.
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