Lady Gaga performs a monster show in Australia with Martin and MA

Posted on Thursday, August 16th, 2012


Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball is her third concert tour in support of her second studio album Born This Way and is imbued with political and social themes such as discrimination and government control.

The show clocks in at a meaty to two and a half hours, with 23 songs split into five acts, each with a different feel, and obviously many, many different outfits – this is Gaga we’re talking about, after all.

There’s Gaga astride a disturbingly real-looking mechanical horse, Gaga coming out of the zipper-like vagina of a large, inflatable body, Gaga in a hovering Aliens-esque costume featuring a mask that obscures her face, Gaga in a plastic white dress topped with a ram-horned headpiece and Gaga in a clear bathtub built into the stage. Who cares what it was all about – this was pure pop theatre with a message of love and acceptance for all.

The stage, designed by Gaga herself and her creative team Haus of Gaga, is modeled after a medieval Gothic castle, featuring viewing towers, intricate carvings and a large catwalk to interact with the audience.

Lighting design is by Patrick Woodroffe with Mac Mosier on tour as lighting director. The rig is a self-contained Upstaging production that includes 19 x Martin MAC700 Profile, 2 x Martin MAC700 Wash, 68 x Martin MAC Aura, 28 x Martin Atomic Strobes and control is a MA Lighting grandMA2 console.

The set is a monstrosity that dictates how the production loads in and out of buildings and how everything else is set up. The lighting itself is actually quite straightforward. When you look at a top plan view of the lighting system it looks fairly simple. However, it’s how Woodroffe uses the lighting that makes it so unique and makes it look so great.

“There’s quite an assortment of fixtures in the rig with a lot of it dictated by the amount of space we have,” commented Mac Mosier. “The MAC700 Washes and Profiles fit nicely into the confined spaces within the set and work very well from there. You need a light with good punch and power to come out of such confined spaces and the MAC700’s are ideal.

The MAC700 Profiles are mixed into the set, with Mac describing them as the best light for the application. The MAC700 Washes are situated within the windows built into the set downstage left and right and Mac favours them for their beam size, punch and colour.

The MAC Auras are situated around the perimeter of all the runways and the downstage edge of the stage running across the front edge of the stage. Some are also placed inside the set to act as key lights for the band.

“The MAC Auras work great,” revealed Mac. “They’ve really got some power to them and I love their colour saturation, their dimming, and the movement of them. I’m really happy with them and they’re a great LED moving head. Patrick Dierson programmed the show so that the MAC Aura lenses are one channel and the light another so you’re controlling two different aspects.”

Surprisingly it is the Martin Atomic Strobes that Mac describes as the workhorse of the set as they are an effect that Gaga likes to use quite often.

Using the MA Lighting grandMA2 on this tour has been quite a learning curve for Mac who particularly likes the way the console is laid out.

“You can set it up just like the MA1 or however you like, and that’s fantastic,” he said. “Everyone has their own way of using a MA2. The MA2 has some really neat new features such as instead of having an effects palette to work upon, you can actually build the effect into the cue. It’s a great console and it’s exciting that it still has more to offer. There’s no timecode on this show so I’m actually operating the console and calling spots, it’s a lot of fun.”

Also in the rig are 97 x VL3500 Wash FX, 30 x Clay Paky Alpha Spot 1500 HPE, 17 x CP Alpha Profile 1500, 34 x Clay Paky Sharpy, 31 x Selecon Aclaim 650 Fresnel, 60 x Chauvet LED Batten, 44 x Colorado LED Batten, 52 x Pixel PARs, 1 x Shadow Light, 1 x Nova Flower, 1 x Hungaro flash and heaps of LED tape.

Photo credit: Troy Constable (Note there are strict copyright restrictions set by Gaga herself meaning these photos are not to be used by anyone else)