Linkin Park Deliver An Epic Performance With Vari*Lite VLX Washes

Posted on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Lauded as one of the most dynamic and energetic live acts around, Linkin Park’s live performances are designed to be a transformative multi-media experience, with a unique blending of music, art and extraordinary visual technology. In late 2010, just prior to their Australian tour, the band accepted the Award for ‘Best Live Act’ at the 2010 European Music Awards.

The Australian shows saw Linkin Park’s lighting designer, A J Pen, use 41 x Vari*Lite VLX Wash as well as 12 x Vari*Lite VL*3500 Wash.

”Every manufacturer has their LED wash light that is slowly evolving and I first heard about the VLX just prior to its release,” A J told. “I was programming a show in the States when a Vari*Lite rep told me all about it so I was excited to see it nearly a year later. I placed one side by side with a couple of other LED wash lights and immediately I could see it was a ‘game changer’ – an evolution of the wash light. It’s definitely a tool and not an effect.”

When it comes to the features of the VLX, A J is enthralled by the purity of the light and he insists that the speed of the colour changing is second to none.

“I can run a chase at 1500 beats per minute between red and blue with the VLX,” he said. “With other LED wash lights their processors can’t keep up and they flounder. With the VLX you can trick the eye in ways that the BBC will never air! In fact you can do some really interesting things with the VLX without it being a dedicated effect light. As I said, it’s not a snazzy special effect it’s a tool and I would happily replace every wash light with it.”

While it seems that most lighting manufacturers are scrambling to produce the ultimate LED wash light, A J is not impressed by their mission to add funky features.

”The approach that Vari*Lite seems to have taken is to replace the guts of what the wash light already is, what we’ve come to know and love,” he remarked. “Wash lights have colour mixing, they generally have a dimmer that’s separate from a strobe channel and they pan and tilt. It’s that simple, you don’t really need to get fancier and the VLX fulfills that role.”

For the Linkin Park show A J has basically replaced all the normal wash light positions with VLX fixtures. The Vari*Lite VL*3500 wash fixtures are used by A J as follow spots with four backlighting the band and six on the downstage follow spot truss operated manually.

”The VL3500’s are excellent as a follow spot,” said A J. ”The only thing I would ask for in a VLX is the ability to get a narrower beam but I’m sure that it is on Vari*Lites ‘to do’ list.”

Photo: Tim Solar