Rob Thomas Tours with Varilite

Posted on Wednesday, March 17th, 2010


Benoit Richards has been lighting Rob Thomas – as a solo singer or lead singer for Matchbox Twenty – for nearly ten years and Rob’s recent tour in support of his album Cradlesong was no different.

Expanding on ideas used for Rob’s first solo tour, Benoit opted to use video element that could be controlled by his lighting console.

”I like to be in charge of the whole visual experience,” he commented. “The video element had to fit into his budget as well as his category of venues he was going to play. In North America we normally play theatres or cut down arenas so to have a show with a full set of LEDs, video crew and cameras was impractical. That’s why I came up with the concept of using six High End DL3 digital lights for projection and a curtain / screen concept that was gong to be very theatrical and help me reveal a big piece of white laundry! The double curtain track allows me to slowly reveal the big screen so that by the middle of the show when you see it for the first time you accept it rather than have to deal with it from the beginning.”

The screen is actually curved thus recessing it away from the lighting rig helping to prevent potential light back spill onto it. The video set up helped dictate which lighting fixtures would be ideal for the rig; thirty-four VL500 tungsten fixtures and eleven VL3000 fixtures.

”In Australia we’re playing bigger venues than in North America so the DL3’s are stretched and on the verge of not being bright enough,” he said. “The wise decision was to pick VL500 80 volt tungsten lights (twenty-two in the air and twelve on the floor) as they fit the colour temperature of the show and consequently make the VL3000 and the eight High End ShowGuns stick out more as the only types of discharge sources.”

Benoit says that he is really happy using the VL500’s and he views them as newer VL5’s. During the tour he discovered a little trick to using them.

”If you pre-heat the VL500 at 1% you can really save a lot of lamps!” he revealed. “Force the console to never go below 1% and your lights will live.

”I love the silly zoom on the VL3000 it just makes that light completely different from one song to another because you can use it as an overhead moody, wide-open wash and all of a sudden you can bring it back into a tight beam. They’re really cool and the gobos are very interesting even thought they’re the stock ones.”

In between lighting Rob Thomas in Australia Benoit was also busy gearing up for the three Australian George Michael shows which also used Vari*lites.