COSTA MESA, CA – It’s easy to see why, the Pacific Amphitheatre became an instant favorite among touring artists when it opened in 1983 with a concert by Barry Manilow. Located on the Orange County fairgrounds, the 8,000-capacity venue combines beautiful southern California scenery and gentle Pacific breezes with excellent acoustics. For one month this summer, the setting at this legendary venue sparkled even more brightly, thanks to a collection of Next NXT-1 panels from CHAUVET Professional.
Ray Woodbury of RK Diversified Entertainment (Los Angeles) used the moving LED panels to create a captivating lighting display over mid-stage for the Toyota Summer Concert Series during the Orange County Fair. Woodbury flew 16 Next NXT-1 panels on overhead truss for each of the 24 concerts in the series. “They were the workhorse of our rig,” he said. “Of course they were also much more than that; they worked really great as effects lights, giving us the flexibility to create different looks for the varied artists that performed here.”
The bands who appeared at the Toyota Summer Concert Series did indeed represent an eclectic mix, from the teen idol sound of Austin Mahone, to the country chords of The Band Perry, to the reggae fusion of Iration, to the Indie pop of Capital Cities, to the classic rock of Deep Purple, America, The Steve Miller Band, Huey Lewis and the News and Jefferson Starship. “It was like doing a series of 24 one-offs for sometimes very different bands,” said Woodbury. “We wanted each show to look special and at the same time reflect what the band was all about, so the versatility of the NXT-1s was very important. We also used the panels to great effect as wash lights with square beams to create some big looks. Their beams are very powerful.”
Aside from representing a variety of musical styles, the bands also brought with them designs from different LDs. For example, Offspring had a design by Lars Upton and Spandau Ballet had a Patrick Woodroffe design. “The bands had different looks, “said Woodbury, “but all of them used the NXT-1s in the air. Everyone who came through, from the bands to their lighting people, loved the looks we got with the Chauvet panels.”
On many nights, the lighting rig at the Toyota Summer Concert Series included more NXT-1 panels than simply the 16 overhead units. “We often used 28 of the panels, positioning them on the floor, on cases and on truss totems,” said Woodbury. “For many of the concerts, we had them on their own truss right behind our moving head truss to create a sense of depth. This was especially effective when we put them through a lot of different color changes.”
Being located in the fairgrounds, the Pacific Amphitheatre hosts concerts only during the four-week county fair. That didn’t matter to the thousands who attended the Toyota Summer Concert Series. For 24 nights this summer, the venue came alive creating musical memories that will last for years, thanks in no small part to a very dynamic light show and the moving power of Next NXT-1 panels.