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Robe out in the middle for Zac Brown Band

In 2021, Zac Brown Band (ZBB) hit the road again with their “Comeback Tour”, re‐energising a live campaign that was abruptly halted due to the pandemic!

Lighting designer Chris Cockrill of Livelight Design updated his original design for the new tour, keeping Robe Spiider LED wash beam moving lights as a major element of the aesthetic. The initial Spiider count of 64 fixtures (plus another 16 for the stadium dates) was revised to 40, where they again assumed the same role as the primary wash luminaire on the rig.

Chris chose Spiiders for “the strong output, tight zoom and general versatility, including being able to pixel map the entire fixture for additional looks and effects, and the flower effect is a fun option that adds a nice breakup look on top of the wash.” Most of the Spiiders were deployed across the main over‐stage trusses, positioned for full stage coverage, with five fixtures on the deck downstage left and right.

Challenges in lighting the show, Chris elucidated, included the “sheer volume of available material from which the setlist is pulled!” Every night is a different show and there are several general set changes over the course of the tour. Never having the same set twice makes operating more exciting, more improvisational, and more fun, and meant Chris and his grandMA2 console had to be ready for anything. He also had to deal with some major changes in the re‐scaling process which meant losing four tilting video columns upstage that moved forward to reveal another layer of lighting behind which were replaced with five static LED surfaces. Two central trapezoidal trusses that were also automated and had filled the downstage ceiling between the banks of upstage / downstage side trusses were replaced with additional straight upstage / downstage trusses which were static.

ZBB tour’s lighting vendor was Mocksville, North Carolina‐based SES, where the account was managed by Jeff Cranfill, continuing a long and successful relationship with the artist.

Photos © Andy Sapp and Tyler Lord @projectblackboxx

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