Kane Brown, Blessed & Free Tour
Kane Brown is a multi-platinum singer-songwriter and the first artist to simultaneously claim the number one spot on all five of Billboard’s main country charts. After postponing his Worldwide Beautiful Tour in early 2020, Brown is back on the road with the Blessed & Free Tour, playing some of the biggest arenas in the country including Madison Square Garden. Because the songs in Brown’s setlist range from tender acoustic ballads to loud and rollicking anthems, lighting designer Trevor Ahlstrand of Ahlstrand Productions wanted to design a rig that supported the music’s stylistic changes and gave fans an exciting visual experience while also accommodating a 56-foot onstage screen that plays throughout the show.
To meet the tour’s needs, Ahlstrand selected next-generation Martin VDO Sceptron 10 video battens powered by P3 and VDO Atomic Dot CLD fixtures.
The rig features 60 Martin VDO Atomic Dot CLD fixtures configured in rows of twelve behind the video screen, creating a massive backdrop for deep washes and stunning automation. A highly versatile fixture featuring a high-power white beam combined with a pixel-controllable RGB Aura backlight, the Atomic Dot offers powerful beams, vibrant color washes, intense strobes and more. While the tour features CLD variant fixtures that specialize in cooler 5700K lighting, the Atomic Dot also comes in a WRM variant for a 2700K color temperature. Additionally, the Atomic Dot’s compact design and smart interlocking mechanics allow for a wide range of designs, arrays and shapes.
The Martin VDO Sceptron 10 sports next-generation 16-bit per color image processing technology and pixel-level calibration for everything from full and bright washes to subtle hues. The stage outline created by the Sceptrons gives additional impact to Brown and the band’s stage presence with bold and saturated colors and flashes. Additionally, Ahlstrand designed them into automated set pieces or lighting pods that come down to surround Kane during his acoustic set or stripped-down songs. The Sceptrons highlight a triangle pattern directly behind the musicians, creating a more subtle and intimate lighting effect that still translates to arena-sized venues. The Martin P3 software used to control the Sceptrons allowed for instant data processing and pinpoint pixel mapping and automation with ease, making them a key lighting component throughout the entire show.
“One of the main things I wanted to do was create a wall of light behind the transparent video screen,” said Trevor Ahlstrand, Lighting Designer and owner of Ahlstrand Productions. “Kane’s entrance starts behind the screen where he ascends to the top and stands on top of the video screen before repelling down to the stage via a harness. No matter what we were going to place back there, it had to have the power to carry the opening of the show while revealing him silhouetted raising behind the screen. We needed to be able to have a fixture the could complement the video content on stage while also popping through the screen with a lot of intensity to accent larger hits and stops in the music. The Atomic Dot does just that, and they bring a different feel and energy throughout the show. The Sceptrons outline every set piece like the ego risers, thrust, and automated lighting pods; I use them on the majority of the shows that I put out.”
“I tried to build something that was very dynamic and could look very different depending on what feel the songs needed,” added Ahlstrand. “The Sceptrons are a really versatile tool. They’re one of those things that I rarely turn off, because at a low intensity and color they’re a nice, subtle set piece, and then when you want them to, they carry a big punch for a part of the song with intense movement. They can be the main focus or just a set element, and they’re an extremely versatile tool that has done a lot for the show.”