Two of the entertainment industry’s top piano men – Sir Elton John and Billy Joel - have reunited for an extensive “Face 2 Face” tour, continuing what is being described as the most successful and longest-running concert pairing in pop history.
John and Joel are touring the US together in an extraordinary show that sees the musicians play a series of duets on twin pianos, perform separately for an hour each, and then conclude the performance together on stage. The show includes some of their greatest hits along with a selection of rock ‘n’ roll classics.
Steven Cohen Productions, in conjunction with Epic Production Technologies and Syncrolite supplied a large lighting package that includes Martin MAC III Profiles™, MAC 700 Profiles™ and MAC 2000 Washes™ with lighting control from a Martin Maxxyz™ and Maxxyz Modules™. Video control for low resolution LED screens is from a Martin Maxedia Broadcast™.
Production Designer for the show is Steve Cohen. Lighting design is by Cohen and Mark Foffano. Foffano programmed for both artists and served as the overall system designer. Kevin ‘Stick’ Bye serves as Elton John’s lighting director.
MAC III Profile
The lighting rig includes 32 Martin Professional 1500 watt MAC III Profiles located upstage on three separate hinged trusses that conform to the angle of the upstage.
“The MAC IIIs are extremely bright, and their optics are amazing,” states Foffano, who has worked with Joel since 1998. “They’re brute lights that push themselves through anything, the video screen, the background...” For both John and Joel the powerful MAC III beams are used to shine through the low res LED screen / scenery in what Foffano describes as an awe-inspiring look.
The MAC III Profile features a unique fat beam and houses an enhanced CMY color mixing system for a wider range of vibrant colors – true reds for example. A fixed color wheel houses interchangeable slots for an even broader color range.
“The colors are outstanding and color changes are incredibly fast,” Foffano continues. “The color mechanism is crisp and the color saturations are excellent – the cyan and magenta are really clean and pure.” When asked about reliability, Foffano reported no issues.
The MAC 700 Profiles sit atop LED built into a Tait Towers lifting system that allows the look of a skyline. The MAC 2000s are located in trusses both upstage and downstage.
Maxedia / Maxxyz
Two Martin Maxedia Broadcasts - Martin's user-friendly media server for media composing and playback - feed graphical content to low resolution LED screens over the stage. One Maxedia Broadcast is used for pixelmapping and the other for video content purposes. Maxedia programming was executed by Curtis Cox.
The entire show and Maxedia servers are controlled by just one Martin Maxxyz console using more than 26 universes of DMX. The DMX is transmitted from the Maxxyz console backstage over ArtNet. Maxxyz Modules provide easy direct playback access.
“Maxxyz is a platform we are comfortable with,” says Foffano. “We’ve been using it for about five years now. Its ease of programming is a great time saver - you can get to where you’re going without having to push a thousand buttons. The support is great too. It doesn’t matter where we are in the world, we can always call someone.”
The Elton John / Billy Joel "Face 2 Face" tour is expected to run periodically over the next two years with a stadium tour this summer and more dates set for November.