Lighting and Production Designer Patrick Brannon selected Claypaky Xtylos, A.leda B-EYE K20s and Sharpys for country superstar Tim McGraw’s just completed “McGraw Tour 2022,” which played dates in the eastern half of the US. Premier Global Production Company, the world-class staging and lighting production company based in Nashville, was the lighting vendor and lighting services provider for the shows.
Grammy Award-winner McGraw kicked off the 17-city amphitheater tour on April 29 in Rogers, Arkansas and wrapped June 4 in Mansfield, Massachusetts. The show featured more than 20 of the hits that McGraw has scored in 30-plus years of music making. McGraw was joined by special guest Russell Dickerson as well as Alexandra Kay and Brandon Davis.
Brannon, of StarDust Services in Nashville, has worked with McGraw for about ten years and designed five of his tours. He hails from a rock ’n roll background tallying 21 years with BonJovi.
He explains that a big McGraw tour had been scheduled and designed when the coronavirus pandemic hit. With everyone still a bit anxious about public turnout and the emergence of new COVID variants, Live Nation asked Brannon to design a lighting rig for the tour that would fit into six trucks instead of the previously planned 15 vehicles.
“We lost the motion and video panels, but my fixture preference remained the same” for the reduced-size production, Brannon reports. “I’m a big Claypaky fan.”
The show featured five 50-foot trusses with assorted lights and a 32 x 32-foot thrust surrounded by edge lights with a neon-look.
Brannon placed 12 Xtylos on the floor upstage, behind the band and below the video screen. The Xtylos, a compact beam moving light with a laser source, were parallel with the riser and spanned the width of the truss.
“Claypaky demo’d Xtylos for Pat and us, and Pat really liked them a lot,” notes Steven “Creech” Anderson, Senior Accounts Manager with Premier Global Production Company, Brannon’s long-time lighting supplier and buddy of two decades. “The fixtures are really bright, the color saturation is perfect and the laser source is really cool.”
“I was looking for new special effects lighting and believe I’ve found it with Xtylos,” says Brannon. “The Xtylos were used on pretty much every song, sometimes in conjunction with the graphics on the video screen. I needed more horsepower on the floor, and the Xtylos gave it to me. Their color mixing was fabulous, pan and tilt smooth and the auto-dimming feature really useful. The Xtylos produced a really cool beam of light that was solid and full. They have a certain number of rotating gobos, too and can mimic a cone laser – you wouldn’t believe how close the effects come to looking like a laser.”
“The Xtylos added a completely different look to the shows,” Anderson reports. “They created another big look coming from behind the band.”
Brannon mounted 34 versatile A.leda B-EYE K20 high-performance beam/wash/FX lights overhead in the truss to wash the stage and the audience. “The K20s were super bright with an amazing color palette and fullness of color and the ability to go full flood or down to a pretty sharp narrow beam,” he says.
Thirty Sharpy moving beam lights were also in the truss and six more on the floor. “They are my go-to special effects beam fixture,” Brannon says. “They’re super fast, you can’t beat their speed. I like their prism, gobo effects and the tube effect with a pin spot. I use Sharpys all the time.”
Troy Eckerman, Brannon’s long-time programmer, programmed the lighting on a grandMA3 console running MA2 software. Brannon’s crew chief was Colin Craig; a Premier Global crew traveled with the tour as well.
“All of the fixtures performed well and didn’t give us any problems, including the Xtylos,” says Brannon. “Seventeen consecutive shows for a light that’s still new, still cutting its teeth, and we didn’t have a single issue.”
“When a new fixture comes along and proves to be worthwhile and we see a future and a need for it down the line, we’ll entertain investing in it,” notes Anderson. “We never buy gear just to say we have it.”
Tim McGraw Lighting Team
- Pat Brannon – Lighting Designer/ Director
- Troy Eckerman – Lighting Programmer
- Steven “Creech” Anderson – Lighting Account Manager – Premier Global Production Company
- Colin Craig – Lighting Crew Chief
- Bryan Petyan – Electrician
- Thad “Hunter” Partridge – Lighting Technician
- John Finley – Lighting Technician
- Ryken Salamy – Lighting Technician
- Lighting Company: Premier Global Production Company – Nashville TN