Photos by Todd Kaplan
Chris Lisle has designed the production and lighting for Jason Aldean’s current “They Don’t Know” tour and is using Elation Professional gear as part of a large lighting package. The country music singer has been on the road since late April and is playing a variety of venues across North America through the summer and into the fall.Jason Aldean has 19 country-chart number-one songs to his credit and was named Entertainer of the year by the Academy of Country Music in 2016. The “They Don’t Know” tour and new album of the same name have been highly anticipated by his wide fan base, who admires the entertainer for the range of emotions in his shows and blend of musical styles, anything from traditional country to more upbeat rock, R&B and even rap.
“This is my first tour with the Jason Aldean camp,” Production Designer Chris Lisle stated. “The entire Jason Aldean team has been great to work with – from Jason himself to management to the lighting crew. They are all top notch pros that put a lot of heart into what they do.”
Lisle has over 350 fixtures at his disposal as part of an industrial design that centers on the hexagon as a symbol of blue-collar grit and toughness. The six-sided hexagonal theme, which plays into everything from trussing to staging to video screens, gives a beautifully layered depth to the stage while providing a useful variety of angles from which to light the set.
The lighting package is being supplied by Bandit Lites and includes Elation ACL 360 Bar effect lights, Colour Chorus series LED battens and Cuepix Blinder WW4s, along with a host of other automated fixtures.
“Due to the location and nature of the Elation fixtures, they are used often and in pretty much every song,” Lisle says. “The ACL 360’s are used to line the edge of the hexagonal wing pieces that extend off the stage left and right. They are a key part of the intros and solos of a couple of songs, and are especially useful due to their effects and rotation abilities.”
When Aldean moves wide stage right or left to connect with his audience, he is fronted by a line of ACL 360 Bars that Lisle can use for color, eye candy or even beam effects. When playing the center of the stage, light from the ACL fixtures broaden the stage look by defining the stage’s outer edges.
Lisle is using Elation’s LED-based Cuepix Blinder WW4, which gives the classic incandescent look of the 4-lite banger but at a fraction of the power requirement.
“The WW4’s are in a few places,” he says. “On the downstage truss behind custom hexagon-shaped fascia, on the fascias of the drum and steel risers, and also hidden behind the grills of a few of the guitar amps upstage center. We really love the WW4’s as well as they give us that ‘old school’ 4-lite look, but with the power saving abilities of LED.”
For color washing set pieces and a large curtain backdrop Lisle turned to two fixtures in Elation’s LED (RGBA) batten series of Colour Chorus fixtures, the 4-foot long Colour Chorus 48™ and the six-foot long Colour Chorus 72.
“We use the Colour Chorus 48’s to uplight under the thrust and the 72’ to uplight the backdrop,” he says. “The Color Chorus line is super bright and mixes colors super well. We are very happy with the work they are doing and what we are getting out of them.”
The “They Don’t Know” tour design has met with acclaim along the way and Lisle praises lighting director Keith Hoagland as well as lighting crew chief Jonathan “Neppy” Houle for their role. The “They Don’t Know Tour” continues through October 2017.