He supplemented with more HES products including six HEX LED arrays and two HES Axon media servers for displaying visual content, all controlled with a Full Boar 4 console and wing.
HyBeams and HEX are the “meat and bones” of the rig for this three-and-a-half hour show, Watson says. “Phil Collen of Def Leppard is performing his Delta blues, John Petrucci is doing his prog metal melodic instrumental set, and then Joe Satriani does an hour of his signature instrumental rock. They then come together at the end of the show to do a three-song jam, many times with other guest guitarists that, together, melt the audiences’ faces off!”
Watson could have chosen the SolaHyBeam 2000, which offers a higher intensity in a larger package. But the HyBeam 1000’s compact size allows him to add four extra units on the truss and still fit all the gear into a single truck pack – even in Europe, where trucks are 2.4 metres (8 feet) shorter than in the U.S. Both version of HyBeams give him his desired colour consistency: “an even white and not 18 shades of white,” he notes. “There is no disparity in colour – the HyBeams are identical out of the box. The bright white LED engine from HES is superior to anything out there – and it’s using a 440-Watt LED source! The fact that they are running on 3 amps and are brighter than a VL3K ever was is incredible.”
To achieve the appearance of three separate lighting designs, the LD uses the multipurpose HyBeam more as a wash light for one band, and primarily as a profile light for another band, while mixing it up for Satriani.
“The 20k lumens per fixture for something of that small size is incredible. I’m talking about a good even field from a 24-foot [7.3-metre] trim height getting a 6-foot [1.8-metre] cone on the stage. You don’t lose much output when you put colour or a gobo in there. And with its proper colour flags, the colour blending and movement is seamless. It’s a good strong light with great optics.”
The HEX fixture, with its fan-shaped array of six individually controllable LEDs, “just blew everybody’s minds,” he says. “It’s a useful piece of kit. I had four in the air in theatres, in a standard 40-50-foot [12-15-metre] proscenium opening, and it was a huge look, because the spread is huge. I like the shape and the imposing look.”
Watson is also comfortable on his Full Boar 4 with playback wing. “It’s a good rock and roll desk,” he says. “I can walk into any house rig and grab whatever is in there, slam it into my show on the Hog 4 and in 20 minutes I can have a show. That saves me a lot of work, especially as a production manager and a lighting designer.”
Lighting Director Josh Boyne runs the lights for Collen and Petrucci, and Watson runs the show for Joe and the jam.
Felix Lighting is handling the US tour, which kicked off in January. PRG will supply G3’s European dates in spring/summer with a few changes: Guitarist Uli Jon Roth of Electric Sun replaces Phil Collen for spring dates, and lighting director Neil Smith takes over for Josh Boyne.
G3 is expected to tour throughout 2018.