BLACKPOOL, UK – Elvis Presley lives! At least in the hearts and minds of his legion of fans around the world. Although he has been gone for the better part of four decades, the King of Rock ‘n Roll still casts a long and colourful shadow. This much was made very clear by the large turnout at the fourth annual Europe’s Tribute to Elvis, which took place at the 19th Century Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, United Kingdom
CHAUVET DJ was there, along with its sister company CHAUVET Professional, to contribute to the fun and glitz. A large assortment of the companies’ products was used to create an appropriately glitzy lightshow for the man who became synonymous with Las Vegas entertainment.
“As the event is becoming one of the most popular Elvis competitions in the world, we knew that we needed to step the game up this year, and of course, our Chauvet fixtures didn’t let us down,” said Ollie Wilkinson, the lighting designer and engineer for the popular tribute festival.
All in all, Wilkinson incorporated three MotionOrbs, eight PiXPar 24 par-style fixtures and four Geyser RGB LED foggers from CHAUVET DJ into his show design, along with a collection of Q-Wash 560Z-LED fixtures and Next NXT-1 moving LED panels from CHAUVET Professional.
“When you see Elvis tribute shows around the world, there’s usually a big upstage E.L.V.I.S sign in lights,” continued Wilkinson. “I didn’t want to go for that typical look, so we played about with the thought of using separate Elvis letters in gobos on the downstage truss. After some thought we had the idea to use our Chauvet NEXT NXT-1 fixtures to spell ELVIS across the truss, along with other supporting acts such as the legendary Suzi Quatro, who also graced the stage.”
Wilkinson positioned eight 560Z fixtures on a flown truss in the center of the ballroom for a full band wash, as well as painting the extravagant 100-year-old chandelier clad ceiling with colour. A further eight fixtures were positioned on the upstage truss to give a back wash, and also to wash the white wall at the back of the stage. Significantly, Wilkinson married the 560Zs with the three CHAUVET DJ MotionOrbs, which adorned the back wall.
“As the whole event was being filmed, I placed the MotionOrbs against the white upstage wall to give a sense of colour and depth to the stage on camera. This provided a good amount of eye candy ,while keeping intensity to a suitable level.” He continued: “The MotionOrbs combined with the 560Zs really created a complementary look, and looked especially impacting on camera.”
To add extra snippets of wash light at crucial moments during the set to illuminate various members of the band, Wilkinson added eight CHAUVET DJ PiXPar 24 par-style fixtures to his rig.
“The CHAUVET DJ PiXPar 24 is my alternative wash fixture when power and dimming is limited. Although the output is stunning, for this show I didn’t have to compromise all of my front wash. I could then still use some of the flown fixtures to light the catwalk and roof when needed.”
Complementing the grandiose aura of Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom, Wilkinson’s final touch to the stage involved creating atmospheric effects with eight CHAUVET DJ Geyser RGBs positioned alongside the catwalk, which protruded from the front of the stage. The Geyser RGBs, which produce large volumes of water-based fog illuminated by colourful LED lighting, had the expected huge impact on the show.
“The Geysers never fail to impress,” continued Wilkinson. “The Geysers are my favorite alternative to Pyro by far. Not only did they give the audience that ‘wow’ factor, they were a worthy accompaniment to the awards, presentations and performances that were scattered throughout the event.”
While the King may no longer be around, with events such as Europe’s tribute to Elvis keeping his spirit alive, it’s little wonder that Elvis’ popularity refuses to wane. “It was a fantastic production to be involved with.” Concluded Wilkinson: “The Chauvet fixtures were essential to helping me recreate that electric atmosphere synonymous with Elvis performances.”