A rock staple for 40 years and one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time, you’d
be hard pressed to find anyone who couldn’t sing a string of Foreigner songs. The
renowned group recently released Forty Hits from Forty Years with an accompanying
40th Anniversary Tour appropriately featuring an old-school lighting design by Dan
Lastovka using Elation Arena Par Zoom™ LED wash lights supplied by See Factor.
Used to create a 70’s rock par can look but with the benefits of a modern intelligent
luminaire are 108 Arena Par Zoom fixtures. Lastovka comments, “When I was first
playing around with ideas for Foreigner’s 40th Anniversary Tour, I wanted to center
the design around a big par can rig, certainly not the largest that has ever been out,
but bigger than has been seen in 10 or more years, and maybe a different look to
modern audiences. In the end, whimsy yielded to practicality and a richer feature set,
so the hunt for a par can analogue began.’
The lighting vendor on the tour is See Factor, who, working with Elation rep firm Healy
Sales, supplied the Arena Par fixtures along with Elation SixPar lights. See Factor
worked with the band and Lastovka to bring the classic rock “n roll show vision to life
produced in-house setups to show the client different looks, for example, Arena Pars
vs Par 64s while playing with dimming curves to get the look of conventional par cans.
“We had an open mandate to look for a fixture that could emulate an old par can rig,’
stated Mark Friedman of See Factor, who hold a stock of Elation gear in their inventory
and is working with Foreigner for the first time. “We did shootouts, and the Arena Par
Zoom was chosen. It was a quality decision, not a cost decision.’
The Arena Par Zoom is an RGBW LED PAR wash light with a 10 – 60° zoom, 0-100%
dimming and lumen output comparable to a 1000W fixture. “High output is always top
of the list, but for the gag to work it has to behave like a par can in its dimming
curve,’ Lastovka states. “See Factor set up a demo with a 6 bar of pars and a 6 bar of
the Elations and it was hard to tell the difference. Most of the show is cued out, but
when I go to the bumps, I want it to look and feel like a par. As an added bonus, the
curve is set from the desk vs a personality selection on the fixture; it’s easy to move
between gooey par looks and sharp shutter effects.’
Some 108 Arena Par Zooms hang in groups of six across three movable trusses to
emulate a par can rig. “They do a lot of the heavy lifting, dumping a bunch of light
and saturated colour on the stage,’ says Lastovka. Although the Arena Par Zoom can
be used as a powerful stage wash, the luminaire is also capable of more subtle looks.
“I’m creating a “northern lights’ look with a combination dimming, colour, and zoom
effects,’ Lastovka says, explaining a scene that he says has a very delicate feel.
“There isn’t any weirdness or stepping in the dimming, colour, or zoom that would ruin
a nuanced scene.’
The show harkens back to the classic days of rock n’ roll in other ways like various
kabuki drops, including one that reveals a circle truss toned by Elation SixPar 100s, an
LED Par light with single-lens RGBWA+UV LEDs. “The SixPars produce excellent
colours and have been solid,’ See Factor’s Friedman stated. “Elation is making better
products at a better price and the failure rate after the first month on this tour has
The Foreigner 40th Anniversary Tour is special in many ways not least because group
founder Mick Jones is still out with the band and other original members are playing
select dates with the band for the first time since 1980. Foreigner kicked off the U.S.
leg on July 11th with Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience along
for most of the dates. The U.S. leg runs through September 9th before the band plays
a string of Canadian dates into October with UK dates coming in November.