Dave Matthews Band 2018
Todd Kaplan

Dave Matthews Band 2018 Tour with Elation Chorus Line

Theatrical Media Services (TMS) supply flexible LED battens for backdrop lighting and impactful wall of light effect

The Dave Matthews Band is digging deep in their catalog to serve up some old school favorites while mixing in new songs from their latest release on their current 2018 tour, which kicked off May 18th in Houston, Texas. The popular jam band is known as a must-see summer touring act and this year are selling out amphitheaters across the U.S. beneath a rig that includes effects from Elation Chorus Line LED battens.

The band’s first tour since 2016 runs through Sept 10th with the final show at the Hollywood Bowl in LA. The tour is in support of the band's new album “Come Tomorrow” that debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts. Lighting design is by Fenton Williams together with Aaron Stinebrink of tour lighting vendor TMS of Omaha, Nebraska. Both Williams and TMS have been associated with the Dave Matthews Band for over two decades.

The designers use 30 Chorus Line 16 LED battens in the rig, 15 on the backdrop truss and another fifteen just downstage of the backdrop on the floor. Stinebrink calls the zoomable RGBW color-changing linear bar light a dual purpose fixture. “We chose the Chorus Line due to the tight zoom angle you can achieve as well as being brighter than other products we tested,” he said. The Chorus Line 16’s power comes from sixteen 40W LEDs that allow for use on large stage performances and enough punch to compete with bright LED video screens. Motorized zoom optics mean it can be used to light set objects and cycs or backdrops and a 220° tilt motor function lets designers position the unit dynamically during a show. It also has full pixel control for direct eye candy looks.

“The intended use in this Dave Matthews Band design is to light the backdrop,” Stinebrink explains. “But then they also tilt towards the downstage edge to create a wall of light that projects over the top of the projection set piece. The Chorus Line floor units also shoot under the same set piece in the same manner. We also use the floor fixtures to create a silhouette of the band due to the incredible zoom the fixture has. In the end, the feature set in the Chorus Line gave us a lot of options to use in a multitude of ways.”

The Dave Matthews Band has enjoyed unprecedented success over the years – “Come Tomorrow’s” successful debut means the band is the first group to have seven consecutive studio albums debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 – and LD Williams has been a part of it ever since the band formed in 1991. He has been handling the designs for lighting, scenic and video since 1995 when the band began to carry its own production. He also appreciates the Chorus Lines flexibility, commenting, “My favorite part of using the Chorus Line is the versatility it affords us in the rig. It has been a great addition with its individual cell control and tilt. The light will be a must-have on all of my upcoming shows.”

Stinebrink, who also programmed the show, along with Ben Lopreto, thanks [Elation Regional Sales Rep] Kraig Knight for “the incredible support” and the entire TMS lighting crew for their “hard work in making the tour possible.”

Production Designer:        Fenton Williams
Lighting Designers:           Fenton Williams, Aaron Stinebrink
Lighting Programmers:    Aaron Stinebrink, Ben Lopreto,
Crew Chief:                        Michael Arch
Lighting Crew:                   Jerry Kaiser, Bob Chaize, Ben Lopreto, Josh Albright
Lighting Vendor:                TMS – www.tmsomaha.com