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New kids on the block, Louder Entertainment, teamed up with eclipse staging services to bring Gary Barlow to the Middle East
Concerts, Dubai, Eclipse, Gary Barlow, Gigs, Louder, Media city, Music, Take that, Analysis, Broadcast Business


New kids on the block, Louder Entertainment, teamed up with eclipse staging services to bring Gary Barlow to the Middle East for a crowd-pleasing opener to the season at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre.

It’s funny how a particular venue opening for the new season can feel like an old friend inviting you over after a long holiday for a cup of tea and a catch up.

Perhaps it’s the proximity of Dubai Media City Amphitheatre — we had a daily peek at the stage being built from the roof of our office — or perhaps it’s the smaller-scale, more homely feel than some of the big arenas in the region, but when we heard that Gary Barlow would be appearing at the venue it was almost as if we’d received a text from the man himself inviting us to pop round.

While the concert site and the notoriously friendly star himself may have both seemed as though they’ve been around for a lifetime, the company name splashed across all the marketing material was, admittedly, an unfamiliar one for Sound & Stage.

One of the newest additions to the region’s collective of event organisers, Louder Entertainment was in fact making its debut with the Gary Barlow gig.

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While it may have managed to bag one of Britain’s biggest stars for its opening effort, the live entertainment company plans to find its feet within the region by offering: “Unrivalled music experiences for the people of the GCC, including everything from live music to comedy and musical theatre, charity events and more.”

Although it may have been our first encounter with Louder Entertainment, the familiar sight of the eclipse staging services logo plastered around the venue assured us that the concert was in capable hands.

Tom Ralston, project manager at eclipse, says: “eclipse knows Media City like the back of our hands now. We have done so many shows in there over the last few years that we know what does and what doesn’t work on the site. It means that for the site lighting, the crew knows exactly what is required. Each show obviously has a different lighting rig, but the fact that the stage structure is similar for most shows there means that the crew can get straight into the rig.”

But for the venue’s season opening gig, Ralston explains to Sound & Stage that there was a “tighter build schedule than normal.”

He continues: “However, we made sure that everything was ready for when production arrived on site. Technical only started loading in on Tuesday afternoon, to be ready for programming on the Wednesday evening. With the touring backline loading in on Thursday afternoon, the only thing left to do on stage on Thursday was to add the floor package of lights, ready for the Thursday night rehearsal.”

And, following investments made ahead of the new season, the concert provided the perfect opportunity for eclipse to give some of its newest gear a debut appearance — particularly with regards to the lighting inventory.

Ralston says: “There was a lot of new lighting equipment on this show and it was a great showcase for it. Eclipse was among the first in the world to purchase the new Clay Paky SuperSharpys and so it was great to use them for the first time on this show. The SuperSharpys were set out in a line of 10 on the stage deck below each IMAG.

These gave some great aerial effects, especially in the opening VT sequence. Our other new products also came from Clay Paky — the B-Eye K10s and K20s. The K10s were used in the floor package, whilst the K20s were rigged off the two upstage trusses.”

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With a selection of new kit to show off, the tour’s lighting designer and programmer, Tim Routledge, put it all to good use, providing a colourful display that switched easily between the technicolour ‘90s nostalgia segments of the concert, to the stripped back subtlety required for the solo ballads. While it may have all appeared effortless to the untrained eye, Ralston reveals that it was months of careful planning that resulted in such a smooth debut for the new eclipse inventory and the clean execution of Routledge’s design.

He says: “We were in contact with Tim about this show as early as August, which gave us plenty of time to look through his touring plot and see if anything needed to be changed. The rig we used in Dubai was the same as his main tour, just without the B-stage.”

Perhaps it was this preparation that resulted in such a seamless performance — not just from the British former boybander, but from the technical teams involved in the production. While the concert may join the long list of hits for regional stalwarts eclipse, it has also ensured that Louder Entertainment is well on its way to making plenty of noise on the live events scene. As for Barlow’s on-stage revelation that he plans to return next year with the remaining members of Take That, there is only one response. Gary, Dubai wants you back, wants you back…

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Full Power
While the on-stage efforts were clear for all the audience members to see, eclipse also continued the hard work behind the scenes by supplying temporary power — not only to the stage set up, but also to the entire event site.
In total, around 6km of cable was used, from powerlock all the way down to TRS, with two synchronised 500 kVA generators providing power to the show and three 200 kVA generators dedicated to the rest of the site.

Kit List
- 330 x Panels of [eclipse] video screen
- 4 x Cameras
- 2 x Hippotizer HD media servers controlled by via a GrandMA2 Lite

Lighting – main stage:
- 55 x Clay Paky Sharpys
- 36 x Clay Paky K20 B-Eye
- 10 x Clay Paky K10 B-Eye
- 20 x Clay Paky SuperSharpys
- 15 x Clay Paky 1500 Profile
- 12 x Clay Paky Sharpy Wash
- 36 x 2-Lite Moles
- 8 x 4-Lite Moles
- 16 x SGM P-5 LED Wash
- 36 x Showtec Sunstrip Active DMX
- 2 x Lycian Truss Spots
- 4 x Gladiator FOH Followspots
- 1 x Full Size GrandMA2

Lighting – site:
- 12 x Chroma Floods
- 200 x LED Pars

Audio — supplied by
DeltA Sound Dubai:
- 24x L'Acoustics K1 Loudspeaker
- 12x L'Acoustics K1 Subwoofer
- 24x L'Acoustics V-Dosc Loudspeaker
- 6x L'Acoustics Kara Loudspeaker
- 18x L'Acoustics DV-Dosc Loudspeaker
- 24x L'Acoustics SB28 Sub Speaker
- 10x L'Acoustics LA-RAK (3 x LA8 amplifiers)
- 4x L'Acoustics Pad 4 LA48 Amplifier Rack
- 2x XTA DP226 Controller

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