impression X5 IP Bars have the edge for Karol G’s stadium shows

LD Iggy Rosenberg deploys 136, stating: “the X5 IP Bars are in a whole new class”

LD Ignacio (Iggy) Rosenberg has become another early adopter of GLP’s new impression X5 IP Bars, having successfully commandeered 136 units from PRG for Karol G’s recent 13-date American stadium tour.

Part of a multidisciplinary design collective called Lightswitch, which specialises in visual design for live entertainment and architectural projects, the lighting designer first became involved with Karol G several years ago. “After two tours with her we were invited back to design the lighting on her Mañana Sera Bonito stadium tour,” he says, adding: “It helps I’m originally Argentine, so there is a language and cultural bridge that helps the design process and transfer of ideas.”

Karol G’s reputation has grown quickly since winning the Colombian version of The X Factor back in 2006, and later being awarded a Latin Grammy for Best New Artist in 2018. Her music genre being described as ‘reggaeton and Latin trap’, the release of her fourth album, Mañana Sera Bonito, earlier this year gave her the distinction of being the first woman to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 chart with a Spanish-language album.

Such demand inevitably led to her undertaking her first stadium tour, playing venues of up to 50,000 capacity.

Working with production designer Travis Shirley, Iggy Rosenberg confirms that the lighting design required a number of theme changes: “Karol really knows what she wants to see and how her show needs to propel her energy into the crowd.

“There was a request for strobes – and we have a LOT of them, including [GLP] JDC1s in the audience. Aside from that I emphasised the architectural design of the stage, and there is a strong support of the story in the show, with two entire sections being limited to just a couple of shades of blue for one and pink for the other.”

He has developed a close relationship with GLP and its product portfolio over the years, he continues: “Like most people I started with the impression X4, and then the revolution that was the JDC1. I was graciously invited to GLP’s 25th anniversary in Germany and that relationship continues to grow as they release new products.”

It was in Germany that he saw a prototype of the new impression X5 and was immediately impressed. By the time last year’s LDI Show came along the impression X5 IP Bar had been developed: “I could see it had the potential to be a great new fixture for us. I wanted the units to be compact, and I needed them to mix a true, bright white. The quality of the light and colour rendering is of huge importance to me.”

The impression X5 IP Bars are all out in the open, lining a massive stage and runway thrust stretching around 120ft long, “so being IP-rated was a must,” he says. “They serve a few purposes – we needed them to be bright and versatile to act as strobes as well as creating volumetric effects.” They also provide more subtle effects. “We have some beautiful slow peels done with them that are really great to watch,” states the LD.

Rosenberg was particularly impressed with the colour palette, he says: “With two sections of the show occurring in one very small defined palette, having accurate and discrete control of shades was so important. Having a solid difference between a 25% and 35% saturation in magenta for example was key. The zoom is a huge plus – we use that a lot to have these almost architectural shapes out into the air, which really pans out when you’re doing stadiums and shows at this size.”

PRG acquired these fixtures for the tour in record time. “They have been a great partner,” Rosenberg continues. “The schedule was unbelievably tight and they really pulled this together in a record amount of time.” While inventory supply came out of PRG’s Las Vegas depot, pre-viz took place at its LA location.

Turning to the original impression X4 platform, he has been using 60 of the compact impression X4 S on the band risers. Explaining this deployment, he says: “The plan was to give the band their own ‘mini rig’, and also support cross camera shots, so there was always something in the background for the pit cameras to catch, rather than just trussing or the side of an LED screen.

“We also have about 60 JDC1 hanging in vertical trussing on the delay towers. I tend to design thinking people attend an event, not necessarily just go see a show, and Karol also wanted the audience to have the show around them, so the people all the way in the back of the venue get their own light show and Karol gets to see everyone when they’re lit up. It was a way of taking the intimacy of smaller shows and scaling it up to this size.”

The show was programmed by PJ Carruth and Josh Lowenstein. Alejandro ‘Ado’ Arias is Karol G’s production manager and Roly Garbalosa is the production manager of the stage crew.

The decision to specify the impression X5 IP Bars has paid huge dividends for Iggy Rosenberg, he concludes: “They have been easy to work with and programme, and it’s really a credit to GLP for understanding how programmers and designers work. We pre-vized using Depence and they were very accurate in that environment as well.

“The X5 IP Bars are in a whole new class and I see ourselves using them more often for shows like these.”