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grandMA on “Black Ice Tour”

AC/DC’s long-time Lighting Director Cosmo Wilson about his first tour with the grandMA.

Rock legends AC/DC are electrifying sell-out crowds on their first tour in eight years, and grandMA is plugged into the excitement. The band’s long-awaited Black Ice World Tour comes on the heels of its “Black Ice” album for Columbia Records and takes as its theme the first track, Rock ’n’ Roll Train, with the stage featuring five curved trusses reminiscent of a railroad station’s roof beams. It’s the best show they’ve ever done,” declares the band’s lighting director Cosmo Wilson. “Every tour gets progressively better. AC/DC has always done larger-than-life things, and they love a huge set so this time we have a huge train on stage.”

Photo: Steve Jennings

The Black Ice World Tour marks the first time that Wilson has toured with the grandMA. A main system and backup are on hand to control the extensive lighting package required for the massive set and AC/DC’s over-the-top performance. “I’ve used a lot of different consoles, but I started using the grandMA on some one-off dates for other artists and have done a lot of corporate shows with it,” he points out. “This is my first chance to tour with it. That’s when you really get to learn it. I’ve always liked a lot of grandMA’s features, and I’d been thinking I wanted to use it for AC/DC. Dave Hill, the co-lighting designer with Patrick Woodroffe, is also a grandMA fan.”

“Generally, I take notes during the show and try to make it better the next day. But since I’m an on-the-fly guy, with the grandMA, it’s so easy to grab things and change them in the middle of the show. Everything is at your fingertips, ” says Wilson.

Among the lighting instruments supplied by Upstaging Lighting & Transport and controlled by the grandMA are 48 x Clay Paky Alpha Beam 300 as well as 36 x Vari*Lite VL3000 spots. The rest of the lighting rig consists of Coemar, Lycian, Elation, Zap Technology, Martin and Color Kinetics products.

Photo: Steve Jennings

Wilson reports that the grandMA is “working fantastically” on the Black Ice World Tour.  “I’m really impressed with it; I love the console.” Among the features he particularly enjoys is the touchscreen interface, which enables him to “put anything I want where I want it and make changes in seconds without missing a cue. It’s really fast!” 

“Cosmo is a real hands on guy, and he has thrived on this very intuitive desk. Cosmo’s artistry and long relationship with AC/DC, combined with the excellence of Patrick Woodroffe and Dave Hill is an unbeatable combination. Also, Upstaging is predictably excellent. The quality of their preparation really allows the artists to concentrate on doing their job,” adds A.C.T Lighting President and CEO Bob Gordon. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of the grandMA in North America.