Melissa Etheridge Goes Green (& All Other Colors!) With Elation's Impression

Oct. 2, 2008
Date Announced: 02 Oct 2008 LOS ANGELES -- She won an Academy Award for her song featured in Al Gore’s film on global warming. . . she posts “Green Tips” on her website. . . Melissa Etheridge makes no secret about her concern for the environment. So it’s only fitting that for her 2008 Revival Tour, Etheridge’s lighting director David Hamilton switched to a new LED fixture that saves huge amounts of energy, yet is so incredibly bright that a handful of units can light up an entire concert stage. The new fixture also creates less waste, since its lamps last for 100,000 hours, generating less throwaway for landfills.That “green” fixture is the Impression from Elation Professional, a compact LED moving head with RGB color mixing. Powered by 90 high-power Luxeon K2 red, green and blue LEDs, the Impression produces a light output that’s at least as bright as a 575W discharge fixture with no less than a 50% power savings.Etheridge’s tour manager Steve Girmont first saw the Impression at a trade show and brought it to the attention of Hamilton. “We were wanting to go LED-heavy (for the Revival Tour) because of the low energy usage,” said Hamilton, who has been Etheridge’s LD since 2004. “So I checked out the Impression at Bandit Lites and did a comparison with several other LED pars. The Impression just blew all the others out of the water. There was a night and day difference between it and everything else I looked at – it was like the difference between a 500W and 1000W par can.”In addition to its brightness, Hamilton was pleased to see that the Impression covered more area than other LED par cans. “The beam spread on the Impression is substantially larger,” he said.Thanks to these attributes, Hamilton was able to light up Etheridge’s stage with a total of only 10 Impressions. The set featured a large overhead L-shaped truss that ran 40’ upstage, with a perpendicular 20’ segment at stage left. Four Impression units were hung on the 40’ segment and three on the 20’ side truss. The remaining three Impressions were positioned on the ground at stage right. Between the overhead and uplighting units, “we kind of did an angle thing, and it covered the whole stage really, really well. Ten Impressions were all I needed,” Hamilton said. One of the plans for minimizing energy consumption on the Revival Tour, he added, was to keep the lighting rig as small as possible piece-wise, and the Impression was ideal for accomplishing this goal.Performance-wise, too, the Impressions were a perfect match for a Melissa Etheridge concert, which “is not a flash and trash show,” Hamilton noted. “Basically we light the band and light the scenery. It’s subtle looks – Melissa wants the music to do the talking.” With lots of slow color fades, the Impression was perfect for the job, because it offers completely flicker-free operation. “There was absolutely no flicker – zero – which was something I was really impressed with.” Since her bout with breast cancer, the singer-songwriter no longer uses hazers, being concerned about the effects of the smoke. Here too, the Impression was up to the task, since its powerful Luxeon K2 LEDs are high enough in output to create rich, brilliant colors without fog or haze.Hamilton also praised the compact size of the Impression, which is small enough to be mounted on a 14” center and weighs only 16 lbs. “I could carry all (the Impressions) around in two small cases and could hang them by myself – they’re so lightweight.”Another feature that caught Hamilton’s attention was the Impression’s great speed of movement. Featuring state-of-the-art stepper motors, along with its compact moving mass, the fixture can reach 660° pan in less than two seconds and 300° tilt in under one second. “The speed on those things was phenomenal,” said Hamilton. “I didn’t have much chance to use it in this show, but it will be great for future projects where a lot of speed and movement is needed.“I definitely will be spec-ing the Impression in future shows,” he added. “It’s my favorite new light – by far!” Lighting Designer David Hamilton can be reached via his website

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