Al Jolson, Louis Armstrong and Charlie Chaplin all appeared there in its early days as a vaudeville house. Later, the unique Andy Kaufman performed behind a protective net, while artists including The Clash, Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, U2 and Nirvana have all attracted the city’s crowds. Today, run by Goldenvoice, it continues to thrive as a destination for live music, stand-up comedy and events of all kinds.
The Warfield recently upgraded its stage lighting rig to take full advantage of the many benefits offered by the latest LED technology. Forming the core of the new system are fixtures from the Signify Entertainment Lighting portfolio, including 12 VLZ Spot fixtures from Philips Vari-Lite, along with 12 SL BEAM 500fx LED and SL BEAM 300fx LED wash moving heads from the Showline brand. Together, the new equipment is providing the venue with a range of practical and performance benefits.
Environmental Drivers - Discussing the investment in state-of-the-art LED solutions, the Warfield’s lighting director Rob Robertson says, “San Francisco is a progressive city in a progressive state. Being on the forefront of environmental policy and regulation is not merely wise, it’s essential here. We’re hopeful that these fixtures will benefit our lighting program for many years to come, as well as reduce our environmental footprint.”
Alongside environmental concerns, cost savings are an important driver in the purchasing decisions. “We are quite aware of the impact of the labor costs incurred by Goldenvoice,” says Robertson, “and want to do everything in our power to fairly contain these costs to allow our promoter to thrive and compete . . . Efficiencies through decreased lamp costs and maintenance costs go a long way toward minimizing unnecessary overhead.”
Performance Benefits - Of the VLZ Spots, Robertson says, “We were drawn to this fixture as the only LED spot in this class of light output. We’ve always been impressed by Vari-Lite’s optical zoom range and dual rotating gobo sets. Other offerings in the LED spot/profile fixture market have a robust feature set but lack the output, which we felt was important in a venue of our size.”
The Warfield now has eight VLZ Spots hung on the upstage truss, plus four on a mid-stage line set. “As a live music venue, a strong backlight is essential,” says Robertson. “The VLZ fixtures serve as our main key backlight and atmospheric effect fixtures. The four mid-stage fixtures also serve as rim light for our comedy and lecture events.”
Robertson is also pleased with how the VLZs blend in with the rest of the rig. “Their brightness complements the SL BEAM 500s, and their native color temperature matches our follow spots and complements the RGB mixing of the rest of our rig,” he says.