The newly opened The Venue at Thunder Valley Casino Resort is not only wowing people with A-list music royalty, but an innovative approach with the latest in Pro AV. While an L-Acoustics sound system powers the bands, over 300 Elation Professional lights supplied and installed by Sacramento Production & Lighting (SP&L) bring their shows to life at the $125 million, 4,500-seat entertainment venue.
Dion Cook, president/CEO at SP&L, has collaborated with the casino for the past eleven years to equip the resort’s former outdoor performance stage with lighting. For the new 150,000-square-foot indoor venue that has replaced the outdoor amphitheater, Cook specified a modern, flexible lighting package based around Elation’s Artiste series fixtures. “I wanted the horsepower to be able to integrate with any tour that comes in and the flexibility to handle softer theatrical color palette needs,” said Cook.
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Working with casino staff, architects, and theatrical consultants, SP&L was responsible for providing all the theatrical lighting, house lighting controls, material/pit lift, drapery, automated rigging, trussing, and hoists. Cook designed the soco panels and network patch bays to allow traveling acts a very flexible and easy environment to integrate tour rigs into the house system.
Over 300 Elation lights
The newly opened venue has over 300 Elation lights at its disposal including new Artiste Monet, Artiste Rembrandt, Proteus Rayzor Blade L/S, Arena Zoom Q7 IP, CW Profile HP, and DTW Blinder 700 IP fixtures. The new lighting joins other Elation lights that SP&L has brought forward through the years including Platinum FLX, Platinum Wash ZFX Pro, Platinum 1200 Wash, Platinum Beam 5R Extreme, Cuepix Blinder WW4, Protron Eclypse, Protron 3K LED strobe, and ACL 360i fixtures.
SP&L is directly involved with the acts that play at the venue each weekend via lighting tech and stagehand labor. Working closely with in-house production manager Scott Prentice, SP&L limits the design to four or five fixture types across the 300 feet of flown truss with a few different versions of floor light packages available that visiting LDs can easily tap into. Cook, who acts as house lighting designer, switches the house rig design every few months to keep the look fresh and interesting for the audience and acts.
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The Santana performance on February 19, which concluded the three shows held over Presidents' Day Weekend, demonstrated well the strong collaboration between artist and the venue. Having a long-standing relationship with Michael Ledesma, Santana's lighting designer, Cook collaborated with him to recreate Santana's touring rig as accurately as possible, ensuring that the musician could seamlessly deliver his renowned performance.
Cook has been utilizing Elation products for many years and he emphasizes that, although important, the quality of the product is not his main concern. Instead, the most crucial factor for him is the strong relationship he has developed with the company over time. Cook attributes his initial decision to use Elation to John Lopez, who was his sales representative at the time, many years ago. He has since been impressed by the exceptional service and support provided by the entire Elation team. Cook said he appreciates knowing that he can rely on their support, even when he is in a remote location late on a Sunday night, as he has personally experienced in the past.