Jermaine Lamarr Cole, also known as J. Cole first received recognition in 2007, following the release of his debut mixtape The Come Up. The Fayetteville native recently released his third studio album 2014 Forest Hills Drive, named after the address of his childhood house in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It became the first hip hop album to go platinum in 25 years with no guest artists. The 2014 Forest Hills Drive Tour, ran from March through the end of August and included performances in LA, Chicago, New York and many other cities across America and Europe. LMG Touring provided video, audio, lighting and LED for the “Hollywood” Act of the tour.
The J. Cole tour was the first time that our new 7.5 MM LED tiles were used for a live event. The set, built by Gallagher Staging, features a replica of the actual Forest Hills Drive home, and consists of a ground support designed to angle up into the 7.5 MM LED screen that provides a ramp for the artist. The theatrical design is lined with Robe CYCFX4s, while the Solaris Flare strobes shine through the windows. A flown set piece, also lined with Robe CYCFX4s, completes the illusion of lying between two houses and looking into the sky beyond. The triangular truss is the final touch that brings all of the elements together into a single, synergistic visual.
Video for the tour included a seven-camera, 4A switcher package that married GrassValley CMOS cameras, Sony RoboCams and spy cameras together seamlessly.With content being driven by Catalyst media servers, are used to illuminate custom staging elements, which mirror the mood and emotion of Cole’s performance to heighten the experience for his fans. A live band was positioned between the riser LED screen and the upstage screen, which creates a unique and personal listening experience for the audience. One unique feature that the audience doesn’t see but makes all the difference to the crew are custom designed frames and set carts for fast load in and load out.
The audiovisual elements had to be dialed in from the get go. There were no second chances. Due to the lack of onsite rehearsal time, LMG provided an ESP Vision Pre-Viz system and Catalyst Media Servers for 10 days of pre-programming. “We did not have a dress rehearsal for this tour, and we pulled it off for the first show…it was miraculous,” raved Rogers. “It was just a great start for the tour.”