With its long sandy beaches, tropical climate, luxurious resort hotels and legendary nightlife, Cancun attracts millions of tourists each year. Traveling from across the US, as well as many other countries around the world, visitors flock to the famous Mexican city for relaxed days on the beach and wild nights of partying. Standing out amongst the city’s myriad of bars and clubs, The City Cancún is a huge venue with an incredible capacity of 7,000. This vast multi-level club boasts a truly awe-inspiring lightshow which is anchored by a huge installation of 130 ADJ Vizi Beam 5RX moving heads.
Located in the heart of Cancun’s ‘hotel zone’, The City opened in 2004 and is now well-established as one of the resort’s most popular nightclubs. For the last eight years it has been managed by Grupo AntroMex, Mexico’s largest nightlife entertainment company which operates around 80 nightclubs, bars and restaurants across the country.
Alejandro Vázquez is the Production Director for Grupo AntroMex and has the overall responsibility for the audio, video and lighting production across all of the company’s venues. It is his job to keep on top of the latest equipment trends, evaluate new products and ensure that all of the Grupo AntroMex venues – especially its flagship nightclub, The City Cancún – stay on the cutting edge of entertainment technology.
The lightshow at the The City Cancún is built around a vast truss structure that Alejandro describes as a ‘spider’, because it has eight legs that extend out from a central pair of concentric circles with the whole thing able to lower down on electronic hoists like a spider descending on its web. This was in situ when operation of the club was taken over by Grupo AntroMex and, although he describes it as “looking old and rusty”, Alejandro liked the concept and felt it worthy of preserving. They decided to have the structure renovated and added LED video panels and new moving head beam fixtures.
Having evaluated a variety of options, ADJ’s Vizi Beam 5RX was selected by Grupo AntroMex for the club. 90 of the fixtures are installed in the roof, predominantly on the ‘spider’ rig, with an additional 40 units positioned on static truss structures that run along the sides of the venue and around the stage. Powered by the revolutionary Philips® Platinum 5R 189W lamp, which offers output comparable to a standard 575W discharge lamp, the fixture generates an intense beam with a 5-degree angle which is ideal for generating incredible mid-air effects when deployed in such large quantities.
Due to Mexico’s tropical climate, the club has previously experienced problems with fixtures failing quickly due to the high humidity and so the reliability of the Vizi Beam 5RX was equally important to Alejandro as its impressive output. “It has a very powerful beam and has also worked very well despite the humidity,” he explains. “Here in Cancún, we have severe humidity and that can be a big problem, but the ADJ gear is very good. Its quality control is high and the fixtures are doing well enduring the most adverse operating conditions on the market. We've made comparison tests with several other brands and ADJ has proven to be the best option for this type of climate, aside of the great effects and the product quality. To maintain this monstrosity of a lighting rig is a logistical challenge in the area of service, but we receive excellent support from ADJ Mexico and have experienced absolutely no problems with the inventory.”
Eight Vizi Beam 5RXs are rigged to the central circular truss, with an additional 16 units spaced out around the outer circle. This creates a focal point in the center of the huge space, directly above the main dancefloor, and allows for impressive circular sweeping movements. In addition, five more fixtures are hung from each of the eight ‘leg’ trusses, and even more units are rigged to separate triangular truss structures in each corner of the ceiling. This results in a roof full of beams projecting from every angle which, when combined with the additional fixtures down the side of the room and around the stage, makes for a truly mesmerizing lightshow.
This is something that Alejandro feels is immensely important for the success of the whole venue. “The light show is the most important thing in the club,” he states. “I think, while it pains me to say, it is more important than the music! The atmosphere you create with lighting, you can’t create with any other effect. People come to witness the spectacle that is this place and the spectacle that is the lighting, which is programmed by one of Mexico's best lighting programmers, Gerardo 'Jerry' Rodríguez, who works for us in-house”.
As a resident Lighting Programmer, it is Gerardo’s job to use the club’s immense lighting & video rig to create a world-class lightshow; the reason so many tourists pack out the venue each time it opens. He takes this responsibility very seriously, constantly working on keeping the show fresh by creating new programs. During the day he works from home, using a visualizer, dreaming up new effects. His evenings are then spent in the club triggering the most appropriate programs to match the music played by resident DJs and visiting artists.
Having worked at The City Cancún since it opened, Gerardo has seen the evolution of the club’s music policy. “I've been here through many stages…Tiesto and Paul van Dyk at the height of their popularity, but also Akon, Snoop Dogg, Black Eyed Peas, Natalie Cole... the list is endless. MTV and TeleHit also used to host music festivals every year, it’s an incredible place to work!”
With over 25 years of experience in the industry, working in Puerto Vallarta and Mexico City before coming to Cancun for the opening of The City, Gerardo has a wealth of experience using a wide variety of lighting fixtures from all of the leading manufacturers. This means that he knows exactly what he wants from a moving head and he has been extremely happy with the performance of the Vizi Beam 5RX.
“It is a great fixture... honestly great,” he enthuses. “It is fast and has very good effects. I like the beam, the prisms, the frost filter, the effect macros, the colors, the GOBO selection and rotation… I like everything about it! I also like the outside casing design, which looks very nice, and that it is very light. We shaved a lot of weight off the structure when we switched to the Vizi Beam 5RX and it is also nice and easy to carry up for rigging. I honestly think it is better than any other moving head!”
The combination of a powerful beam and ADJ’s world-famous reliability made the Vizi Beam 5RX a perfect fit for The City’s lighting rig. Offering razor sharp optics and a diverse feature set from a compact and lightweight fixture, it allows Gerardo to fill the vast club with piercing beams of richly-saturated color and generate a wide variety of awe-inspiring effects that are sure to keep visitors to Cancún returning year after year.
Watch the interview with The City Cancún's Gerardo Rodríquez, Lighting Programmer and Alejandro Vásquez, Production Director (English subtitles):
The City Cancún
Photography & Videography
130 x ADJ Vizi Beam 5RX