Remember the company Light & Sound Design (Now Named PRG) they originally furnished Willie Williams with the crew and equipment. For 360°, a total of 196 of PRG’s new Bad Boy hybrid luminaires are being used for both effects lighting and regular applications as part of Williams’ design.
After watching U2’s opening show, Mickey Curbishley, PRG’s president of global touring, told me: “It’s the first time I’ve seen the Bad Boy working in the environment that it was designed for. Conventional moving lights wouldn’t have been able to deliver this level of power and there’s no other light that could do this job.”
At times, the Space Station’s membrane has a sinuous, veiny look that suggests it’s part of a living organism. This illusion is created by gobos projected by a bank of seven Bad Boys behind the mix tower, while the high platforms project on to the back and sides.
Last November, PRG’s Robin Wain arranged to hire Wembley Stadium in order to demo six Bad Boys to Williams who immediately saw that it was the first true stadium moving light which, crucially, can be read through a video screen and allow creative gobo use in conjunction with bright LED displays.
Williams himself told TPi: “It is an astonishing piece of kit and its success is due to them starting with the application. The colours are very good [the vivid green and blue for ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ and ‘One’ have amazing depth] but I was shocked to find it doesn’t do colour mixing. However, I understand why they went in favour of output because when you’re in a situation like this, output is number one.
“I knew I’d be lighting the audience to some extent but instead of just washing them I wanted to do things with break-ups, gobos and some movement. I must say that I have banned the Bad Boy name from the lighting tower. Great light, appalling name! We feel more comfortable calling it the VLI as a tribute to the Vari*Lite and the Icon, although Jake still refers to them as nodding buckets!”
In fact, the Bad Boy could well be the love child of the Vari*Lite and the Icon, as it takes the best lensing and mechanical features from each. In addition to the optical clarity that comes from using high-quality lenses, the Bad Boy features also include smooth, fluid control of focus, zoom range of 8:1 (7° to 56°), and imaging thanks to high-speed servo motors and full-field 0 to 100% dimming.
It was designed with energy efficiency and carbon footprint standards in mind which, given the number of non-eco friendly aspects of the tour in general, is no bad thing.
In Barcelona, history came full circle when Rusty Brutsché, one of the original Vari*Lite design team, watched the opening show of the 360° tour with Curbishley.
It was in this city that he saw Genesis début the first VL rig and herald a new era. On a balmy night, 28 summers later, it was a virtual re-run of the past as Brutsché saw the Bad Boys — co-designed by himself and fellow VL original Jim Bornhorst — burst into life.
AND MORE FIXTURES...
Lighting requires a 12-14 hour load-in and as lighting associate Alex Murphy told me, his boss knew exactly which fixtures he would use for each song and how he’d use them.
Another role of one of the set cranes is to position eight Zap Technologies Big Lites in a circle on the roof of the structure.
PRG Mbox Extreme media servers feed the 1,200 Barco FLX-60 pixel modules that are implanted around the edges of both stages and the bridges. The video content team created special graphics that are sent to these LEDs.
Fog and haze machines get a workout on this tour. During the rehearsal fluid, the team were consuming 42 litres of fog fluid a day. Murphy commented that they are travelling with a full truckload of machines, including “Europe’s stock of Jem Roadies” and several Hazebase units.
Trying to call so many followspots with a Spanish translator for some of the bigger numbers was very stressful, according to Murphy.
There are 12 Lycian M2 long-throws in the trusses and 13 Strong Gladiators on all the high platforms, plus seven of the new Novalight Nova-Flower 2kW flower effects, supplied to PRG by Lightfactor Sales. The Nova-Flower features in ‘If I Don’t Go Crazy’, performing a larger-than-life, spinning disco effect.
All lighting equipment including power and data distribution is being supplied through the PRG Global Touring Group. A complete truss package — including PRG’s new BAT low profile truss support for followspot chairs — is also part of the deal.
And just as it seems that every lighting trick in the book has been pulled out of the hat, Bono returns to the stage for the encore, wearing a black leather jacket designed by Moritz Waldemeyer, featuring 240 lasers that extend the singer’s every move all the way across the audience.
So I was looking over the videos that best displayed the lights and the feel as well as what 90,000 fans would think. I found City Of Blinding Lights -with its driving bassline, delayed guitars, soaring rock ballad vocals and spine-tingling tremolo piano all add up to something rather too predictable. Yes, it's an accomplished and pristine production and seem to blend in with the lights.