Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Stage designs to blow you away

Brilliant Stages has designed and constructed the staging and spectacular suspended pyramid feature for Muse’s current tour, Second Law, which tours Europe until Christmas before moving to North America in January 2013.

Oli Metcalfe’s design for the Second Law tour incorporates a semi-circular stage with a straight leading edge, from which projects a full width fore-stage and thrust, and which is inset with circular polycarbonate panels housing lighting effects. Tech bunkers flank each side and a curved runway circumnavigates the upstage edge. LED panels and moving heads feature heavily in the Brilliant Stages’ design which needed to incorporate the necessary support and infrastructure to accommodate this.

The stage is surmounted by the original revolving drum riser which was adapted to accommodate 600mm high LED panels attached to its sides. Brilliant Stages increased the height by adding a rectangular base and infill corners, and created a framework into which the LED panels slide and are locked into position by the corner pieces.

The finishing touches at stage level are made using B1 M1 rated black Regal satin drapes around the thrust, rear of the runway, and tech bunkers, with roll up panels for access to monitors and acoustically transparent fabric across the front of the bass speakers incorporated into the forestage.

This is not the first tour to bring such a centrepiece along with them, fans raved about the stage design at U2’s 360 tour.

 Lovingly dubbed the Claw by the band and the army of crew members needed to erect it on a nightly basis, the stage — anchored in the middle of the field — featured a giant 360 video screen, flowing silk screens and a light show that would make Pink Floyd jealous.

As Bono told Rolling Stone when news of the tour first emerged, the stage set up is "an engineering feat that creates this real physical proximity to the crowd."

Even as far back as 1987, David Bowie was leading the way in stage design for his Glass Spider tour. With a team that included lighting designer Allen Branton, set designer Mark Ravitz, and video director Christine Strand, Bowie’s Glass Spider Tour was all spectacle, including using scaffolding for multiple levels for the band and dancers and, of course, the 40'-diameter spider dominating the stage with its 15'-high inflatable body, not including the legs, which themselves held 20,000’ of colour-changing rope lights. It didn’t hurt the dramatic effects level to have Bowie descend from the spider’s belly in a chair, or the Flying by Foy rig that enabled the singer and dancers to rappel from various levels back to the stage deck.

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