Having worked with Jeff Lynne’s ELO last year, ER Productions jumped at the chance to join the 70s rock group on its sell-out stadium and arena tour this summer. With an infamous back catalogue, Lynne and his band certainly know how to please the crowd, incorporating mind blowing visual effects into their relatively rare performances.
Designed by Tim Routledge, this year’s tour saw a giant spaceship hovering above the stage, with a sea of lasers and screen visuals beaming around the venue, like a scene out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
With a brief to make it bright, the spaceship’s unusual lighting rig housed six green Excellent 24 scanning lasers and smoke, which complimented the incredible set list. Key laser tracks included Twilight, Shine a little Love, Telephone Line and not surprisingly, Mr. Blue Sky.
“We used a number of traditional green scanning lasers in the shows including sixteen green SLP units and twelve green Excellent 24 systems, all of which were controlled using Pangolin Beyond software. It has been a long time since we used this many green lasers in such large quantities, but the effect of rigging them onto the spaceship worked really well in context”, said Marc Webber, co-founder of ER Productions.
Although the process of rigging lasers high above the stage onto a spaceship didn’t pose any issues for the crew on the ground, the team had to be sure that the beam trajectories were spot on before the rig could be raised. Once the spaceship was airborne, ER Productions’ crew couldn’t reach the lasers to resolve any issues.
“One of the challenges we faced was supplying a complete second rig of spaceship lasers for the stadium shows, which loaded in the same day as the arena shows. This required us to have an additional crew testing and pre-loading lasers onto the spaceship before it was craned into position” continued Webber.
A huge package of atmospheric effects comprised of two Look Solutions ORKA hazers, six Viper deLuxe smoke machines and two Unique hazers, complimented the lasers and contributed to the visual drama.
He concluded, “It’s always a pleasure to work with Tim Routledge and Chris Vaughan – the show design and lighting was fantastic and we were really pleased to be part of it.”
Photos courtesy of Kris Goodman