Simulation Theory World Tour 2019
Muse kicked off their Simulation Theory Tour in February, with a mind-blowing set, complete with LED-clad dancers, a giant inflatable robot, and an impressive range of lasers and special effects provided by ER Productions.
ER began their working relationship with Muse when they were asked to supply lasers for their show in Marlay Park in the summer of 2008. When Muse released their fifth studio album The Resistance – which The Sunday Times hailed ‘an album of genius, brilliance and beauty’ – in 2009, the band needed spectacular effects for the accompanying tour, which would reflect their move towards an electronic sound.
Their shows have always been dynamic in terms of production. Ten years later, Simulation Theory World Tour would be no different. Described by drummer, Dominic Howard, as ‘a big neon extravaganza’, ER is providing the show with an incredible range of laser fixtures and SFX, including 4 Phaenon 30000, 10 EX25 and 30 ER RGB Beamburst, which create a laser-heavy spectacular for the fans.
Frontman, Matt Bellamy said, “We’re going to do the biggest tour and just blow people’s minds with stuff they’ve never seen before."
“We’re always interested in the latest technology and what’s cutting edge, so we’re always thinking of the new thing that nobody’s ever used before in a concert. And we found something and we’re going to use that.”
ER’s co-founder, Ryan Hagan, said, “We worked very closely with show designer, Jesse Lee Stout, to deliver his vision, and it’s been a great experience. This arrangement of lasers is something we have not delivered before, as the focus has generally been towards the opposite end of the stage, but for this show, we get to place lasers all the way down the arena on each side. This way the whole audience receives incredible exposure of the laser set up, so it really is an effective and immersive experience for all.”
“During the opening sequence a set of Beamburst is used to create a pyramid of beams collecting at a single point, it’s here that Matt raises the ‘Power Glove’ into this collection of laser beams and the glove reflects Lumiere type effects and is a great teaser for what is in store laser-wise throughout the show.”
One Phaenon laser fixture is positioned upstage centre and rigged onto a DMX Lifting Column. The data feedback from the column is fed directly into the BEYOND Universe to control the safety aspect of this system. It tells the tech exactly what height it is at all times. It’s so accurate that unless it’s in exactly the right position for the show, the data will not allow BEYOND to trigger the laser.
The lifting column allows the laser to rise up above drummer, Dominic Howard’s head for specific show sequences, then back down out of the way when not in use. The flown central Phaenon was used in conjunction with a rolling shutter camera on the DSE to create real-time scan adjusted visuals on the huge curved LED wall, around Matt Bellamy.
There’s one moment in the show where a piano appears from the lift, on the B-Stage through CRYO-FOG, and when the notes are played, it triggers 30 of ER’s RGB Beamburst smaller laser fixtures and grating effects project out into the arena.
Another of the 30w Phaenon units created video content for a specific moment in the show around Matt Bellamy. A rolling shutter camera was used on the downstage edge, to create real-time scan adjusted images on the huge curved LED Wall. The actual laser, in real life, doesn’t appear to be any different, but the rolling shutter camera allows the images to be slowed right down so it looks like light is actually travelling across the space.
ER’s Miles Baldwin was crew chief for a team of 3 that were responsible for all lasers and SFX for the tour. On a daily basis, the team rigged the 44 lasers, 8 confetti blowers, 10 Stadium Shots, 8 CRYO-FOG smoke machines, 5 CRYO-Rifles and 60 black and silver 1mt diameter balloons. 6 Viper deLuxe and 4 Unique Hazers provided the atmospherics. The other members of the team were Corey Newton and Amy Stein, who had 4 local hands to help with the setup. Amy Stein was responsible for shooting the SFX and, with assistance from the hands, set over 1000lbs of CO2, 110lbs of UV Confetti and 2400 streamers per show!
ER operated a Front of House rack, which consists of a BEYOND Ultimate Universe PC, capable of running 30 FB4 controllers; and a MIFF Timecode reader, fed by an audio splitter, that also feeds code into the ROADHOG 4, which handles all DMX control. The UPS in the FOH rack means there’s powered back-up for at least 30 minutes on all FOH systems. SFX were all controlled by a wireless Galaxis system.
Hagan concluded, “From the off we’re using lasers differently as lighting effects, content creation and projection effects into the audience. It’s not often you produce a show where so many different techniques have utilised all areas of our expertise. It’s been a lot of fun.”
For more information about the products ER Productions used for Muse, please get in touch.