This summer Muse continued their Simulation Theory world tour through the UK and Europe. The extremely successful North American leg of the visually rich stadium tour put crew and equipment to the test in 23 cities!
Jesse Lee Stout, the creative director for the tour, wanted the entire lighting rig and stage to feel like a spaceship straight out of the ‘80s/’90s sci-fi movies we all know and love,” explains Tour Lighting Designer and Programmer, Sooner Routhier. “Making that all-encompassing vision brighter are 176 Solaris Flare® LR and 51 Solaris Flare Q+ fixtures. First, neon outlines, comprised of Upstaging Sabers, outline the sides of the truss to help turn the rig into a giant space invader. The Flare LRs provide a thicker, brighter line of light to accentuate the lines of trusses. At the tips of each truss, the structure flips up 45 degrees with three LRs sitting side by side. They represent the thrusters of the spaceship. The Flare Q+ fixtures sit inside ramps inside the stage, functioning as metal gratings/vents in the spaceship floors. The Flare Q+ light them as if they are glowing with futuristic energy.
Sooner adds, “Brightness is the biggest factor in specifying Flares. We are competing with a very large video wall upstage. It was important for the lines of the structure to stand out when needed. We also really love the clean, smooth surface of the lights.”
Lighting Director, Aaron Luke adds, “From my side of things, I find both the Q+ and the LRs to be performing quite well. The fixtures serve a few different purposes on this tour, acting as crowd blinders, eye candy, in addition to lighting the set and the band. Their brightness and consistency are definitely major assets, especially in a stadium situation.
I cannot speak highly enough of the crew from Upstaging, led by Crew Chief, Seth Conlin. Given the rigours of outdoor shows in a European summer, the crew do an incredible job of keeping the system going despite often getting drenched.
An audience-pleasing highlight of the show is the song “Dig Down”, for which the band’s three members cluster closely together downstage, at an upright piano. The piano is tastefully outlined on all four sides with bright, glowing, rounded oblongs of FloppyFlex RGB LED Neon by Firefly. Designed and installed by Upstaging, the bright, flexible FloppyFlex accents turn the instrument into an elegant set piece, perfect for the intimate number, night after night.
For me the key is reliable equipment in all conditions, says Muse Production Manager, George Reeves, and we’ve had no issues since receiving the piano prop from Upstaging. What I care about most is consistency in shows that the band demands and rightly expects. Everything we have from TMB just works and that’s what we need.