The North American leg’s September and October dates included a performance at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, the first time the band played the iconic venue since 1984.
Lighting and Show Director Manfred Nikitser, of Manfred Nikitser Show Lighting, designed a “classical rock show” with “big, strong looks” guaranteed to please audiences who expected “a good rock show.” He created a “clean overall look with big LED screens, thrust and ego risers plus a massive angled stage set.
“My intention was to meld lighting and video, so LED screens were a lighting element that actually immersed the stage with saturated color for some songs. Live camera integration was a big part, too but clean camera feeds were always manipulated in some way to give a cohesive look to the on-stage VFX.”
Nkitser was also challenged to create a show that could be easily adapted to different continents and countries with varying venue sizes and technical standards. “The show design has to use elements we can get in every country,” he says. The band carries the stage set, angled LED screens and drum riser while rigging, motors, truss and lighting are obtained locally.
Nikitser selected Claypaky Scenius Spots, A.leda B-EYE K20s and Sharpy Washes for the tour.
He specified 58 Scenius Spots as his main effects lighting fixtures. “I was very excited coming to the rehearsals and firing up all fixtures for the first time and seeing the overall impression of the rig with the LED screens,” Nikitser recalls. “I have a pretty good feel for how things look and can tell within seconds if a fixture delivers or if it is a compromise. When I saw how everything worked together I was really satisfied. The strong saturated colors of the Scenius, the brightness with even the widest zoom, and the speed of the effects was very impressive.”
Nikitser used 36 B-EYE K20s on the side ladders that finished off the giant LED screens. “After trying different fixtures types, LED washes did the best job. They are also great even if there is little smoke. With smoke you have the classy, soft side wash looks, but you can also have strong, sharp narrow focuses.”
He calls the K20s “kind of an industry standard when it comes to LED washes: The brightness is good, the zoom is good and the light quality is awesome. I like the fact that the LEDs are color calibrated, and I can run them in a regular CMY wash mode. That is an important feature to me since I don’t want to look after an extra white channel.”
Seven Sharpy Washes rounded out the Claypaky fixtures. They were positioned under the scissor-lift drum riser, which came into play for the drum solo. “The lift went up, it had a row of LED panels installed and behind them the Sharpy Washes were hiding,” Nikitser explains. “Their main purpose was effects lighting for the drum solo, to dramatize the flying out process. Although we tried different fixtures here, nothing was comparable to the Sharpy Wash when it came to size and brightness, effects and moving speed, and also power and weight. We couldn’t use a big fixture because the weight adds up and the lift has to push too much. There also was limited space and the drum set had to hide behind the LED riser masking.
“The output and punch of the beam was just incredible,” he adds. “There was no other fixture in my eyes that fulfilled these requirements.”
A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of Claypaky products in North America. Francesco Romagnoli, Claypaky Area Manager for North and Latin America, added, “The Scorpions are a great classic band and it’s very gratifying to see them use fo many of our fixtures on this tour.”