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Robe Celebrates Independent Spirit with Prljavo Kazalište

The pressure was on for lighting designer Sven Kučinić of LumiLas d.o.o. when Croatian superstar band Prljavo Kazalište decided to stage a momentous concert in Zagreb marking the 30th anniversary of the largest ever music concert in Croatian history, which took place at Zagreb’s Ban Jelačić Square on October 17th 1989 attended by over 250,000 people.

Banned by the police and authorities in the then still communist-run state of Yugoslavia – the scent of Croatian independence was in the air and the show went ahead anyway in the face of threats to cut the power.

It was a peaceful, emotionally-charged gesture in the name of freedom of expression and choice, heralding the start of intense political and social changes across the region. The band were as huge then as they are today!

The concert to celebrate this cultural landmark was in Zagreb Arena for which Sven specified 56 x Robe MegaPointes, 44 x LED Washes 600+s and 22 x Spiider LED wash beams to be at the heart of his lighting rig … all supplied by the IVAS Group.

Selling out in minutes several months ahead of time, a second show was added the following day which also rapidly sold-out, enabling 36,000 lucky fans to enjoy two fantastic shows.

Apart from these gigs being a very special occasion, Prljavo Kazalište had played a stadium show in Zagreb in 2018 at the Kranjceviceva Stadium with a completely new set and lighting design, so Sven’s brief was to change it up once more and produce something awesome, for which he thought out-of-the-box.

Having worked with the band for nine years, touring worldwide and playing around 50 concerts a year, Sven knows the music and what they like … and is never short of fresh ideas.

The quest for this one was to create something original and geometrically pleasing that provided a different performance for them to frame all their most popular hits. The resulting design combined the aesthetics of a BRS (BIG rock show) with a set that was both edgy and slick in TV studio style.

It featured a large upstage LED screen split by a diagonal truss to give it an off-beat appearance. Over the stage seven square trusses were flown in diamond orientation and on the stage the set included four raked runways in a diamond shape with the downstage portions of the front two forming thrusts into the audience left and right.

This quirky-looking architecture remained static and was energized with numerous lighting techniques and a diversity of video content.

On the ‘memorable list’ of examples was during a medley of 10 popular ballads when the 300 square metres of upstage LED screen was turned off completely and instead used as a canvas for vivid overlaid MegaPointe gobo projections.

The MegaPointes were rigged on the main over-stage trusses and utilized as the primary – and only – effects lights, flipping constantly between spot and beam looks. The scope of the fixtures meant that no two looks were ever repeated throughout this maverick performance.

The LW600+s were also in the overhead trusses providing the upstage wash coverage, while the Spiiders were the only front and key lights on the show. Sven did have some other moving lights, LED battens and strobes in the show, but the Robes were at the essence of every lighting viewpoint and created a striking college of signature looks.

“MegaPointes are simply the best multipurpose lights currently available to LDs in terms of output, features and versatility,” he stated emphatically. He also reckons they are the best non-LED spot moving head and the fact that they are properly multifunctional sets them apart from other ‘hybrids’.

He loves the “smart and crisp” gobo selection and projection capabilities which facilitated so many dramatic looks for this epic concert.

LEDWash 600s – a game-changing LED wash when launched in 2010 – are still his favourite LED wash due to reliability and the uniform colour output. The 600+ is an upgraded version of these industry-standard luminaires, of which the just-released LEDWash 600X is the most recent.

The Spiiders were chosen as a replacement for the MMX WashBeams he had originally specified on the show. He was slightly concerned that they wouldn’t match the MMX in terms of white light output as the design dictated they were hung at a trim of almost 30 metres, but happily this was not an issue at all.

“Any concern was completely unfounded, as they absolutely excelled in the task!” he confirmed.

The concert lighting was programmed and operated on a grandMA3 full size console. Sven managed to pre-vis around 70% of the show, while the rest was programmed once they were in the arena and had the rig. Playback video content was created by VJ Olgierd Kamienski and played back using a custom PC running Resolume Arena linked to Sven’s grandMA3 for outputting to the screen. The 12 camera IMAG mix was directed by Davor Levicki.

All technical production elements were supplied by Zagreb-based IVAS Group, which has invested heavily in Robe in recent years, all supplied by Croatian distributor Sali Trade. Sven emphasised that the service and support from IVAS was “world-class as always” and in particular mentions Lovro Ivas CEO of the IVAS Group, production engineer Damir Sabo and chief lighting technician Milos Pavicic for their fantastic work and attitude in making this ambitious show rock.