“One of the best show’s our team has ever done!” … declared production designer and show director Gabe Fraboni after two recent incendiary performances by hugely popular Dutch DJ and music producer Martin Garrix at Amsterdam’s RAI, both bathed in production awesomeness with nearly 300 Robe moving lights on the rig, including 50 brand new MegaPointes.
The RAI design was created by Gabe based on a new live show concept that was launched at the Bill Graham Auditorium in San Francisco in May. The base model - that travels everywhere - has a large video ‘plus’ sign flanked each side by a matrix of 90 x Robe Spikies.
For the RAI shows, the ‘plus’ was still there in the center, with everything else around it seriously scaled up!
A 10 meter high structural trussing design repeated the shape of the central ‘plus’ to each side, giving it a 45 degree twist in the meantime which introduced a natural flourish of asymmetry … and extended the stage width to 42 meters. Gabe worked with Designer Bart Stravar on this element of the production which was constructed from 30 cm trussing and a selection of corner blocks.
‘Multiply’ was one of Martin’s 2017 Ibiza summer residencies, so when the RAI show design started evolving, Bart and Gabe played with the idea of multiplying logos.
The goal was to dramatically reimagine the touring rig and maintain the industrial aesthetic, which was accomplished by adding a 40 meter wide by 10 meter high 16mm LED wall behind the truss structure, which worked brilliantly for outlining and silhouetting the trussing architecture.
The 50 x MegaPointes were rigged on three curved trusses that complimented the architecture of the trussing structure and lined the upstage video wall. Then Gabe continued the Spikie matrix, extending it across all the structure’s metal work elements, which consumed 164 Spikies.
Gabe is among the first to use MegaPointes for a major show after the global launch in September, and these were supplied by Belgium headquartered lighting vendor Rent-All.
He grouped them all in one place for maximum impact and commented that they are “Highly versatile, very bright, a great beam one minute and a fixture with a real punch as a spot the next, all with excellent color mixing.”
It was the MegaPointe’s profile characteristics that really impressed him, and going forward he sees massive potential for using them in this role. They were programmed as a profile for these shows and then slipped into beam mode as needed and he also had lots of fun with the effects and animation wheels and the 32-facet prism which he describes as “beautiful”.
Spikies continue to be his favorite ‘trick’ fixture.
“I love them! Since Greg Ellis and I first used Spikies on Pretty Lights last year, they are on every show we design and spec.”
While the Pretty Lights music is perfect for Spikie-style flower and prism effects, it’s the continuous pan / tilt functionality that suits the power, energy and rhythmic vitality of a Martin Garrix show.
“It’s great … I can so totally ‘bend’ those lights,” enthused Gabe, and it was a look that worked brilliantly on the RAI shows with the 45 degree twist and asymmetry of the structural design.
To fine-tune this effect, he programmed the 164 Spikies with 136 ‘dummy’ fixtures, so the grandMA2 could produce perfect maths to make the dynamic liquid Spikie effects pulse, bounce and ripple across and around the structure. This took the asymmetry into account and ensured total visual integrity of the Spikie chases which produced so many WOW looks and big moments.
Above the audience, 60 x Robe Pointes were deployed which worked smoothly with both the MegaPointes and the Spikies. Gabe has been using Pointes regularly since the 2016 Martin Garrix Tour.
He programmed the lighting with the help of Fabian Fisniku, and operated the RAI shows himself using a grandMA2 full size console. Other lights on the rig included 73 x strobes, 100 x truss toners and 154 x 1-lite Moles. Another grandMA2 full size was operated by Aubrey Wright running the flames and CO2 effects.
Lighting and video have been developed and programmed to seamlessly complement one another, with the video playback content - produced by Comix Ltd – run and managed on the road by Lorenzo de Pascalis using a Resolume system. Lorenzo is also the camera system designer and video director.
Ahead of the RAI gigs Gabe - who also designs the show’s lasers - spent two weeks in pre-vis at his studio in Los Angeles followed by a full week of pre-vis which was set up in Amsterdam. He used a number of tools including WYSIWYG and Pangolin’s Beyond 3.0.
He admitted that several sleepless nights and a lot of pressure preceded the shows … all worth it for the incredibly exhilarating experience.
He’d wanted to use MegaPointes since first receiving a demo in the summer at Robe North America’s West Coast HQ in LA, so with the gig being so soon after the fixture’s launch, several stops were pulled out to ensure enough were available.
Gabe really enjoys working with Martin Garrix, not just because he’s one of the highest profile names on the current electronic dance music scene, but because the two share a very open creative “conversation” when it comes to planning a show presentation.
“He gives me a free rein as show designer, and working in close collaboration with Lorenzo, we establish the individual looks, which then are presented to Martin. Once approved I liaise with the rest of our team to compile all the materials,” explained Gabe who’s been working with the artist for three years.
To give Garrix productions an edge, they take a more rock ‘n’ roll approach.
Each number in the set has a dedicated video clip that is paired with complimentary or contrasting lighting that is developed as the music plays out. The info is mapped into cue sheets so Gabe can establish a narrative with Martin while he’s onstage and maintain a clear visual and scenic flow for the show.
The pyro design and operation is executed by Bert Kelchtermans who is also the tour’s production manager and the SFO operator and tour manager is Aubrey Wright. Audio is mixed by Stephan Themps.
The Amsterdam show was promoted by E&A Events, and the Martin Garrix touring production crew including Amanda Barker liaised closely with a local production team managed and coordinated by Iko Claassens and Ronnie Santegoeds.
This ‘plus’ tour design cycle will continue for the rest of the year and into early 2018, when it is expected that a new live show will be created and launched ready for Ibiza summer residencies.
Photos: aLIVE Coverage