Among the first live concerts to be staged in Paris after the November 13 terror attacks were three amazing and emotionally charged shows at the AccorHotels Arena by French singer, musician, superstar – and legendary showman - Johnny Hallyday.
The Paris dates were part of the current “'Rester Vivant” (Staying Alive) tour, to which top French lighting designer Dimitri Vassiliu has brought his huge experience, fertile imagination and talent for lateral thinking to create a vibrant and powerful ‘big rock show’.
The design features 36 x Robe BMFL Spot moving lights on the rig which are integral to the show, and are being supplied by lighting contractor Dushow which has invested heavily in Robe this year. For the AccorHotels Arena performances, an additional 20 x BMFL Spots were added to the rig to light the audience.
With nearly 200 tours, 18 platinum albums, worldwide record sales of over £80 million and a formidable reputation for spectacular live shows under his belt … Johnny Hallyday is arguably France’s most iconic music star.
This is the first time that Dimitri has worked on a Johnny Hallyday tour, asked on-board by the star’s management team to bring fresh creative perspective to the maverick stage show.
Dimitri in turn assembled a creative team which includes scenographer Emma Favre and video content producer Peggy M, who added their own ideas to the multi-layered visual equation, which involves moving video screens, scenic elements and plenty of drama and excitement. He was also very involved in commissioning of the video content.
The BMFL Spots are positioned on the front and over-audience trusses for lighting the audience and the B-stage in the middle of the room. There is also a ring of them around the deck of the main stage, where they are mounted on different level plinths and used for aerial effects and for skimming low across the audience, involving them in the show.
Their intense brightness ensures that they really catch the eye every time they are used.
BMFL Spots were a new light for Dimitri, so after initially seeing a demo at Dushow, he then used 10 on one of Hallyday’s summer festival performance to make absolutely sure that they would do the business on the tour.
It was then that he realised just how super-bright and fast they are … in fact exactly the attributes he was looking for as in ‘large powerful spotlights’. They are also ideal for the large arenas they are playing.
He admits that he’s not yet had the time or chance to explore the vast amount of looks and possibilities offered by the BMFL, but they are working brilliantly for the overall look and feel of the lighting which is a sophisticated blend of vintage and modern. The biggest aesthetic task on the tour, he says, is creating that mix, and using all the different technologies involved to look simple and retro one minute … juxtaposed against full on rock-out madness the next!
His favourite songs to light include some of the great JH anthems like Noir C’est Noir, Fils de Personne, Allumer Le Feu, etc., and he really appreciates the generous amount of creative freedom by the artist which has allowed him to experiment and produce some very dynamic results for lighting, video and automation.
Dimitri has worked on many projects with Dushow over his fascinating 30 year industry career and comments that the relationship is excellent. He has serious respect for the company, which is why he trusted them when they first recommended he look at the BMFL.
Lighting and video is run across three consoles – a Hog 4 operated by Dimitri together with another one run by Stéphane Chiron, and a grandMA2 light operated by Philippe Marty triggers a Catalyst media server running playback video to the six moving screens and a digital pros arch that surrounds the stage.
This fantastically dynamic FOH visuals team and their great synergy is helping ensure that Johnny Hallyday continues to deliver the very best live shows to his adoring fans – of all generations. Action packed with energy and rousing songs, he is again confirming his position as one of the greatest live showmen in the business!
Photos: Louise Stickland