Iconic German heavy rock band Rammstein – arguably one of the most important live performance phenomena in the universe – have been on the road again with another crazy visual and sonic extravaganza, the European Stadium Tour, fast-and-furiously packing the punches with an all-action industrial-strength smelting pot of zanily awesome lighting, video and pyro effects!
Roland Greil from Woodroffe Basset Design (WBD) created the lighting design together with Patrick Woodroffe and specified 56 x Robe BMFL WashBeams, 12 x BMFL Follow Spot LTs (long throws) and six LEDBeam 150 moving lights – among many others – for this much-anticipated tour.
WBD was contracted to produce and coordinate the tour’s production design including lighting, set and video design plus technical integration.
The lighting was a collaboration between Roland and Patrick Woodroffe who is also the show designer. Florian Wieder and Cuno von Hahn looked after the set design, and Jeremy Lloyd from Wonder Works directed the technical aspects of the design and integration.
The band themselves are also very involved in their stage presentations.
It was the first time that WBD has worked with Rammstein. They brought their vast experience, imaginative input and excellent contacts to the mix and played their part in ensuring that Rammstein shows continue to be among the best-loved on the planet!
Roland, Patrick, Florian, Jeremy and the rest of the team started with a blank slate to which they all contributed ideas. After some serious brainstorming, Florian and Cuno finalised the key set elements which were presented to the band and approved.
The creative evolution, including the lighting, proceeded from there.
Most of the lighting hardware is integrated into the set design, so it was an interdepartmental effort from the very start requiring great fluidity and a close working relationship between Roland, Patrick and Florian. One of the many advantages of WBD working like this was to create the exact lighting positions they wanted right from the start as part of the overall ‘environmental’ design.
Video was amalgamated with the set in the same style as lighting.
The 38-metre-high central tower features a central transparent video screen, which can move up and down, and is made up from four vertical rails, each loaded with BMFL WashBeams and a lot of strobes – all with individual weather protection.
These BMFL WashBeams were picked for their brightness and features and are used as potent backlight and for beam effects as well as to highlight parts of the set architecture.
The BMFL Follow Spot LTs positioned on the FOH delay towers have been specially developed for long throw applications. In this case, they were remotely operated using a Follow Me system.
The little LEDBeam 150s – loved for their small size, brightness and zoom function – were positioned on the ‘roofette’ immediately above and over the band positions and used for key lighting the upstage band positions.
All these, and the 996 other lighting fixtures on the rig were selected because they were “the right fixtures for the job, combined with reliability and availability,” commented Roland.
Roland worked on the programming with Marc Brunkhardt who is out on the road with the tour together with Faren Matern, operating lighting using four grandMA2 full-size consoles and a GMA2 light.
The biggest overall challenge for lighting has been dealing with “the complexities and scale of the show,” says Roland, for which he credits having “a truly great” team onboard to achieve the spectacular results that so many are talking about!
“It’s been a pleasure to help create every aspect of this show,” comments Roland. “We were given the freedom to produce something unique and epic, and that’s exactly what we have done.”
He adds that the collaboration with the band and their management has been “superb” and that has in turn provided the perfect circumstances to be able to create something very special.
Other core imagineers involved in making this show happen include the full Rammstein creative team plus video programmer Tim Hornung, camera (IMAG) director Sven Offen and video content creators Haeger De and David Gesellbauer.
The tour’s production manager is Nicolai Sabottka and Jeremy Lloyd is the technical consultant.
Lighting equipment is being supplied by Neg Earth Lights – lighting crew chief is Nick Barton – and video is from Solotech. WIcreations have supplied several custom engineering elements including the vertical rails to pull the columns of BMFL WashBeams up into place on the central tower.
The 2019 tour continues until the end of August and goes out again in May 2020, starting in Austria! The tickets for the 2020 leg of the tour have already sold out, such is the interest in the band and the reception of their latest studio album, Rammstein.
Photos – by Manfred Vogel.