In addition to the world’s first indoor swarm of LED-equipped drones provided by Verity Studios, Metallica’s current WorldWired Tour, designed and directed by Dan Braun, also features a 44' x44' stage-in-the-round, custom built by TAIT.
“The in-the-round-concept is something I have liked since being a kid,” says Braun, who feels it’s the only way to take the worst seat in the house and make it a good seat.
“We have already done a lot of successful tours in-the-round with Metallica,” he points out, listing such tours as the Poor Touring Me Tour in 1996-7, the Madly In Anger Tour in 2003-4, and the World Magnetic Tour in 2008-10.
“For the WorldWired Tour, we have the stage in the middle of the floor, with a front-of-house mix and lighting position on one end of the arena floor, but no tech area or backstage behind the band. They are really playing in the round,” Braun explains. “The loading dock is full of the technical gear that is running the show, including the monitor mix position run via video, and in the arena, four band techs on either side of the stage and other techs crawling around under the stage, which is a very shallow space.”
One of the highlights of this immersive concert experience is a series of 52 LED video cubes, which ascend and descend while displaying bold, colorful video content that adds to the visual octane of the show. The LED video cubes hang from 52 BT290 winches housed in a 60' x 60' grid above the stage. Each 4' LED video cube moves 4' per second and has 40' of vertical travel space. TAIT Navigator, which serves as the primary show control system for the entire show, controls the movement of the video cubes.
These video cubes are visible for the entire show, as they are the main scenic element for the tour. “We are using more and more video, as it makes more sense with what’s available now, we had used video and see-through roll drops in the past, so we went down the road of more video for this tour,” notes Braun. “We added kinetic motion to them because the TAIT Navigator system has evolved to the point where it makes sense to move the cubes, not just move them from point A to point B because we could. The automation has evolved to have motion in time with the music to the point where we can do things that were impossible before, such as video images moving through space.”
With the massive amount of high-tech gear in this show, TAIT created an interactive “Look Book” to explain and visualize the assets provided for Metallica’s WorldWired Tour. Additionally, TAIT met up with Dan Braun for TAIT Talks to discuss his role as show director and the design concepts that inspired the show.
In fact, Braun has worked with Metallica for 23 years, and explains his inspiration for this tour as follows: “As I mentioned previously, I am also inspired by what people are doing on Broadway, because the opportunity to build a show into a facility that is going to be there for years affords you different capabilities then for a show that is portable and on the road. What is going on in Broadway is the crème de la crème. So, I start using all of these influences and incorporate photography. I take pictures. I look at art installations, how they use the installations, why they used it, and I come up with a couple of ideas for tour. Ultimately, the WordWired Tour was inspired by an art installation I saw in New York. It was a beautiful, large chandelier with clean lines. And, thus, the kinetic cube installation was born!”