Carefully orchestrated lighting mayhem may sound contradictory but is probably the best way to describe lighting a show by The Prodigy! The full on assault of lights was designed by Tim Fawkes who ran the entire show manually on a Hog 4 console with absolutely no time code.
The idea for the set came from the band’s latest album cover which featured the iconic Routemaster London bus. In Europe, two AEC Routemaster front-engined double-decker buses which are 6 metres high, 2.5 wide and 3 metres deep were the main set element. In Australia to replace the set pieces a gauze and rear backdrop were used to create ghostly images of the Routemaster against a warehouse setting.
Tim wanted to ensure that he built a large lighting rig that filled the space of the stage avoiding a ‘postage stamp’ stage at the end of an arena. Wing trusses of MAC Quantum Wash angled to form alternating angled up / down diamond style lines / apexes helped to do this.
The rig had three main LX trusses; LX1 was over five points forming the letter M, mid truss which was split in two to form an upside down chevron and the back truss which was a V-shape. Claypaky Sharpy, Martin MAC Quantum Wash and Atomic 3000 LEDs are housed on these trusses which were also lined with Martin Sceptrons highlighting the architecture of the flown rig in quite a menacing manner. Filling the gaps between the trusses were four pods of Claypaky Mythos.
On the floor were ten 2.5 metre tall towers holding 36 x MAC101s and 28 x GLP JCD-1s that provided a barrage of light behind the band or as Tim refers to it, a back wall of death. Eight of the towers were topped with a Claypaky Sharpy and infront of the towers on the floor were six Claypaky Scenius Unico.
“The band love the intensity of light coming from behind them and those towers are the workhorse of the gig,” he added. “JDC1’s and Atomic LEDs are the strobe of choice for the rig, it is important to have a strobe that looks like an old Atomic or Xenon tube - It’s also great to be able to pick out a single pixel on a JDC-1 to get an old arc line effect, it really lends itself to the music.”
Smoke is another important element to the show for this Tim used two JEM ZR44 and four DF50 smoke machines, with the ZR44s running throughout the night’s performance.
“Along with the strobes, it gives a constant battlefield riot feel to the stage,” said Tim. “They love the chaos of drifting smoke across the stage.”
Pulsar Chromabanks were positioned along the front lip of the stage for footlight effects.
Tim is comfortable behind an MA Lighting console as much as he is behind a Hog, but for manually busking a show he prefers the Hog due to the way the faders are spaced and the flash buttons are easier to access.
“The Hog is also very fast to program and update,” he added. “You can often spend a lot of time programming the MA console rather than the lights that are in front of you. Plus you can lift it by yourself!”
Tim commented that the service he received from Chameleon was fantastic and he described their crew as a great bunch of lads.
“They really are at the top of their game and with a rig like this, it has to be well prepped,” remarked Tim. “It’s got to roll in and fly up quickly and they have been very quick, especially with all the pre-rig truss. Db has been great, looking after us and keeping us going.”
Chameleon crew: Graham DB Jelly, Andrew SOS Ritchie, Danny North, Taylor Lawson, Chris Masters
Photos: Cat Strom