Summit Goes Pink and Red on tour

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Summit Steel is supplying rigging to the latest UK and European section of Pink's amazing “Funhouse” world tour, and also co-ordinated and supplied all rigging and automation requirements for Elton John's latest “Red Piano” UK and European tour.

Pink

Summit was chosen to supply the Pink tour by the production's head rigger Dave Rowe, who comments, “I was extremely keen to use Summit for the quality and good condition of their equipment and the highly professional attitude of their crew”. He has worked with Summit on many previous projects and reckons they are among the best rigging specialists in the industry.

Rowe and Summit's Jon Bray spent considerable time in putting the package together which includes over 100 roof points to facilitate the hanging of lighting, PA and video equipment, with 120 Lodestar motors and all the necessary steels to suspend approximately 39 tonnes of kit in the air.

Rowe explains that the show design requires that rigging for lighting, set and aerial performers are in close proximity, making it crucial to have a reliable and good quality rigging system. “Having a consistent and well maintained rigging package has really helped us to minimize the in and out times,” says Rowe, in what has been a grueling schedule.

Summit is again working alongside sister company PRG Lighting on the tour which features a spectacular design by Baz Halpin complete with scenic elements by Mark Fisher.

Red Piano

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For Elton John's Red Piano tour, Summit supplied a large trussing and motors package, together with a 20-way Kinesys automation system.

Summit's Jay Call liaised closely with the tour's head rigger Richard Wythes and production manager Henry Crallan to ensure that pre-planning once again ensured a smooth running tour.

Wythes has worked with Summit before. He originally put them in the frame to quote on the contract, and was extremely happy when they won the tender. “The great thing about Summit is the fantastic back up and support and the impressive speed at which they react – the service is really excellent,” he comments. He adds that the quality of Summit's kit is always good, well serviced and maintained.

Ten Summit trusses were used to suspend a variety of dramatically camp scenic pieces, drapes, two side IMAG screens and a 24.5 metre wide by 8 high upstage MiTrix video screen, weighing 7 tonnes.

To meet the tight itinerary they leap-frogged 2 complete rigging systems.

The Kinesys system was operated by Gareth Williams, using their Vector control platform. He had 18 ½ tonne motors and two 100Kg Liftkets in the system, all controlled by Kinesys Elevation 1+ drive units.

Ten of the half tonne motors were utilised to suspend 5 letters spelling ‘E-L-T-O-N' which all flew in at the top of the show as Elton belted out his classic “Benny & The Jets”. The steel framed letters fabricated by Tait Towers then made individual appearances at other points in the show. They are constructed from a mix of wood and Perspex and glammed up with embedded non-neon and pigmy bulb lightsources.

A total of 4 motors were used to fly in the 2-piece “Love Hotel” sign, consisting of a big heart and the word ‘Hotel', which came in downstage right for “Tiny Dancer” and “Your Song”.

The two 100Kg Liftkets were used to lower in a near life sized mannequin of Elton in his campest clobber, complete with bouffant hair in the encore, just before “Your Song”.

The remaining 4 half tonne hoists were located stage left and right – 2 per side – and utilised to lower some giant inflatable roses from the roof. These flew in and inflated for “Believe” before being dropped offstage and de-rigged at the end of the song.

Summit's kit was also used to rig points for a 25ft wide pair of inflatable boobs which are a regular talking point of the show!

The Red Piano tour is a derivation of Elton John's massively successful Las Vegas extravaganza.

Lighting was supplied by PRG from the UK and sound from Swiss-based Audio Rent.

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