Robbie Williams played Dubai’s largest to date concert at the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in front of 23,000 wildly enthusiastic music fans, who were also responsible for making it the fastest sell-out show ever in the United Arab Emirates. The show–artistically directed by Lee Lodge–enthralled everyone present with its high production values and characteristically superlative performance by Williams.
The entire production lighting rig, including 150 Robe moving lights, 60 points of rigging and all necessary power distribution was supplied by UK-based HSL. They air freighted 36 tons of equipment–with the help of Mapcargo–from their Blackburn base to Dubai, to meet the specification for Al Gurdon’s spectacular design.
“The show was awesome! I’m extremely proud of the fact that we have worked alongside one of the best live production teams in the world and helped them produce such a great result,” says HSL MD Simon Stuart.
HSL’s crew chief and project manager was Mike Oates, who worked alongside nine HSL regulars. On site they worked closely with Williams’ lighting crew chief Mark England, lighting director and show operator Richard Gorrod, site co-ordinator Tom Armstrong, Wob Roberts, and Al Gurdon. Oates comments, “It was an absolutely brilliant experience and a great exercise in teamwork and good communication.”
Moving lights were integral to the lighting design. The moving lights were used for a variety of effects from tight pencil beam matrix patterns to colorful washes to the creation of enveloping walls of color, and for profiling Williams.
“The Robes were absolutely brilliant – they were transported half way round the world, came out of their crates and all worked first time. There’s really not many other fixtures as reliable as this, ” says Oates.
The rig was based around eight structural ribs–tall, hinged architectural set pieces originating from the Intensive Care album launch show at Berlin Veldorome in October, arranged in a gentle upstage curve. Designed by set designer Ray Winkler and constructed by Brilliant, each is edged with 288 Saco LED lights, and they also contain 48 Turbo Fuzz Lights that travel as part of the set. Forty Eight Robe ColorSpot 1200AT fixtures, six per rib, were then added, along with five strobes per rib.
On the floor were 10 ColorWash 1200ATs sitting on the risers in between the ribs, with eight right behind the ribs, sitting on cases and shining through them. More ColorWash 1200ATs were used to up-light the set drape. Rigged onto the sides of the offstage PA towers were five Robe ColorSpot 1200ATs and five Moles, with another five blinders on the onstage PA towers. On a horseshoe shaped rear truss that followed the line of the ribs were another 16 ColorWash 1200ATs, plus four rigged above the central LED screen. Another two per side were hung off two individual front trusses, together with three Moles per side.
Under the set grill were 24 Robe ColorSpot 575Ats shining up through the grills, along with strobes and 8-lites. On the catwalk thrust around the floor were 60 Birdies, along with an additional 24 PARs, also utilized as up-lighters through the grills.
HSL supplied the six Robert Juliat Manon onstage followspots, with the four FOH ones sourced locally from rental company Nemesis. Richard Gorrod operated all the lights plus an EX1 digital media server from his Virtuoso console which tours with them.
The Dubai show was part of a series of four warm ups by Robbie Williams (preceded by three shows in South Africa), prior to his European summer stadium tour that kicks off in June.