Thirty–three years after their self entitled debut album, Rush is once again back on tour from June through October for their recent recording release Snakes & Arrows. The 62–city run crosses Canada, the US, the UK, and Europe.
After being involved with the Rush in Rio Vapor Trails Tour, Pyrotek Special Effects Inc. was consulted to brighten up a number of songs for their present tour. Long time lighting designer and agent Howard Ungerleider approached pyrotechnician John Arrowsmith to come up with a number of special effects. With a focus on a concussion effect to emphasize a specific moment in their newest hit single “Far Cry,” Arrowsmith collaborated with Doug Adams, designer and president of Pyrotek Special Effects Inc.
During production rehearsals at the Hershey Centre (Mississauga, Ontario Canada), Adams design was demoed for the band. Describing his effect for “Far Cry” Adams says, “It felt natural to follow with the sparking sequence and end with a concussion on the final impact.”
“Far Cry” includes 18 one-second gerbs in a chasing effect, and 18 twenty-five-foot silver comets with tail along with a concussion effect.
Ungerleider uses High End Systems, Catalyst™ for a number video montages throughout the show. Additionally, the Pinnacle Digital Video Effects Machine used by the video crew produces crossfades and creates a perfect integration between video, pyro, and music for the song “One Little Victory.” The pyrotechnic effect takes place in the middle of song where an animated dragon exhales a breath of fire towards stage right. Eight dragonheads and three fireballs are utilized during this sequence. At this particular moment during the video, a fireball cue creates an exciting effect as the synchronized media resembles a breath of fire shooting from the video out onto the stage. Eight heads are used during the final video clip of the dragon breathing fire across the entire video wall. In creating an eerie feeling for their titled song “Witch Hunt,” Ungerleider created a fire burning look around the stage, resembling a witch hunt. This effect utilized the dragon devices to create a low random flame setting, a proper fit for the song.
Longtime pyrotechnician Arrowsmith has the responsibility of bringing Adams’ designs to life during every show, and he also coordinates safety measures with mandatory walkthroughs and demonstrations for the local fire marshals before every show. A number of effects such as gerb chases, fireballs, and columns of dragon flames are seen in several acts from the 26–song setlist.
The complete effects list consists of:3 fireballs
18 twenty-five-foot silver gerbs
18 twenty-five-foot silver comets with tail
1 flash report
4 double-headed dragons