Lighting and visual designer Andy Hurst used video equipment supplied by XL Video UK for A-Ha’s recent UK arena tour.
Hurst worked with video specialist Richard Shipman and XL’s project managers Paul Wood and Des Fallon when designing the video elements. He intended to use video as a lightsource blended together with the lighting cues. LED tech for the tour was Andy Tonks.
The tour started with a massive show in Oslo, Norway (the band’s home country) to celebrate the City’s Centenary. With 120,000 people attending, it was the largest show in Norway to date, and featured a 10-camera DVD shoot with lots of video onstage. Hurst wanted to continue the video theme on a scaled down version for the arena tour.
Hurst separated the show into three distinct acts, dividing the video into three physically different phases. The show started with projections from a Barco R18 projector beaming onto a silver drape hanging off the mid-stage truss.
Hurst’s design incorporated four main media trusses containing lighting and video–front, mid, back, plus–and a curved truss between the mid and back that was sub-hung with five 3m trusses. Each of these sub-trusses was rigged with three moving lights and three panels of Unitek V9 LED screen. They were automated via an Ibex motor control system, which enabled very dynamic looks to be created by shifting the five trusses into different shapes and positions. As this happened, the fascias of each piece of truss effectively became moving bars of video.
The curved rear truss was used to make up a completely different video look. It was rigged as far to the back wall as possible each night, greatly enhancing the sense of depth onstage. It was rigged with five evenly spaced drop-hangs, each consisting of three LED video panels, a meter apart, with a moving light filling the gaps between each one. This created a wall of 30 video panels. This video wall was revealed for the last four songs of the set, giving it high-energy impact. The wall produced movement via a single image repeated across all 30 screens, achieved to perfection with a dancing Bond Girl for A-Ha’s “The Living Daylights.”
All video content was stored and run via an ArKaos system operated by Shipman, while Hurst ran the lightshow from a Flying Pig Systems Wholehog® 2 console, with a PixelDrive for his 15 PixelLine LED battens. Video ran for 16 songs of the set. Hurst and Shipman created all content by using archive and library sources as their base material, which they then edited into footage appropriate for the show.