The Australian Pink Floyd Show (TAPFS) rehearsed at Bedfordshire’s Millennium Studios before embarking on their 2016 European tour, featuring an impressive lighting rig and experienced crew from Entec Sound & Light.
Renowned Production Designer Rob Sinclair and Lighting Designer Louisa Smurthwaite, together with TAPFS’ Lighting Director and Programmer, Tom Mumby, have created the band’s first all-new show design since 2011.
“Rob and I work together often, and when he was asked to give Tom Mumby a hand with the new design, I was delighted to become a part of it,” said Smurthwaite. “Pink Floyd is one of the handful of bands whose tours have defined progression so it’s a daunting task to start adhering to those values when you have a fraction of their budget, but it’s equally an exciting prospect. I’ve watched old live videos for inspiration but, ultimately, you have to reply on your own interpretation of a particular cue in a song or you’ll get very bogged down with the minutiae of everything.”
The team used Martin Professional MAC Aura XB compact LED wash heads for colour mixing and pushes of even light, and Clay Paky Mythos’ for profile and beam features.
The front truss is populated by Clay Paky Alpha Spot QWO 800’s. These are used to light some of the “fun parts” of the show, such as the inflatable pig and kangaroo, and the dancing teacher, picking out these elements to help drive some audience emotion.
Another key feature of the lighting rig is the Showtec Sunstrip LED bar. “The Sunstrips give us really good definition along the edge of the stage and in our lighting ladders, and give us a good framework to work around the circle,” Smurthwaite explained. “They fill out the set with a modern yet tungsten vibe, leaving no gaps; it’ll translate both in theatres and in arenas, and they’ll look good on camera.”
The band itself owns a few items of ‘must-have’ technology including a Hippotizer media server, the ChamSys Magic-Q lighting console and wing piloted by Tom Mumby and three green laser units that form part of the equipment run on tour by ER Productions. “The lasers are like the cherry on the cake and they are good to have but we’ve had a re-jig in terms of how we use them, in line with the other changes,” commented Smurthwaite.
She added: “There are some quite small, simple moments in the show that I’ve noticed when I step back, and I probably love them more than the bigger ones. One of those moments is in ‘Comfortably Numb’ when we are just using two or three lights. They come in at the right time and they just do their job – it’s beautiful.”
Tour Manager Kevin Hopgood was already part of the TAPFS team when Entec came onboard in 2003. “They’re very ingrained in our touring now,” he said. “We’ve never really looked anywhere else and have no plans to do so because the service has always been there. They are really good at working with us.
“Our very cohesive relationship with Entec and their ability to reinvest in new technology really helps us to move with the times, and in that respect they’ve been particularly helpful on this production. What we’re getting out of this rig is a really big-looking show from much smaller fixtures than before, and that clearly helps us with truck space.”
Smurthwaite was just as positive about working with Entec. She commented: “Entec’s crew and the team back in their office have been great. Early January has been very smooth. It’s quite a different beginning to the start of a new year and it’s nice to be in England. Working with Tom Mumby has also been a treat. Tom is a real pro; he’s done so well and I’m sure that will continue.”
Photos: Mark Cunningham and Louisa Smurthwaite