Depeche Mode’s latest world tour, Global Spirit, kicked off in Stockholm in May 2017. Blackburn, UK-based HSL Group Holdings stepped up as worldwide lighting vendor for Global Spirit, working with a team on the road headed by Production Manager, Tony Gittins.
The asymmetric lighting design was created by Sooner Routhier and Robert Long of SRae Productions in Nashville, and was directed on the road by their associate LD, Manny Conde. Production design was imagined by the band’s creative director Anton Corbijn, who has always pioneered video as an essential vehicle of live production. Corbijn’s movies set a defining visual aesthetic the performance space.
HSL Group Holdings’ Project Manager Jordan Hanson, commented: “It’s brilliant to be working with Tony, Sooner, Manny and an amazing production with a great band that is literally THE tour of the moment and the one the industry is talking about!”
Chiefing the HSL Group Holdings crew on the road was HSL’s regular freelancer, Ian Stevens. He was joined by Jake Jevons, Harrison Cooke, Ben Eastham and Andy Whittaker. Stevens added: “We are having an incredible time on the road… I know you hear people say this sometimes on a long tour, but this really is like family! We all get on incredibly well, there is no inter-departmental rivalry and everyone is skilled, dedicated and great at their jobs, as well as being super nice!”
The lighting crew fluctuated between 5 and 2 depending on the format of the rig in relation to the leg and regional location of the tour. Most of the time it was all 5. For sections like the Latin American leg, Stevens and Jevons were tech’ing the full floor package with the top rig being provided locally in each of the 6 countries on the itinerary. HSL Group Holdings’ MD Simon Stuart commented: “We are delighted to be working with Tony and his team on this ground-breaking tour and it’s been a real pleasure to collaborate with Sooner and Manny and ensure they have had all the support they need. The design is innovative, edgy and looks incredible. I love Sooner’s thoughtful, intelligent approach, where everything is considered and works harmoniously with the video, capturing the mood perfectly. The band are on top form as always!”
For Tony Gittins, having a single lighting vendor for the whole tour has not just made sense financially, it’s made the whole process more efficient in terms of the equipment maintenance and having it permanently pre-prepped at HSL Group Holdings’ for the duration of the tour. “Having the continuity of one supplier to work with for lighting, a familiar crew and a dedicated office co-ordinating everything at base ensures we get the best attention at all times,” he commented. “It’s been a fantastic experience working with HSL.”
Manny, based in New York and Los Angeles, loved this tour for multiple reasons – from being trusted with realising and maintaining Sooner and Robert’s design to working for the first time with an all-English lighting crew, which has been another enriching and educational journey. That aside, he concluded: “Ian Stevens is most definitely my ‘peace of-mind’ on the tour… he keeps everything exceptionally well organised, ensures the rig is maintained to the highest standards and that the crew are absolutely rock solid.”