HSL Gets Hysterical for Def Leppard

HSL supplied the fixtures and equipment for the Def Leppard Hysteria tour, Louise Stickland

Rock legends Def Leppard went on tour in 2018 to celebrate 31 years since the release of their seminal, Hysteria album.

HSL supplied lighting equipment plus rigging with over 100 motors including a 25-way Kinesys automation system to the tour which featured striking lighting designs by Kenji Ohashi. Ohashi has lit the band for the last 17 years, helping to ensure that they still look like rock heroes while the lighting and rigging were co-ordinated for HSL by Jordan Hanson.

Like any self-respecting metal band, there was a steelyard of trussing and metalwork in the roof which provided lighting and video positions. There were five straight runs of trussing, three of which were each split into three sections with all nine of these moving on the Kinesys system to create a range of different imposing structural looks for classics like Armageddon It, Animal and Pour Some Sugar on Me.

The primary wash fixtures were Vari*Lite VL3500 Wash FXs and the main profiles were Claypaky Scenius Unicos, CP Sharpies for the beams, GLP JDC1 LED strobes and CP A.leda 20s with B-Eye lenses for additional washes and soft key lighting.

Amounting to over 200 fixtures in total, these were densely populated on the trusses, and on the floor were another 12 Sharpies and 12 Martin MAC Viper Profiles. In addition to these, ten Robe BMFL Spots rigged on their own truss were utilised, all run via five operators which used the Follow Me control system. The operators controlled the pan and tilt parameters of the spot movement – with two Robe BMFLs assigned to each band member- while Ohashi had control of iris, colour, dimmer, through his MA Lighting grandMA console which was running multiple protocols.

Ohashi’s lighting treatment made the already substantial rig look even bigger. He had all those sumptuous big rock looks, delivered with his own nuances and finesse, which kept everything clean and clearly defined, with sharp, distinctive colours and combinations, sometimes almost minimal which kept elegance and power paramount.

The main challenges for the lighting crew came with the accuracy of the rigging requirements and getting all the moving parts in exactly the correct places at each venue. Also, to accommodate the LED crown, they needed to achieve a maximum trim height each day so getting the rigging mark up at the start of the get in was a major task for the HSL crew.

The upstage screen was hung on seven 2-tonne motors, and the L-Acoustics PA took 24 motors alone. The audio was supplied via a combination of Sound Image kit from the US with racks-and-stacks from SSE in the UK. The sound was mixed with studio-perfect precision by FOH Engineer Ronan McHugh.

Lighting Crew Chief Kevin Cassidy started working with the tour in early 2018 and has previously worked with Production Manager Chris Adamson – both have worked with HSL before.

The UK leg of the tour was finalised quite rapidly in a short timeframe, and Cassidy commented that Hanson and the team at HSL were “super helpful” with the many small and larger details. He said: “I really appreciate the hard work and efforts by HSL, they are great people to work with, the kit is in good condition and nothing is ever too much trouble”.