HSL supplied the recent UK and European leg of Halsey’s ongoing Hopeless Fountain Kingdom tour with lighting equipment.
The referral originally came through John Schirmer at DCR Nashville, lighting vendor for the US sections of the tour, which started in 2017. Another connection was production designers Sooner Routhier and Robert Long from SRae Productions, with whom HSL worked for over a year as worldwide lighting supplier for Depeche Mode’s 2017-18 Global Spirit world tour.
The Halsey project was managed for HSL by Jordan Hanson who commented: “Working with John Schirmer, production manager Jimi Storey and lighting director/operator on the road Jose Antunes has been a pleasure great show and great people.”
HSL was able to match the US floor package exactly. This comprised Robe Spiiders positioned on the sides of the steps for low-level cross light and behind the band members upstage, plus eight Claypaky Scenius Profiles which were upstage of the set, concealed beneath the video wall. All these were chosen by Sooner and Robert and programmed into the full-scale show.
The stair Spiiders provided excellent side washes for Halsey and dancer TT and were also placed to fan out into the crowd, while those behind the band created a constant silhouette of the musicians when zoomed out together with additional high-impact fanned out looks with the beams.
The upstage Scenius’s meantime created “beautiful, dreamy beams and aerial effects” throughout the show, making the set look “truly massive and powerful” explained Antunes.
Another single Scenius placed upstage centre between the video walls produced a divine-light effect, used sparingly from the intro sequence of Eyes Closed with Halsey’s silhouetted against a white Kabuki drop, to the end of Hurricane as she walks offstage towards its big fat beam of luminosity.
Antunes loved the Robe Spiiders for their “incredible brightness, tight beam and highly versatile pixel mapping”, while he thinks the Scenius is a “profile that packs a punch and is full of tricks – with every bell and whistle is used in this show.”
He said with confidence that has also worked on both types of fixtures during the full rig set up in the US (with Craig Rutherford in the lighting director’s role), that they are workhorses he’d be happy to spec on other shows.
For this Euro leg of the tour, HSL supplied Matt Brown as crew to assist Antunes as a working LD.
They hooked in to a top rig each day which was supplied by the local promoter – specified as 24 Robe Spiiders and 24 Robe Scenius’ to complement the ground package. This was exactly what was supplied at most shows, with Robe BMFL Spots occasionally replacing the fixtures.
Antunes’ biggest challenge in Europe was recreating some of the looks originally programmed into 36 x 12 cell Flare LR strips on the full show’s main flown rig, which could not be used at any of the European shows due to trim heights, weight restrictions or overall availability at some venues.
In a festival scenario they will often just have strobes instead of these, they replaced those potential 432 pixels – once programmed – with sometimes as few as 12 cells in total.
“These circumstances gave me a chance to program some really clever cloning macros that inserted certain data exactly where I wanted it when I wanted it. I also took advantage of the many pixels in the Spiiders when I had the chance.”
In this version of the rig, he’d clone the cell data in a verse that was missing due to not having the Flares into the flown Robe Spiiders that had been “waiting patiently” until the chorus came in.
“The further challenge was then making these changes work whilst maintaining the style and effect of the original programming”.
This part of the tour was the first time Antunes has worked with HSL, which has been a highly positive experience. “It’s been a wonderful fit! We worked closely with Jordan in specifying the rig and he made it all happen. The level of professionalism and the detailed organisation was impressive, and I walked into our first gig knowing it would be fully up to spec and that HSL delivered everything we needed.”
“I came out of this tour with a new friend and I definitely hope to have him out again next time I’m in Europe” declared Antunes who is a freelance LD based in Vancouver, Canada.
“Matt was incredibly thorough and knowledgeable,” stated Antunes adding that and the application of his skills and experience enabled their load-ins to be quick and seamless, and they were also the first department to be packed up and back in the truck at the end of the night.
“From day one I was extremely impressed with the level of attention and care put into the prep for this run, especially as it was a short one! The rig could have toured another 2 years and still been intact. That is how well it was prepped!” he concluded.