Jerry Appelt creates ‘impactful’ visuals for Böhse Onkelz with Proteus Excalibur

Lima subrents Proteus Excalibur units by Elation Professional through Motion in Germany for Böhse Onkelz’ two Waldstadion shows.

Renowned lighting designer and longtime lighting collaborator with Böhse Onkelz, Jerry Appelt, created a spectacular stage and lighting design for the stadium shows and ensured that the visual impact would be memorable using Elation Professional Proteus Excalibur beam moving head. 

Formed in Frankfurt in 1980, the band’s stadium shows were meant to be 40th anniversary events in 2020 but were postponed until this year. Appelt, who worked with the band earlier in its career and lit the band’s iconic farewell concert in 2005 before 120,000 fans, has continued to light shows for them after the band reunited in 2014.

The two Waldstadion shows featured distinctive stage and lighting designs by Appelt who says he wanted to forego placing a standard open-air stage inside Waldstadion, something he has done in previous years at this venue. A beautiful stadium with a retractable roof, the designer sought a design solution that integrated the stadium aesthetic as part of the scenery and set. He explains, “The band comes from Frankfurt originally and are big supporters of the football club Eintracht Frankfurt, who play in the stadium. I had the idea to integrate the curve of the grandstand behind the stage, where the hardcore fans usually sit, into the stage design.” 

The designer created a coverless mothergrid with accompanying triangle-shaped LED screens instead of the typical 16:9 configuration. “This kept it very airy so that you could look through the stage to the grandstand behind,” he said. “That’s where we placed the Proteus Excaliburs.” 

Spread across the steps of the grandstand on six rows—12 fixtures per row with about 2m between each fixture—were 72 Proteus Excalibur units. The narrow beam moving heads followed the architectural shape of the grandstand to project through the rig as an extension of the stage lighting. “They have a proper narrow beam and have enough punch to add a layer of beam architecture across the venue,” Appelt said. “They made a big impact and the broad output lens, which is different to prior Proteus fixtures, for me is a big visual advantage.”

Appelt has a long history with the Proteus series and has used the Proteus Excalibur on several outdoor shows this year, including the Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert. He commented: “A lot of our input from our experience with the Proteus on large scale projects like the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai I can now find in the Proteus Excalibur, which is the reason why I like the fixture very much. They really listened when we gave feedback—big output, the diameter of the lens, better colours, etc.—and we found that it had been fulfilled in the Excalibur. It’s a reliable fixture that also doesn’t consume too much power, and with the advantage of it being IP65, for me it sets the standard in this range.”

The enormous output of the Excalibur in combination with a 260mm lens and 0.8° beam competes with xenon searchlights and sky trackers. The beam light generates up to 7,500 lux at 100m – an incredible light output from a surprisingly compact and correspondingly fast device.

Lighting vendor for the two Waldstadion shows was Lima who subrented the Proteus Excalibur units through Motion in Germany. Appelt thanks his incredible crew for a remarkable job: Manfred Nikitser, Dirk Hämmerling, Sebastian Huwig, Christian van Deenen and Markus Buck, Heinrich Hellebusch for pre-programming support, and Ralph Schrader at Lima.