To mark the re-release of his classic album Eden at the end of 2019, French singer-songwriter and pop star, Etienne Daho, embarked upon a 17-date concert tour of France’s most beautiful venues, including jewels like Philharmonie, Pleyel and Olympia. The final date took place in January 2020, narrowly avoiding the lockdown measures in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
Victorien Cayzeele, a gifted young Lighting Designer, was determined to obtain the best possible interpretation for his artist, so he specified – without hesitation – an MDG ATMOSPHERE haze generator to materialise the light within his design. “I had mostly washes and very few spot sources in my kit, so I needed a density of haze that was strong enough to materialise the colour that bathed the set. And, on this tour, we wanted to maintain a uniform and stable level throughout the show.”
Etienne Daho’s music, with its electro-pop tendency, required a great deal of work to match the light to the rhythm. Cayzeele confided that Etienne works a lot on creating an amazing audience experience and, to realise this, Etienne doesn’t hesitate in allowing the visual impact to take centre stage and be the star. “There are some saturated colour effects and particular angles that don’t put the artist in the limelight, but instead suggest a creative proposal linked to the album or the set.”
This beautiful collaboration between Daho and Cayzeele began during the Blitz tour in 2018. Cayzeele recalled: “We established a real relationship of trust. Étienne is someone with vision and taste. He’s able to make requests, and at the same time let me express my own interpretations. There is a real exchange between us.”
Cayzeele, conscious of the vocal effort that a tour can represent for a singer, was also mindful of the quality of haze produced by the ATMOSPHERE. Deprived of glycol, MDG haze does not dry out the vocal cords, which is a major factor when artists play a succession of dates over a short period of time. Cayzeele explained: “MDG haze does not cause irritation, and that is very important for some artists. We have played dates using other machines – when abroad for example – but Etienne became aware of this very quickly and objected to it!”
Most of the Eden tour took place on stages 14m by 10m deep, but with a stage volume generally measuring 25m by 20m and a ceiling height of 18m to 25m. “The difficulty with haze is anticipating what will be enough to fill the space,” explained Cayzeele, “but with a single ATMOSPHERE we were able to obtain a good quality coverage in less than an hour and a half.”
This was a saving not only of time but also of weight because, for this tour, a 15kg CO₂ bottle was enough to supply 5 or 6 concerts. This low consumption resulted in reduced logistics for transportation, which in turn had a lower impact on the over-all show budget.
MDG haze is renowned for leaving practically no residue on lighting fixtures, which is particularly important on tour when compared to other machines: “The particles from MDG products are dry compared to those of other machines on the market,” said Cayzeele. “Consequently, the MDG unit doesn’t dirty the ground like other machines that leave an oil stain by the end of the concert which can be carnage! In addition, the haze leaves very little residue on the lighting equipment, which is very important as this reduces the frequency of which the lighting fixtures need to be cleaned. In fact, this tour was too short to require a thorough cleaning.”
The lack of residue becomes even more importance when the lighting inventory includes a large number of multi-source LED washes, as it did on the Eden tour: “The problem with this type of wash is that it is made up of multiple small plastic collimators that are almost impossible to dismantle,” explained Cayzeele. “On tour, we can clean the outside surfaces but, to remove the dust and grease that seeps inside them, the spotlights would have to go back to the depot, which wasn’t necessary on this tour.”
The lighting supplier for the Eden tour was French service provider, S-Group which supplied an MDG ATMOSPHERE; 70 multi-source LED wash fixtures; a profile fixture; 12 LED bars for cyclorama lighting and 16 LED motorised bars. While the technical team comprised Production Manager, Pascal Meley; LD, Jean Maxence Chagnon; Chief Electrician, Antony Etienne and Lighting Technician, Paola Picasso.