TMB Gear Supports Lights, Lasers, and Visuals on Muse World Tour

TMB supplies fixtures for Muse
Photos: Steve Jennings

This summer Muse continued their Simulation Theory world tour through the UK and Europe.  The extremely successful North American leg of the visually rich stadium tour put crew and equipment to the test in 23 cities utilising a selection of TMB Flares, FloppyFlex and ProPower fixtures.

“Jesse Lee Stout, the creative director for the tour, wanted the entire lighting rig and stage to feel like a spaceship straight out of the ‘80s/’90s sci-fi movies we all know and love,” explained Tour Lighting Designer and Programmer, Sooner Routhier.

“Making that all-encompassing vision brighter are 176 Solaris Flare LR and 51 Solaris Flare Q+ fixtures.  First, neon outlines, comprised of Upstaging Sabers, outline the sides of the truss to help turn the rig into a giant space invader.

The Flare LRs provide a thicker, brighter line of light to accentuate the lines of trusses.  At the tips of each truss, the structure flips up 45 degrees with three LRs sitting side by side.  They represent the thrusters of the spaceship. The Flare Q+ fixtures sit inside ramps inside the stage, functioning as metal gratings/vents in the spaceship floors.  The Flare Q+ light them as if they are glowing with futuristic energy.”

Sooner added: “Brightness is the biggest factor in specifying Flares.  We are competing with a very large video wall upstage.  It was important for the lines of the structure to stand out when needed.  We also really love the clean, smooth surface of the lights.”

Lighting Director, Aaron Luke added: “From my side of things, I find both the Q+ and the LRs to be performing quite well.  The fixtures serve a few different purposes on this tour, acting as crowd blinders, eye candy, in addition to lighting the set and the band.  Their brightness and consistency are definitely major assets, especially in a stadium situation.

“I cannot speak highly enough of the crew from Upstaging, led by Crew Chief, Seth Conlin.  Given the rigors of outdoor shows in a European summer, the crew do an incredible job of keeping the system going despite often getting drenched.”

An audience-pleasing highlight of the show is the song “Dig Down”, for which the band’s three members cluster closely together downstage, at an upright piano. The piano is tastefully outlined on all four sides with bright, glowing, rounded oblongs of FloppyFlex RGB LED Neon by Firefly.  Designed and installed by Upstaging, the bright, flexible FloppyFlex accents turn the instrument into an elegant set piece, perfect for the intimate number, night after night.

“For me the key is reliable equipment in all conditions,” said Muse Production Manager, George Reeves, “and we’ve had no issues since receiving the piano prop from Upstaging.  What I care about most is consistence in shows that the band demands and rightly expects.  Everything we have from TMB just works and that’s what we need.”

A key feature of the Simulation Theory show is stunning laser displays by ER Productions.  “We’re using our custom ProPower power distros for all the lasers and special effects on the main stage, plus the 14 lighting towers, placed down stadium left and stadium right,” said Tom Vallis of ER Productions.  “One of the most important design elements of our ProPower racks is the ability to switch every Socapex output from an e-stoppable power source to a hot power source.  Each complete rack supplies power distribution for the lights as well as the lasers.  The flexibility of supplying both lasers and lighting with e-stoppable power has been invaluable on this tour.”

Vallis added: “We’ve been using the ProPlex Data Distribution systems for years and it was natural to upgrade our distros to ProPower, which have the same level of reliability, with the benefit of customizing each rack to our own design.

“We worked closely with TMB UK’s design manufacturing team to get the right product developed and delivered in time for the tour.  TMB is great to deal with:  Reliable, responsive, and always dependable, they’ve been a great support throughout ER’s company history.”