Artiste Monet lights Sin City Nights in Vegas
Friday, 6 May 2022
scorpionsvegasphoto-by-manfred-nikitser3The three-week residency was lit by Austrian designer Manfred Nikitser (photo: Manfred Nikitser)
USA - America’s love of Scorpions was on full display last month in Las Vegas where the German rock band played a string of shows at Zappos Theatre in Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Dubbed Sin City Nights with special guests Skid Row, the three-week residency was lit by Austrian designer Manfred Nikitser, who turned to Elation Professional’s Artiste Monet LED moving head as a workhorse fixture on the show.
America’s affection for Scorpions, one of the best-selling hard rock and heavy metal bands of all time, has endured since the 1970s. Nikitser has worked with the band since their 50th Anniversary tour in 2016, starting as a media programmer before eventually taking over the lighting role. For the Vegas residency, he handled production and lighting design, and also programmed and operated the show.
The headlining residency on the Las Vegas Strip was a major success and another example of music fans’ passionate desire to return to live music. The band exuded their usual energetic spirit - “I feel like they are better than ever,” says Nikitser
The shows at the Zappos Theatre were extremely popular with the balcony open (not typical for a residency show) in order to maximize the venue’s 7000-seat capacity.
With an upcoming world tour just started at Madison Square Garden in New York City, a mere three weeks after the Vegas residency, Nikitser developed a flexible design that he could adjust to the Zappos Theater stage. “The approach was to have the same look for the residency that we would use in an arena,” he says. “Essentially, it is a touring design that was adapted for the venue in Vegas.” Because the stage in the Zappos Theatre is so wide, rigging positions and trussing were adjusted to cover the additional space.
The show features a large custom set with metal surfaces and special drum riser - “a real analogue, rocking look” according to Nikitser, complete with media content and camera blending. An 18m x 9m LED screen backdrop meant that, in general, very bright fixtures were required. “We still wanted to have a light show with visible light beams,” Nikitser explains, “not just a video show where lighting is a side element. We wanted to meld these elements together without losing one of them so we needed very bright fixtures, as well as lights that had nice colors that could work well with the media content.”
While researching options that would work well for a floor lighting package, the designer got in touch with full-service lighting company Volt Lites of Southern California and quickly realized they could offer much more. “We needed a workhorse in order to get through a rock show like this and they reintroduced me to the Artiste Monet. It is a fixture I had used in Europe and was familiar with but one I had never used as my main lighting fixture. I didn’t expect the brightness to be honest and after taking a closer look, I realized it would work well for this show.”
The Artiste Monet is Elation’s multi-award-winning 45,000-lumen LED Profile luminaire with 7-flag SpectraColor colour mixing system, endless rotation framing, and comprehensive FX package. Some 87 fixtures were used on the Vegas residency show - 64 in an eight-finger truss fanned out over the stage (eight per finger), 9 for back lighting, and 14 as front light remote followspots.
“The positioning of the moving heads was perfect, also the front lighting fixtures we used for followspots,” says Nikitser. “We could just move them a few degrees very narrow with iris medium and they would cover the entire stage. They were very exact and we had no issues or incidents where they lost their positioning. You can’t take that type of thing for granted.”
Following today’s (6 May) show in New York City, Scorpions play European dates through July.

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