Chauvet rig reflects the moods of Muse
Tuesday, 4 April 2023
muse3Muse's tour included Madison Square Garden
USA - Muse’s 2022 Will of the People LP took an unsparing look at a looming post-apocalyptic world though its words and music. The same compelling force can be felt throughout arenas today on the multi- Grammy winners current tour in support of the album, not just in the British rocker’s shredding riffs and mind-bending electronics, but also in a powerful production design that is generating so much attention in the press.
A collaboration between creative director and co-production designer Jesse Lee Stout and lighting designer and co-production designer Sooner Routhier, the thought-provoking visual panorama does more than merely support the music on stage. It also creates an all-embracive environment that works with the band’s performance to burnish itself into the audience’s collective consciousness.
Discussing the design, Stout noted: “The band and I wanted to strip down some of the theatrics from the prior tour, although we didn’t abandon them completely. We worked with the band to develop a post-apocalyptic near-future world as a metaphor for our ‘New Normal’ in today’s society. In the past couple years, a pandemic wreaked havoc, an insurrection stormed the capital, anonymous activist hackers attacked governments, and corporations, and people began tearing down monuments across the globe.
“We all quickly grew accustomed to wearing masks, so we proposed a story of an extreme group of vigilantes resetting the world to ground zero. With this in mind, we really wanted a lot of exposed tech in our design to evoke a bit of that futuristic dystopian vibe, but we also wanted to balance it with some sleek elements (the perspex stage, mirrors everywhere) to also lean a little sci-fi, as the band’s brand always does.”
Routhier described how this concept was translated into a production design. “After pouring through the creative direction for the new album cycle, we worked together to create a rig that feels like the skeletal nature of a post-apocalyptic, near-future world,” she said. “The rig consists of grids of lights that put the band inside a deconstructed building; simplistic, industrial, and homogeneous. This became the visual identity of the underplay tour we did in the fall of 2022, and it has been carried through into the arena tour in 2023.”
Key to helping the team achieve this vision were 122 Chauvet Professional Color STRIKE M fixtures, which, like the rest of the rig was supplied by Upstaging. The vast majority of these motorised strobes are positioned in a horseshoe configuration around the stage, while 32 units are located under the plexiglass stage, with a few others placed on a truss in the house for audience lighting.
“The STRIKE Ms in the horseshoe configuration around the stage help us create the wall of light around the band,” said Routhier. “They are one the main workhorses of the show. The units in the upstage row under the stage are usually used to uplight the inflatable characters throughout the show. Otherwise, all the under stage lighting makes the plexiglass stage feel like its own lighting instrument.
Run by associate lighting designer and programmer Aaron Luke, and programmer Joe Lott, the lightshow flows smoothly with the band throughout their 24-song set (including two encore numbers), accenting key moments with some intense strobing.

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