This was the first foray into Europe for the cult Japanese heavy metal superstars founded in 1989, who reformed in 2009 having disbanded in 1997 at the peak of a remarkable career in Japan. They have recorded four studio albums and sold over 30m records and 2m home videos.
Entec was brought in by the band's tour director Richard Ames who due to his own busy schedule touring with Supertramp in Canada, realised that it would be a practical and tactical decision to get an experienced European based rental company onboard to advance and handle all aspects of the tour, including crewing and sorting all the technical production departments.
Says Ames, "I specifically wanted a company that was dynamic and agile, with the resources and ability to deal with finer details and some of the more esoteric requirements - like masseurs and teleprompters - as well as the bigger picture and all the more standard production requirements."
The Ames/Entec connections date back to the 1970s in various forms, however this is the first time that they have worked directly together.
Entec's Noreen O'Riordan, described as "the star of the show" by Ames, took up the challenges with great enthusiasm and alacrity, energising her vast contacts book, knowledge and industry reputation. The venues ranged from 1000 capacity theatres to 6000 seated arenas - mix of flown and ground supported - all of which presented their own individual challenges.
In addition to bringing together sound, lighting and video elements, Entec also booked the buses, trucks and catering, appointed a production manager, LD and a stage manager and also supplied the lighting system from their own hire stock.
Entec booked Wembley Arena for 3 days of production rehearsals. They brought Simon Tutchener as the production manager, Chris Gadd (Gaddie) in as stage manager and John Ashton as production rigger, with Richard Ames flying in from the US in time to take up the management reins after the first show in London, with everything set up and ready to roll.
Entec worked with Concert Sound Clair, agents for Clair Global to supply the sound equipment. X Japan's FOH engineer ML Procise III specs Clair PA systems for all their live work and this was the system he wanted, which was co-ordinated between Entec and Andy Davies.
Icarus Wilson-Wright was asked to design video playback and visuals system and run the playback, which was stored on a media server and played out to onstage Spider 30 LED surfaces supplied by CT.
Entec asked Phil White to create a lighting design that would work and look fabulous in all of the venues - from Shepherds Bush Empire to Paris Zenith, and they also supplied all the lighting equipment and 2 crew, Simon Howarth and Stephen Jolly. The rig included Vari*Lite 3000 and Martin MAC 700 moving heads, about 20 bars of 6 PARs and a grandMA console for control.
The backline consisted of kit from a combination of John Henry's and Music Bank.