Hans Zimmer on the road with Robe
Tuesday, 17 May 2022
robe-hans-zimmer-tour-han2403225356MegaPointes were deployed all over the rig (photo: Lindsay Cave)
Europe - Hans Zimmer hit the road this spring on a much-anticipated tour. Delayed due to the pandemic, his 19-piece band and an orchestra delighted fans all over Europe.
The lighting design was delivered by John Featherstone from lighting and visual design studio Lightswitch. John and his team pushed for an all Robe moving light rig for the tour which started production rehearsals in Berlin with 250 Robe fixtures onboard ahead of the first European leg, with lighting equipment supplied by German rental specialist, Satis & Fy.
Featherstone explained how the design process originally started back in 2019 / 2020 with Hans curating his creative ‘dream team’ which included renowned Broadway set and scenic designer Derek McLane, video designer Peter Nigrini, choreographer Barry Lather, and of course, himself. “Hans is a master at putting collaborators together,” stated Featherstone, and in this case, hand-picked a team of experienced practitioners known for their flair and style, all of whom brought their own dynamics from different disciplines to the Zimmer-sphere.
The lighting team was rounded out with Featherstone’s daughter Hailey Featherstone as lighting director and Chris Herman as programmer. “I was really fortunate to have such a fabulous team working with me, they really embrace collaboration and making this job great and rewarding,” he noted.
It was the breadth, richness and detail of the music that inspired the team as a starting point for the lighting design.
Hans had arranged 12 vibrant new suites of his greatest hits to be played throughout the three-hour performance, using over 300 instruments in total with some numbers accompanied by an eight-member dance / chorus troupe choreographed by Barry Lather.
“With this much energy and diversity onstage - from Wonder Woman to the Lion King - I knew I needed the most versatile lighting fixtures, ones that could morph and change constantly throughout the set,” says John, “and Robe’s MegaPointe was my go-to multipurpose fixture.”
In creative terms, John’s underlying quest was for the lighting to be ‘musical’ and that also brought him back to Robe fixtures.
“Robe makes really elegant luminaires, there is a very organic way about the way they look and move, and the colours are outstanding,” he commented. He wasn’t shy with the MegaPointes, adding 172 to the lighting plot.
For the Zimmer tour, MegaPointes were deployed all over the rig - along the top trusses and populating the three left-and-right side stage verticals, with a few on the downstage edges of the floor.
While the stage had an epic film look at times with the overall big, wide screen appearance, when this split horizontally and the top half tracked up, it became stylishly concealed and unobtrusive and framed the rest of the stage, which was a characteristic of Derek McLane’s skilful scenic setting and Peter Nigrini’s thoughtful and textured visuals.
For key lighting the orchestra and band - who covered a substantial area - Featherstone turned to another Robe favourite, 24 BMFL WashBeams and six BMFL WashBeam Follow Spots. Of the latter, four were on an advance truss above the audience out in the house and two were on two of the mid-stage moving trusses for neat and tailored back light.
The BMFL FollowSpots, operated via six BaseStations located backstage, were for the principals and soloists. Their main parameters were controlled via the lighting console so the operators could focus on the following, and “they worked exactly as we envisioned,” comments John.
For the first time ever, Featherstone used Robe’s Tetra range of moving LED battens in a show design, adding a row of 36 x Tetra2s along the whole downstage edge of the stage, plus 32 x Tetra1s rigged above the stage in key positions on various mid stage trusses.
John, Hailey, and Chris Herman from Lightswitch programmed the show and did one month pre-vis in New York before decamping to Europe and production rehearsals before hitting the road.
Featherstone also mentions the “outstanding” service they have received from Satis & Fy on this tour as well as commenting that both Robe’s North American and German subsidiaries were instrumental in making several logistical challenges happen like short notice custom gobo deliveries.

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