Iron Maiden’s “Final Frontier” year-long world tour covered 101 shows in 40 countries for 2 million fans. From June 2010 until the first weekend in August this year, the self-proclaimed heavy metal champions of the world entertained with a grand spectacle that included 9 High End Systems SHOWBEAM 2.5s controlled on a Wholehog 3.
Tour vendors included Epic Production Technologies and Neg Earth, with a few shows supported by Christie Lites. “Across all the companies I found the SHOWBEAMs to be incredibly reliable,” said LD Rob Coleman.
Sci-fi films inspired Coleman’s space theme design. “Using SHOWBEAM, I liked the way I could replicate the type of beam that most people seem to subconsciously associate with UFOs. I wanted something bigger and more powerful than the average wash light. I had thought about (and I did use once) the LittleBig xenon searchlights, but I definitely preferred the SHOWBEAMs.”
In the middle of the set, Coleman designed three triangle/chevrons, with one SHOWBEAM in each corner to highlight the triangles. “I love the tight beam, which, as I said before, looks like something coming out of a space ship. The normal wash beam was great and the rotating split beam was just fantastic. We have a 60' by 40' stage and for some looks I used exclusively the 9 SHOWBEAMs, and the fixtures lit the stage beautifully.”
Describing a particular look, Coleman said, “On one song I had a color effect running which was a step from white to red, made up from the yellow and magenta color wheels. It was running at almost strobe speed and at no point did you ever see the yellow or the magenta wheel separately, just pure white to deep red, for minutes at a time, bang bang bang. This was truly amazing.”
Incorporating LED products into the rig also complemented the space theme. “On previous tours I had become frustrated with the amount of outdoor smokeless shows we had done, especially in northern Europe when it is often light for half or all of the show. So by using LED fixtures at least there would be something to see when it wasn't dark and something to look good on camera. With this in mind the SHOWBEAMs’ LED ring gave another ingredient to the LED content.”
In addition to a Wholehog 3 console, he added the Expansion Wing, Mini Wing and 4 DP2000s to his control setup.
“The kind of touring I have been doing often means 30 shows with 30 different lighting companies and different fixtures at every show, so the ‘fixture swap’ and ‘replicate fixtures’ functions are most important. This has worked consistently well for me,” he explained. “Other features that work well for my programming? It’s probably more the other way around. My programming has been shaped by the Wholehog 3. I like how simple it is to use macros; I use them a lot. I operate the show as simply as possible with macros triggering cues elsewhere on the desk.”
The Wholehog 3 is great for a band like Iron Maiden, he said, adding that he uses it for other video-heavy bands Razorlight and Imogen Heap.
His choice of console was easy, he said, as it was a natural progression from Wholehog 2 to the Wholehog 3. “I love using the Wholehog 3 and have been using it for a number of years. I don’t really use any other console.”