Dan Hadley Rocks Ayrton MagicPanel-FX with Foo Fighters
The Foo Fighters recently wound down their 18-month Concrete and Gold world tour at BottleRock Festival in Napa Valley “I think we’ve done somewhere around 120 shows all told,” says the band’s long-term lighting designer and director, Dan Hadley. Foo Fighters are well known for the length and dynamism of their shows and this, often, 3-hour long extravaganza is no exception. The responsibility falls to Hadley to keep the visuals incredible and exciting enough to match the energy onstage. To help him achieve this, Hadley’s lighting rig gives prominence to 36 Ayrton MagicPanel™-FX square faced LED fixtures rigged on twelve floating ladders that move to constantly reconfigure and reshape the architecture of the stage. The rungs of the ladders swing freely so that the MagicPanel-FX fixtures maintain their vertical orientation at all times, from where Hadley uses them as dramatic sources of illumination to form strong aerial effects, linear patterns, run graphics and shapes across the face of each fixture and, importantly, as powerful audience blinders – lead singer Dave Grohl likes to see his audience at every opportunity! The tour was split into two legs which required two different designs, both of which incorporated the MagicPanel-FX. “For the first leg the MagicPanel-FX were mounted low in three static trusses in a sort of horseshoe configuration,” says Hadley. “In the second design we had them grouped on flying lighting ladders above the stage where they change position throughout the show. These two designs were very different due to the parameters of the tours. The first one, with the static trusses, was used for a few months of, mainly, festivals where the schedule was very tight and we had to be able to set up and get out in very short time. I also wanted to keep this one low on budget and number of trucks, so any fixtures we were going to carry needed to pull their weight. Happily the MagicPanels definitely have a presence and enough flexibility that I was able to get them do perform multiple tasks so we could keep the amount of kit to a minimum to speed up installation and minimise truck space. “After that tour finished we started the full production tour for the new album. For this the square shape of the MagicPanel-FX fitted perfectly into the geometry of the album art and our video configuration, so keeping them was an easy choice to make.” “I chose the MagicPanel-FX for Concrete and Gold for a few reasons,” he says, “mainly for the sort of visual motion you can get out of the pixels and how it adds a dynamic element similar to video, yet also serves to illuminate the stage. Although MagicPanel-R also did this very well, the addition of the zoom in MagicPanel-FX made it exponentially more useable as it gave more control of the architectural element of the beam. Being able to get a tight column of colour when zoomed in and then be able to produce a very soft star-field type twinkle while zoomed out in the next song is pretty remarkable from the same fixture.” Hadley programmed all the lighting himself and operates the show on a grandMA2. The MagicPanel-FX fixtures were supplied PRG for the whole global tour.