ARMIN ONLY INTENSE – A NIGHT OF A MILLION LIGHTS, WELL ALMOST!
by Bruce Schwartz (Electrosonic SA Entertainment Lighting Manager)
The days of large-scale rave type events in South Africa are few and far between. When the DJ Magazine's top 100 DJ no less than 5 times over brings a large budget tour for a one night only, it's sure to be a spectacle. With a start in November 2013 in Amsterdam, Armin Only Intense will continue its journey to over 20 destinations to all corners of the world, from America to Australia to Africa and to Moscow.
The concept and vision of this world tour is inspired by Armin's latest album, 'Intense'. Armin Only is a concept that started in the early days of Armin's career. Since the first editions in the early millennium years, the show has grown and come to life. Armin explains: "Unlike today, now that it's all based on short sets and quick highlights, it used to be all about the long sets, the musical trips. That's what Armin Only is based on – to take the clubbers on a 6+ hour journey into music. Through the Armin Only – Intense shows, I can tell them the full story of my 'Intense' album – in fact of everything I'd like to say."
With a new world tour, greater expectations rise. Armin van Buuren and ALDA Events have teamed up with famous theatre director Jos Thie and creative mind Sander Reneman (owner 250K). The two directors teamed up with the Intense crew, resulting in a completely unconventional and fresh approach to an electronic dance music show. Armin on the new approach of the show: "The basis of ArminOnly will always be a DJ set but to make it more interesting for the crowd, I'm going to try and really make the live moments almost like you would witness them in a theatre!"
The second week into June 2014 the ArminOnly Intense crew arrived on South African soil with a vengeance and met up with Technical Supplier and "one-stop-"shop, Gearhouse SA, in Johannesburg. Under the guidance of Lighting Operations Manager, Stuart Andrews, and with a relatively short load in time of only 2 days at the Coca Cola Dome, Gearhouse's man on the ground Robert Grobler with Herman Wessels put the grand plan of getting over 555 intelligent lighting fixtures into every corner of the massive stage and AV setup. From under the stage to behind the LED Backdrop, to around the Screens and finally over the audience, the mass of power and data cabling made their way backstage to distro's and processing.
20 Universes of DMX distributed on a redundant fiber network from a Grand MA2, with one for backup. Flanking each side of the massive 21m wide by 6m high LED Backdrop, one of the unique features was a matrix of 60 x Martin MAC 101 Fixtures on each side of the stage. Amassing so many little fixtures to effectively create a wall of light that literally blasts into the crowd or was used with subtle pixel mapping effects.
This show had beams ...a LOT of beams. With Robe Pointes and Clay Paky Sharpies literally all over the "set". At the best of times it's difficult to compete with the sheer power of all these beams, but the truly inspiring programming from the Armin Crew brought out the best in the workhorse Martin MAC Vipers. Often using breakup gobos, which let through so little light but in this case there was more than enough for totally dazzle the audience. The trusty Martin Atomics's were given a thorough work-out that evening along with most of the fixtures shutters and iris's.
After an hour of "warm up" and taking people on a journey for the next 4 hours with a combination of live singing, Drum and guitar solos, Trampoline artists on stage and a huge balloon drop, Armin surprised fans with a hour long "old school" set on vinyl (the rest of the evening was played on CD), playing literally inside the Front of House area amongst the technical crew. This brought the fans really closer, in fact not just the fans but his whole crew too. Just as he started this set, his entire crew descended on the FOH area, (which was not exactly spacious to begin with) and proceeded to dance on the tables. Quite a sight for the throngs of fans pushing against the crowd barriers.
Once again the quality of equipment, the abilities of Gearhouse as a full service technical supply company, and more importantly the men and woman who stand behind these events, show how truly world class our technical event industry is in South Africa. This may be Africa... but we have a world class Africa right here in our back garden.
Lighting Equipment List (excluding trussing, power, etc.):
• 72 x Martin MAC Viper Profiles
• 67 x Martin Atomic Strobes
• 120 x Martin MAC 101
• 23 x Varilite VL3000 Spots
• 19 x Varilite VL3500 Spots
• 54 x Robe Pointe's
• 68 x Clay Paky Sharpy's
• 96 x LEDForce 18 RGBW LED Par Cans
• 4 x BB4 LED Wash Light
• 24 x Molefay Blinders
Many thanks to Stuart, Robert and Herman for their support in this article and a huge amount of respect to Gearhouse Crew Bosses, Peter Abrahamse, Acacio Lacita and George Majola on an excellent job well done.