Working from home? Switch to the DIGITAL edition of Projection, Lights & Staging News. CLICK HERE to signup now!
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages

Metallica “WorldWired” Tour Continues

Steve Jennings (Photos and Text) • February 2019Wide Focus • February 11, 2019

Pyrotek continues to look after Metallica. Photos by Steve Jennings

We caught up with lighting designer and director Rob Koenig, who’s out with Metallica on their “WorldWired” tour, helming a production design by Dan Braun. The arena run of shows (a.k.a. the “cube show”) started in Copenhagen in Sept. 2017, wrapping up the following May. It continued on to the U.S. in September and wraps up in March. Another cycle of stadium dates will follow in Europe, wrapping up in Germany in late August.

Rob Koenig explains that there was little pre-production time set aside for the tour, just due to routing, so he found himself on all of the stadium run breaks starting to put together this arena in-the-round show at the nearest previz studio. “I knew from the beginning there was going to be a lot of infrastructure setup and we would need the time to do so, let alone the actual cueing of the show.”

The Tait Navigator system ran the motion control. Photo by Steve Jennings

‡‡         Video Cubes and Motion Control

The tour is very video intense, using the Tait motion control system. Braun had a very clear concept, and worked with Tait to bring those possibilities to life, says Koenig. “Video is certainly a part of most Metallica shows over the past 10 years, and this was an exploration of marrying video and motion control into one.

“The motion control is run through Tait Navigator, with the cues all setup and triggered through the grandMA2 console. We utilize an Art-Net merge from Tait Navigator, XYZ positioning with the Robe BMFL WashBeams, and stage markers within the grandMA2 to drive most focuses. KPX Video and Nocte Studio created all the video content within the show.”

Robe WashBeams are mounted to the bottom of the cubes. Photo by Steve Jennings

‡‡         Lighting

Premier Global Productions out of Nashville is the lighting vendor for the tour, where Koenig is working with account rep James Vollhoffer and project manager Anthony “Geddy” Kordyjaka.

“Most of the lighting positioning was dictated by Dan’s concept. We mounted one Robe BMFL WashBeam on the bottom of each of the 52 LED cubes. We placed Martin Axioms in the corners of the arena just above the heads of the audience. Flares are placed around the system and dasher cable management trusses allow us to light the audience. Followspots were a concern to us. Lack of consistent positions in arenas with the cubes moving up and down on the Z axis was a concern so we moved forward on a spotlight system called SpoTrack, so we could have consistent positions while using more BMFL WashBeams as the source.”

‡‡         Mini Drones

Mini drones are an added feature in the show. This was brought to the table by singer James Hetfield. He was quite into the idea and Tait brought Verity Studios onboard to handle that. Unlike the large stage ramps that reached out into the audience on the band’s stadium tour, for this in-the-round arena tour, the band’s stage footprint is only 44 by 44 feet, much smaller this time around from previous tours for an even closer reach to the audience.

The cubes offered endless possibilities. Photo by Steve Jennings

‡‡         Pyro

Every element in the show is discussed with the band. That includes the pyro provided by Pyrotek and being handled on tour by our pyro shooter Hans Lundberg, notes Koenig. “We will always bring ideas to the table. Some things stick and some things don’t, but it’s ultimately up to them what they want to have in the show. We certainly have legacy pyro cues, but this time a couple were omitted and a couple new ones were added.

“I believe I can speak for all of us saying this show was unique to build, from inception to completion. All of the vendors and staff worked tirelessly at the launch of this tour to ensure success. I can’t say enough positive things about everyone involved.”


Metallica “WorldWired” Tour


  • Show Director: Dan Braun
  • Lighting Designer & Director: Rob Koenig
  • Lighting Programmers: Troy Eckerman, Joe Cabrera
  • Lighting Co: Premier Global Production
  • Lighting Crew Chief: Michael “Sandy” Sims
  • Lighting Techs: John Niles, Nick Shields, Jason Lanning, Julio Buralli, William Spalliero, Max Ferreyra, Ryan Scalvi
  • Video Director: Eugene MacAuliffe
  • Video Engineer: Graham Holwill
  • Video Techs: John Heathcott, Benjamin Welch, Neil Welch, Lorenzo Loche, John Moore, Cameron Pigou, David Bartlett, Corey Lang
  • Video Content/Creation: KPX Video, Nocte Studios
  • Staging/Automation: Tait
  • Tait Chief Creative Officer: Adam Davis
  • Automation Crew Chief & Operator: Michael Petite
  • Art Director: Scott Holthaus
  • Tour Manager: Eric Johnson
  • Production Manager: John “Lug” Zajonc
  • Production Assistant: Holly Harkins
  • Production Coordinator: Vicki Huxel
  • Stage Managers: Michael Washer, Derek Evans
  • Pyro: Pyrotek Special Effects
  • Pyrotek Shooter: Hans Lundberg
  • Pyrotek Tech: Terrance Birdsley
  • Drones: Verity Studios
  • Rigging: Five Points Production Services
  • Head Rigger: Chad Koehler
  • Riggers: Chad Koehler (Head), Kenneth Ruhman, Darrell Schlabach
  • Carpenters: Brantley Brooks, Alex Larsen, Kevin Levasseur
  • Trucking: Upstaging



  • 2       grandMA2 consoles
  • 52     Video Cubes w/ ROE CB5 panels
  • 52     Robe BMFL WashBeams (under each cube)
  • 8       Robe BMFL WashBeams (main grid spotlights)
  • 12     Robe BMFL WashBeams (dasher truss spotlights)
  • 44     TMB Solaris Flares
  • 16     GLP JDC1 Hybrid Strobes
  • 8       SGM Q-7 LED Flood Blind Strobes
  • 3       Martin MAC Quantum Profiles
  • 4       DF50 hazers
  • 4       Base Hazers
  • 1       Tait Navigator motion control system
  • 12     Panasonic PTZ robotic cameras
  • 4       AJA Video RovoCams


More Metallica “WorldWired” tour photos by Steve Jennings:


The Latest News and Gear in Your Inbox - Sign Up Today!