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Summit Steel Goes Pink and Red on Tour

PLSN Staff • International News • November 18, 2009

LONDON — Summit Steel supplied rigging to the latest UK and European section of Pink’s Funhouse world tour, and also coordinated and supplied all rigging and automation requirements for Elton John’s latest Red Piano U.K. and European tour. “I was extremely keen to use Summit for the quality and good condition of their equipment and the highly professional attitude of their crew,” said the production’s head rigger, Dave Rowe, who has worked with Summit on previous projects.

Rowe and Summit’s Jon Bray spent considerable time in putting the package together which includes over 100 roof points to facilitate the hanging of lighting, PA and video equipment, with 120 Lodestar motors and all the necessary steels to suspend approximately 39 tonnes of gear in the air.

Rowe noted that the show design required that rigging for lighting, set and aerial performers be in close proximity, making reliability crucial. “Having a consistent and well maintained rigging package has really helped us to minimize the in and out times,” said Rowe.

Summit worked alongside sister company PRG Lighting on the tour, which featured a design by Baz Halpin and scenic elements by Mark Fisher.

For Elton John’s Red Piano tour, Summit supplied a large trussing and motors package, together with a 20-way Kinesys automation system.

Summit’s Jay Call worked with the tour’s head rigger Richard Wythes and production manager Henry Crallan.

“The great thing about Summit is the fantastic backup and support and the impressive speed at which they react — the service is really excellent,” said Wythes, who has worked with Summit before.

Ten Summit trusses were used to suspend a variety of scenic pieces, drapes, two side IMAG screens and a 7 tonne MiTrix video screen measuring 24.5 meters by 8 meters. To meet the itinerary the crew leap-frogged two complete rigging systems.

The Kinesys system was operated by Gareth Williams, using their Vector control platform. He had 18 ½ tonne motors and two 100Kg Liftkets in the system, all controlled by Kinesys Elevation 1+ drive units.

Ten of the half-tonne motors were used to suspend five letters spelling “E-L-T-O-N,” which all flew in at the top of the show as Elton sang his classic, “Benny & The Jets.”

The steel framed letters fabricated by Tait Towers then made individual appearances at other points in the show. They are constructed from a mix of wood and Perspex and glammed up with embedded non-neon and pigmy bulb lightsources.

 A total of four motors were used to fly in the two-piece “Love Hotel” sign, consisting of a big heart and the word “Hotel,” which came in downstage right for “Tiny Dancer” and “Your Song.”

The two 100Kg Liftkets were used to lower in a near life sized mannequin of Elton in his campiest looks, complete with bouffant hair in the encore, just before “Your Song.”

The remaining four half-tonne hoists were located stage left and right — two per side — and used to lower some oversized inflatable roses from the roof. These flew in and inflated for “Believe” before being dropped offstage and de-rigged at the end of the song.

Summit’s gear was also used to rig points for a 25-foot-wide pair of inflatable boobs — are a regular talking point of the show.

The Red Piano tour is a derivation of Elton John’s successful Las Vegas extravaganza.

Lighting was supplied by PRG from the U.K. and sound from Audio Rent.

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