grandMA3 and Ayrton ignite Wembley with Fightstar

12th June 2024

Home 5 Ayrton News 5 grandMA3 and Ayrton ignite Wembley with Fightstar
Heavy metal outfit Fightstar returned to the stage for a special 20th anniversary celebration for one night at Wembley Arena on the 22nd of March.

A band known for extremely heavy riffs, powerful harmonies and lyrical content drawing from science fiction, the one-off concert intended to celebrate their 20 year history, and as such needed to deliver a unique experience for longtime fans.

To ensure this was achieved, lighting designer Sam Parry opted to use grandMA3 to create the heavily timecoded production.

Drummer Omar Abidi provided a plan to create a truss structure inspired by the dystopian, cyberpunk imagery of Blade Runner, trustung Parry to run with the idea and create an atmospheric lightscape in keeping with that vision.

To supplement the various strobes, saturated washes and LED battens that comprised the backdrop to the show, Parry wanted a spot fixture that delivered significant punch to compete with the colour palette of the production. The Ayrton Perseo became the centre-piece fixture of the show, with unites positioned on the central arch of the truss structure and flanking down the 5 ‘spines’ that ran over the stage.

“Being a show with such an emphasis on structure and backlighting, there was a real need to find a fixture which defined the outline of the band and added the kind of texture that made this show feel as dystopian as possible,” remarked Parry regarding this choice. “The Perseo has the output and clean focus to cut through the air and maintain rich colours. In subtler, cleaner moments, they were ideal to frame the band before they launched back into the big hooks and riffs they’re known for.”

grandMA3 software was Parry’s medium of choice for programming, a choice that made the task of timecoding music with so many changes to arrangement, tempo, and key a breeze.

“There were around 1200 to 1600 overall cues per track; including fills, hits and the link,” Parry continued, praising the grandMA3 timeline. “The playback team were kind enough to build in timecode stamps for me to work from, but these came fairly late in the programming process to adjustments were needed up to, and including, when we were actually on site for show day. The adjustment and fine-tuning options available in the grandMA3 software surpass all others I have used before; the additions made the audio waveforms in the latest software version make it even more useful when working remotely. I could not have made the fast, on-the-fly changes to sequence triggers at the speed I needed without the backbone of features in grandMA3.”

PRG supplied all lighting and video for the show, providing Parry with grandMA3 Full-Size and grandMA3 Light consoles for the production

Complementing the lighting design and adding the Blade Runner inspiration, ER Productions provided pyrotechnical effects, controlled with another grandMA3 Light console.

“After the 9 year hiatus, it was a privilege to see Fightstar deliver a show as tight and effective as they did,” closes Parry. “It has been so much fun constructing a show to match their tight and powerful sound. I don’t know if this is the last we’ll see of Fightstar but I’m hoping that show delivered all that fans had hoped for in a one night special!”

Sam Parry can be contacted at 

Supplied by PRG

Photo credit: Abbi Draper-Scott

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