Europe - German heavy rock superstars Rammstein have always had an unrivalled appetite for spectacle on a grand scale. Few rock bands can claim to have a licensed pyrotechnician as their front man, like Rammstein’s Till Lindemann, who often appears on stage in flames. There’s spectacular, and then there’s Rammstein.
This year, for their European Stadium Tour, the band brought in lighting designers Roland Greil and Patrick Woodroffe of Woodroffe-Bassett Design to join a world-class creative team which also included renowned production designer Florian Wieder. In creating the show, they drew on the visual impact and large-scale performance features of the Vari-Lite VL6000 Beam, utilising them in large numbers to achieve those all-important extra layers of visual impact.
Greil and Woodroffe worked closely with Wieder to deliver the vast, stadium-scale showscape. “After a brief from the band,” said Greil, “we jumped right in and explored the Rammstein world before starting to brainstorm and create the first designs. The band has been very involved from the beginning, which was the baseline for a great collaborative effort.”
“They liked our first concepts, which are not far off from the final design. Since then, the band has been involved in a very positive way, bringing more ideas to the table. It has evolved into a great collaboration with the band and their management.”
Any show on a stadium scale places great demands on the lighting, with challenges for output, visibility, reliability and flexibility of use. Discussing the main requirements for the Rammstein lighting rig, Greil says, “We were looking for bright, unique but also versatile fixtures, which would fit into the overall design as well as into the specific Rammstein ‘world’.”
It’s a world of snarling rock music and superlative visual effects, and the designers needed lighting to match. VL6000 Beam were chosen for a few reasons. It’s a unique fixture, with that big diameter front lens - which was something Greil and Woodroffe were looking for - combined with a high output and reliability. It also fitted perfectly into the overall design.
Woodroffe and Greil specified 122 VL6000 Beams in total, supplied by Neg Earth Lights. Greil says, “We have 104 positioned as part of a wall of lights upstage, four are integrated into the big pods on stage, while the remaining 14 live underneath the stage, shooting up through the fully grilled deck.”
He adds, “We use them solely as beam effects, sometimes with a bit of frost. It has a strong look; when we reveal the upstage wall of VL6000s for the first time, after a few songs, it completely changes the scenery and delivers that energy that is needed for Rammstein.”
“A Rammstein show really is unique in every aspect,” says Greil. “It’s more like a rock-metal opera - very visual, theatrical and special. From the top of the show until the end it’s entertaining - a true visual and musical spectacular!”