LS-Live provided a bespoke stage set and touring crew for Chris Brown’s European Carpe Diem tour in 2012, which launched in Copenhagen on 13th November. Chris Brown’s Production manager Michael ‘Huggy’ Carter had turned to our company several years earlier to provide a custom designed stage and set rental package for the artist’s previous tour, so he knew he could rely on the company to deliver a great finished product on time and in budget. Our in house design team liaised with set designer Justin Collie of Artfag, whose ideas were based on a modern take on a ziggurat, a massive ancient structure that originated in the western Iranian plateau and Mesopotamian valley, which looks like a pyramid topped with multi-level steps.
The concept was to have this structure as both a centerpiece of the set and a backdrop, functioning as an additional performance space as well as a projection screen.
The project called upon LS-Live’s expertise in structural design, engineering, stage building and electronics. The basic structure was built using off-the-shelf staging equipment from our vast rental stock of LiteDeck based staging systems, along with custom aluminium components. The set for Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds was being test built in our 17,664 sq ft production rehearsal arena, so we used our secondary pre-build space to assemble the stage structure, which was 60 ft wide on 6 ft high rolling leg frames. The stage featured three tiers above it, one at 7 ft high, another at 14 ft high and the top level reaching 21 ft high. The downstage edge of the house stage and the second tier of the ziggurat were installed with two manlifts from our hire stock, which are compatible with the LiteDeck staging system.
We provided aluminum fascias for the front of the structure, which came in quick assemble panels. We worked with creative designers at Perry Scenic who supplied the soft fascias to cover these panels – a futuristic frontage to the ziggurat that made the doors look like they were made from cut metal. To replicate the edge of the fascia design, we installed LED lighting into the aluminum framework of the set, which was a new design concept that protected the LED from the rigors of the touring environment.
One of the most challenging aspects for us during the six week project was the design and integration of five 8 ft wide custom automatic pneumatic doors into the ziggurat, controlled remotely via a button, with auto close, that fitted into the fascia frames. These were synchronized to open at the same time, with an option for adjustable speed. Said General Manager Mark Blount: “The door on the bottom level was originally a sliding door, but after the first show they decided they wanted it to have the quick automatic open that the other doors had, so we had just five days to make another automatic pneumatic door, take it to Frankfurt and install it into the set for the next gig. It was a challenge, but we will always pull out all the stops to make these things happen.”
Photos: Cyril Bruneau