31-01-2018

Jacob Krzywak

The Claypaky Sharbar, a versatile, multi-beam baton lighting effects fixture, is being used to deliver an important element of the retro-style stage lighting package for the current ‘Global Spirit’ world tour by record-breaking British rock-band, Depeche Mode.

Responsible for the tour’s bold, asymmetrical lighting design are Sooner Routhier and Robert Long, co-founders of production design company SRae Productions. The company has an enviable track record in concert lighting design, having worked with high-profile artists including Rihanna, Audio Slave and Nicki Minaj.

“Depeche Mode’s management team asked Robert and I to design the lighting in support of Anton Corbijn’s production design for the tour,” says Routhier. “Anton sketched out what he wanted on a piece of paper and held it up to the camera on one of our Skype calls. We quickly re-sketched it on our end and began the drafting process with our technical director, Matt Geasey.”

Corbijn’s artistic concept centred around the sleeve artwork of Depeche Mode’s ‘Spirit’ album. Routhier and Long worked with Geasey to draft Corbijin’s set design featuring a large, rectangular video wall upstage, with a ‘flag pole’ of video and light that extends out into the audience. For the tour’s flown lighting package, Corbijn was keen to keep an ‘industrial’ theme to the rig’s appearance.

“Anton’s requests led us to design an asymmetrical lighting rig above the stage,” says Routhier. “We decided, with all the clean lines of the staging and the rectangular video wall, that we wanted to mess things up a bit with trussing and lighting in an asymmetrical set-up.”

The production’s rear video wall, approximately 52’ wide x 28’ high, is designed to cut off just above the band’s head height on stage. Routhier and Long were therefore faced with the challenge of how to extend the content of the video wall down and out across the stage, but without having the bottom third of the screen obscured by bodies and equipment.

“We used the Sharbars to extend the video wall’s content to the base of the stage,” says Routheir. “These fixtures are able to match the colours in the video content and provide the backlight for the band without being distracting. The Sharbar’s ability to create amazing effects was realised through the clever programming of our associate lighting designer Brian Jenkins.”

The Sharbar features six individual motorized units, each double mirrored and surrounding an OSRAM Ostar RGBW LED light source. The arrangement allows for completely independent control of the fixture’s six light beams.

“Robert and I love the look of the mirror lens on the front of each LED unit,” says Routhier. “It has an almost retro nature – like old school raylight packages. This, coupled with the retro feel of the rest of the lighting rig, gives the show an industrial and vintage aesthetic.”

The tour’s lighting director Manny Conde is currently on the road with the band and has been working with the production’s 40 Sharbar units almost non-stop since the tour began in May.

“The Sharbars have been great!” says Conde. “Through all the rain and weather we’ve gone through in the last three months in Europe I have never had a unit go down. I am looking forward to the rest of the tour with them.”

According to Routhier, the team expected nothing less than the high standard they are used to from the Italian lighting manufacturer.  She says, “I use Claypaky products because of three things: the colour mixing, the lens quality and the optics. In fact, the first ever moving light I programmed was the Claypaky Golden Scan!”

Depeche Mode’s Global Spirit tour is currently completing its American leg before returning to Europe. The second European leg begins with a show at the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland.

Providing the lighting for the worldwide tour is UK rental experts, HSL Group Holding Ltd. Claypaky products are available in the UK and Ireland from the company’s exclusive distributor, Ambersphere Solutions.

  • Lighting Design: Sooner Routhier and Robert Long (SRae Productions),
  • Associate Lighting Designer: Brian Jenkins,
  • Lighting Director: Manny Conde,
  • Production Design: Anton Corbijn,
  • Technical Director: Clear All Visuals,
  • Rental: HSL Group Holding Ltd.