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5 Jun 2024

Claypaky Sharpy Plus Aquas on Metallica’s 2024 ‘M72 World Tour’

Metallica’s ongoing ‘M72 World Tour’ has begun playing its 2024 dates with the lighting design that Rob Koenig introduced last year featuring 48 Claypaky Sharpy Plus Aqua IP66-rated beam/spot fixtures.

The tour is in support of the band’s eleventh studio album, ’72 Seasons,’ which was released in April 2023.  The tour commenced that month in Amsterdam and is set to conclude in September 2024 in Mexico City.  The 2024 dates kick off at the end of May with nine cities scheduled in Europe through July then resumes in August and September with six-cities in the US, Canada and Mexico. 

The tour maintains an upgraded in-the-round stage design by Creative Director/Production Designer Dan Braun, which relocates the coveted  audience “Snake Pit” to the center of a ring-shaped stage surrounded by eight towers, each  topped by LED video cylinders. 

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“This is the first time that Metallica has performed in the round for a stadium tour,” says Lighting Designer Koenig, who heads LA-based Ignition Show Design and is marking his sixteenth year with the band.  ”They have done other shows in the round since 1996 and love feeling closer to the audience that way.  But it’s a massive undertaking for a stadium tour requiring about 22 trucks for the steel [towers] alone.”

He notes that Metallica typically performs with no repeats during their usual two-day stay at each venue.  “Lars  (Ulrich) creates a new set list every night, none exactly the same, so as is the goal for every show, we truly strive to have every song look unique, as we don’t know the setlist for that evening until our openers are on,” Koenig explains.

In looking for the right fixture to wrap around the tour’s ring-shaped stage, he discovered that the Claypaky Sharpy Plus Aqua offered the zoom range he needed along with the ability to go from a narrow beam to a wide zoom.  “The fixtures give us a lot of flexibility from performing aerial effects to throwing them back onto the band and painting the band with light and gobos,” Koenig says. 

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He positioned 48 Sharpy Plus Aquas, supplied by longtime Metallica lighting vendor Premier Global Productions in Nashville, around the outer edge of the ring where they are used selectively for different numbers.  For example, they act as straight up beams for ‘The Day That Never Comes,’ while they replicate the look of the towers’ video content for ‘If Darkness Had a Son’ with a wide zoom and animation wheel elements across the band.

“The Sharpy Plus Aquas have performed admirably,” reports Koenig. ”They have been super-low maintenance, which is very important for this tour since every light in the rig has to be touched because there is no traditional truss.” 

He also cites the fixtures’ IP66 rating – a key factor since most of the stadium shows this year are open air.  “We haven’t had a drop of water get in them despite torrential downpours.  And there’s been no effect from the smoke and dust generated by pyro, hazers and foggers on stage.”

Koenig says the tour has been ”supported amazingly well,” by Claypaky Strategic Marketing Manager, George Masek.  “We all have a lot of love and affection for him,” he declares.

The tour’s Production Manager is John Mulder with Joe Cabrera and Cat West the Lighting Programmers.  The Account Rep for Premier Global Productions is James Vollhoffer; Anthony “Geddy” Kordyjaka is the Project Manager and Mat Gass the LX Crew Chief.

George Masek concluded, “It is always a huge honor to be part of Rob’s Metallica shows and we were thrilled that he chose us for this incredibly ambitious project.   I’ve been following his work since he started with the band and his shows are consistently cutting edge and original.”

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