Originally scheduled to take place in 2021, the postponed ‘Peacock In Concert – Illusion Of Time’ event was finally held at the 6200-capacity AFAS Live in Amsterdam earlier this month.
The headliner, Dutch Frenchcore DJ and producer Dr Peacock, performed a 90-minute set featuring a full live band, which meant the production design had more of a live concert feel than that of a dance event. It involved a lighting rig that was predominantly focused on the stage but also enveloped the crowd on both sides, creating an immersive experience. This comprised almost exclusively ADJ luminaires, including beam, wash, and hybrid moving heads as well as static LED wash fixtures.
A pioneer of the Frenchcore subgenre of hardcore dance music, Dr Peacock performs regularly on the main stages of hard dance festivals across Europe. A prolific producer, he is also a classically trained musician, whose productions fuse melodic elements with the deep bass and pounding kick drums that define his chosen genre.
To showcase this musicality, in 2017 he created a live show called ‘Peacock In Concert’ that brought his productions to life on stage through the use of live piano, harp, strings, guitar, percussion and vocals. Following a number of festival performances, Dr Peacock teamed up with Dutch promoter BKJN Events to organize a headline show for his live act at the 3000-capacity Poppodium 013 in the Netherlands, which took place in 2018. This was followed by a second successful show at the same venue in 2019, before plans began to be made to bring the show to the country’s capital, Amsterdam.
Of course, the global pandemic delayed this, however the event was eventually booked for November 2021 at AFAS Live (formerly known as the Heineken Music Hall). Unfortunately, the week before the event the Dutch government announced a new set of restrictions to combat the latest wave of COVID-19 infections, which meant the event had to be postponed. It was finally able to take place in March 2022, only a few weeks after government restrictions were relaxed.
Spectrum AV, which has a long history of supplying BKJN Events, designed the production and provided all the audio and lighting equipment for the concert. Since AFAS Live is used extensively by international touring acts, access to the venue for the original November date was limited to 24 hours. This meant that Project Manager Sjors Erkeland had to devise a rig that would not only raise the bar from the previous smaller editions but that could also be installed and de-rigged quickly.
The starting point for designing this show was obvious. The focus was the live performance, so I started by plotting out the locations of the musicians on stage and then worked the design out from there. The key priority was illuminating the performers and using the lighting to complement what they were doing on stage. The real challenge was designing a rig that the team could install on the same day as the show. To achieve this, I used lots of separate elements – PA hangs, lighting trusses, décor, and LED screens – which could each be rigged and flown by separate teams working independently of each other. We also made sure everything was thoroughly prepped in advance: not only was every fixture pre-addressed, but each case was also labeled with its truss position, explains Sjors.
Fortunately, the pressure was taken off the Spectrum AV crew as in the event’s rescheduled March timeslot the venue was not in use the day before. This meant the production could go in the day before the show, although it still had to come out straight after the midnight finish time and clear the venue by 6am ready for the next evening’s crew to start load in. However, Sjors’ plan worked perfectly, as the combined load-in, show time, and load out across the two days came to just 22.5 hours, so could have easily fit into the original 24-hour window.
“We aim to make the impossible possible”, enthuses Spectrum AV’s General Manager, Lex Willems.
Loading in and out a one-off show of this scale in 24-hours should not be possible, but we made it possible and that was down to teamwork. The strength of Spectrum is the quality of our team and how well we work together to deliver the best possible production to our clients working to whatever constraints they have, whether it is time, budget, or anything else.
ADJ’s extremely powerful and versatile Vizi Hybrid 16RX moving heads were utilized as the main on-stage fixture. 16 were hung across two separate angled downstage trusses, while an additional 12 units stood on flight cases at either side of the stage, 6 per side. These four sets of fixtures framed the stage and were used to create a variety of sharp beam effects, as well as wider aerial GOBO projections, which drew attention to the concert performance.
Four custom-built décor elements provided a visual focus on the stage, which were inspired by the event’s theme ‘Illusion Of Time’. These included a ‘Peacock In Concert’ sign standing in front of the central DJ booth as well as two golden circles designed to look like pocket watches, which flanked the stage and were positioned in front of circular LED screens. The most dominating set piece was a large central pocket watch circle, again standing in front of an LED screen, which was surrounded by a decorated triangle. For the introduction sequence of Dr Peacock’s headline performance, the LED screens were used to show ornate clock faces, while throughout the rest of the event they were used for a combination of visual elements and IMAG.
Wash lighting duties for the event were covered by ADJ’s Hydro Wash X19 IP65-rated LED-powered moving heads. Each featuring 19 x 40W RGBW LEDs for a blistering output, they offer the versatility of motorized zoom for a beam angle variable between 6 and 40-degrees. A total of 16 fixtures were utilized for Dr Peacock In Concert, with four hung above the stage – two at either side of the angled downstage trusses – and another four on the floor, running across the back of the stage.
These fixtures provided color washing for the stage, while the remaining eight units were hung – four per side – on drop arms from additional trusses which projected out from the stage on either side of the crowd. These eight fixtures provided enough output to illuminate the whole 5000+ capacity audience!
“I have to say, the X19 is the most impressive new moving head I have seen from any brand over the last couple of years”, states Lex. “The power that it delivers is out of this world! The IP65-rating is very important to us, as we do a lot of outdoor shows, it is very versatile, allowing us to use the same fixture for both indoor and outdoor events. The output is also incredible. When you compare this fixture to other similar units on the market in the same price range, they all have 20W instead of 40 LEDs and no IP rating, which makes the X19 an easy choice”.
All of the onstage décor was illuminated using ADJ’s versatile and powerful 32 HEX Panel IP static LED wash fixtures, which were strategically placed around the stage so that the fixtures themselves were unobtrusive but the set pieces were all fully illuminated. Featuring 32 x 12W HEX LEDs (RGBWA+UV) arranged into eight individually controlled zones, the 32 HEX Panel IP is an IP65-rated multi-functional wash/blinder/color strobe fixture designed for both indoor and outdoor use.
It offers a 24-degree standard beam angle and is supplied with a magnetic removable frost filter frame that can be used to increase the beam angle if required. It has an all-metal, black housing and is fitted with a versatile mounting system that can be used as either a floor stand or hanging bracket.
The 32 HEX Panel IP is a very versatile fixture. We usually use them, as in this case, for lighting décor, however, when the client doesn’t have the budget for a moving wash, we’ll use them to light the crowd, and in dark venues we can also use them as strobes. The price is very good, especially compared with other competing fixtures on the market. We also like the UV element of the LEDs, as – especially when illuminating décor with white – it really makes it glow very brightly. The size to brightness ratio is also very good. Finally, as with the X19, it is IP-rated, which means we can use it on all events – indoors and outdoors. The included frost filter is also useful, as the fixture still has an even coverage with it applied, so we can wash an object with a single fixture where we would need two competing units, comments Sjors.
Although the focus of this event was the live concert, it was also a dance event. Warm up DJs played prior to the 90-minute live set and then Dr Peacock DJed, together with a series of guests, for the 2.5 hours after the live performance ended before the midnight finish. To also give the lighting production an immersive nightclub atmosphere, 16 ADJ Vizi Beam RXONE compact moving head beam fixtures lined each of the two side trusses. In addition, eight of the fixtures were spread around two vertically hanging 3m truss circles, suspended above the crowd, which were also dressed to resemble pocket watches.
“The RX ONE is obviously a best-selling product for ADJ and it has also been a best-selling fixture for us at Spectrum”, Sjors explains. “We have used this fixture consistently for many years now and it has always proved reliable. It is compact, lightweight, affordable but has an incredibly powerful output. As I was making some final changes to fixture positions prior to doors opening for this show, the promotor came over to comment on how bright the RXONEs looked; even someone without technical knowledge instantly recognizes what a great fixture it is”.
Elated to once again be allowed to attend a largescale event after such a long period of restrictions, the crowd response to Dr Peacock’s performance – as well as Spectrum AV’s production – was nothing short of ecstatic. For their part, the Spectrum AV team were overjoyed to be back doing what they do best and the promoter, BKJN Events, was equally pleased with the service they provided.
With the future of large events looking extremely positive in the Netherlands, the Spectrum AV team are gearing up for their busiest summer season yet. To support this, the company has recently invested in more Hydro Wash X19s and has also placed an order for 48 of ADJ’s new Hydro Beam X12 IP65-rated moving head beam fixtures.
“Looking at the history of Spectrum AV”, muses Lex, “I think this company was built on the Vizi Beam RXONE as well as ADJ’s Inno Color Beam LED. However, we are now looking to the Hydro Wash X19 and Hydro Beam X12 to take our company to the next level, as we take on bigger and bigger events. In a sense, the evolution of Spectrum mirrors the Evolution of ADJ, which is also building on a solid foundation but moving up a level with these new IP65-rated fixtures. The quality of ADJ is getting better every year and the quality of Spectrum AV is also getting better every year, so we grow with one another. This Dr Peacock show really demonstrated the crossroads of Spectrum AV, using both the fixtures that got us to where we are – the RXONES – and the fixtures we feel are taking us into the future – the X19s”.