Follow-Me on tour with Scorpions

May 16, 2022 08:00

Some things in life just get better with age. Wine undoubtedly, also the German rock band Scorpions! In February 2022, the musicians presented Rock Believer: the 19th studio album of their, over 50-year, band career. After several weeks at the Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, they started the Rock Believer world tour in early May beginning with a special concert at Madison Square Garden, New York. 

Austrian Manfred Nikitser has been accompanying the internationally successful band as lighting designer since 2016. In addition to the lighting design, Manfred also created the complete show design (stage set and video) for both the Sin City Nights Residency in Las Vegas and for the subsequent tour. Insuring the band members are cleanly lit at all times, Manfred selected to use the remote follow-spot system from Dutch manufacturer Follow-Me: Follow-Me 3D SIX.  

The centre piece of this redesigned show is a pyramid-shaped drum riser in front of a semi-circular stage set made of custom-made metal grilles, which houses numerous spotlights and blinders. The atmosphere created evokes a classic rock ’n’ roll look.

Back in 2019, when Manfred used a Follow-Me system for the first time during the final concert of the Austrian cult band "Erste Allgemeine Verunsicherung" in the Wiener Stadthalle, he was quickly convinced of the advantages. “Thanks to Follow-Me, one person can control several lamps, which can reduce personnel costs but more importantly, allows the follow-spot operator to focus 100% on tracking while the dimmer and colour can be controlled from the desk,” he explains. “In the early stages of the Scorpions production, there were still a few bugs that we had to learn how to deal with. The system is now working reliably. You can calibrate and make adjustments very quickly. I've worked with other remote follow systems before, but Follow-Me is the fastest to set up and most efficient to operate.”

The Scorpions' Follow-Me 3D SIX system consists of a FM rack server (+1 spare), the camera (+1 spare ), two custom-made camera-to-fiber converters and four active Follow-Me mouse consoles (+1 spare). The system tracks four performers during the show. 87 moving lights in the light rig can be used as followers. 21 of these serve exclusively as chasers, while the rest can be used as chasers or show lights. Drum riser and stage set were built in duplicate by schoko pro GmbH in Wiesbaden. One set was sent straight to Las Vegas. The second will be used for the European tour from May. The video content was created together with the Hamburg company Pacific Digital. 

On tour Otto Schildknecht and Florian Bauer are taking care of the Follow-Me 3D SIX system together. A simple and functioning system is necessary in order to run the show the way it is with both Otto and Florian also having other responsibilities during the show, namely Otto as live camera director and Florian as cameraman. Alongside Florian, Olaf Pöttcher and Jindřich Jankulár are responsible as lighting technicians for the floor set. All 87 moving lights change from country to country as well as from show to show. This is made possible by the fixture independent nature of Follow-Me and the efficient camera calibration with the intuitive fixture refinement features, allowing for fast and accurate set-up on tour with a new fixture rig in each venue.

Volt Lites of Burbank, California provided lighting equipment for the Vegas residency, including 87 ELATION Artiste Monet. The Follow-Me system for both the residency and the tour was supplied by Alleycat Rentals.

The entire production is overseen by Production Manager Roland Beckerle with Dirk Schindler as Stage Manager. Olaf Schröter is the Touring Director of this technologically sophisticated tour.

For more photographs from the show: Followed Acts

Photo © Manfred Nikitser

© Manfred Nikitser

© Manfred Nikitser